I’m thrilled to have my friend and amazing suspense author Erica Spindler back to Murder She Writes. Enjoy! And while you’re enjoying her blog, check out her latest book FALLEN FIVE.
A Good Gumbo
The first time I heard of gumbo, I was twenty-years-old. I grew up in the midwest, in a blue collar, factory town. We ate things like beef stew, pot roast, and goulash. And a lot of noodles and potatoes. A salad was iceburg lettuce and tomatoes, drowned in French or Thousand Island dressing. Nothing wrong with any of those things, but they’re not gumbo.
This was before the whole Cajun food craze hit, before Paul Prudhomme became a celebrity chef, and way before Emeril Lagasse exclaimed the now famous “Bam!” How did I hear about this exotic dish? My boyfriend—now husband—had lived in Louisiana for a few years, and during their stint there, his mother, learned how to make it. By the way, she also introduced me to okra around the same time and I’m still not a fan.
My knowledge about, and appreciation for, gumbo has grown since that first introduction, all those years ago. I now live in the New Orleans area and am exposed to some of the best in the world—including my husband’s.
The origins of gumbo are disputed, but many give the nod to the influence of Louisiana’s French Acadians. These people were hunters and fishermen and they tossed whatever they had on hand into their pot—and the resulting creation was rich and delicious.
I’ve come to think of my writing and my books this way. I add a little of this, a little of that—whatever I have on hand—to make what I hope is something that’s like a good gumbo. Something hearty, with depth of flavor, unexpected additions, and enough spice to provide my own brand of “Bam!”