Photographer and artist Joey Quiroga explores the beauty of the upper Texas coast
Most everyone can agree gumbo is popular fare on the upper Texas coast, so much so it’s the main dish and part of the names of some area restaurants as pictured here. But not everyone can agree on the method of preparation or origins of gumbo.
“Today, the gumbos people are most familiar with are seafood gumbo and chicken and sausage gumbo,” said Stanley Dry in a short history of gumbo for Southern Foodways Alliance. “But that merely scratches the surface of gumbo cookery, both historical and contemporary. The name derives from a West African word for okra, suggesting that gumbo was originally made with okra. The use of filé, dried and ground sassafras leaves, was a contribution of the Choctaws and, possibly, other local tribes. Roux has its origin in French cuisine, although the roux used in gumbos is much darker than its Gallic cousins.”
But perhaps it’s gumbo’s versatility that makes it so well-liked.
“I’m convinced that part of gumbo’s virtue, aside from its deliciousness, is that the dish is very forgiving of the cook,” Dry said. “Measurements do not have to be exact, ingredients may be changed to use what is on hand, and unless the diners are so set in their ways that they can’t appreciate change, the result will be quite good.”