I made a super Easy Crawfish Gumbo yesterday for Sunday supper. My youngest gal was home from college and requested a southern style meal.
This totally made me smile because although I was raised in the south, I left after college. I did the wanderlust thing and moved all over the United States, married Ranger Craig and one day about 16 years ago, we settled in the beautiful Pacific Northwest.
My youngest has been completely enamored with the south since she was a wee one. Hearing me tell stories of my childhood and adolescence and realizing how unique the food and culture is in the south. She never had an opportunity to visit a southern state until a few years ago when I took her to Savannah, Georgia. Yep, I asked her where she wanted to go for her senior trip before college and she announced she’d love to see Savannah, Georgia.
I felt Savannah would be a good start to exploring the south. The history is thought-provoking, often heart-wrenching and one I never want to see repeated. I’ve often wrestled with the idea of my southern roots. And although I was actually born in California, I spent most of my formative years in the south. As a child, I saw injustice and intolerance that tore at my young heart and made me wonder how some people can be inhumane and ignorant. Those memories firmly planted in my mind forever made me even more determined to bring love and light into this world; to show kindness and tolerance to everyone who crossed my path.
I also encountered many who walked a life of love and compassion. During my family’s hard times, neighbors would bring over fresh eggs and cow’s milk. Some would bring by home-baked pastries like chocolate fried pies, which were my favorite (because who could ever resist a chocolate fried pie!). They’d bring chicken soup when we were sick or extra produce from their gardens. I learned what it was to be truly thoughtful – to think of our neighbors or community members, especially when they were in need.
As I think back to all of my life’s turbulence, when I merely existed in reality rather than lived in it, I see where my love of food and life around the table began. Our humble community showed us love and compassion through food when our family needed it most. They showed me by example what it was to be human and to love and support everyone in a community.
I know this has nothing to do with my Easy Crawfish Gumbo but all that gumbo sort of dug up memories of growing up in the south.
Back to the story… on a sunny September morning, my gal and I hopped on a plane headed to Savannah. I knew she was in huge anticipation of experiencing her mom’s southern roots. Savannah was not disappointing in the least. A beautiful and architecturally stunning city that is filled with stories and legends and a bit of history that seems to come alive when walking down the cobblestone streets. I remember my daughter telling me how gracious and kind she found people to be in Savannah. She adored the southern hospitality that was given by everyone she encountered, regardless of race or gender. And she completely relished every bite of southern food. We dined on some of the best fried chicken, fried green tomatoes, shrimp po’ boys, beignets, etouffe and gumbo. And we weren’t even in Louisiana!
Not only was our visit to Savannah completely delicious but it was an absolute dream for me to spend time with my youngest child before she launched into the “almost” adult world. Since that time she’s become obsessed with southern cuisine. Often when she comes home, I make her a dish or two – to celebrate the beautiful memory. Which is why I made my Easy Crawfish Gumbo this past weekend.
Tomorrow is Fat Tuesday and honestly, I thought I’d missed it! Ha! So I suppose this Easy Crawfish Gumbo is posted just in time. I wish you all delicious food memories and a most delicious life around the table.
Loads of Love,