The inaugural meeting of the Association for the Promulgation of Gumbo was, if the co-president may permit himself to say so, a resounding success. On Thursday night, St. John Frizell and I served two subtle variations on the theme of fried chicken and sausage gumbo in the boardroom at Cabinet Magazine, along with caruru, a Brazilian okra stew. Caruru is a ritual food of the Candomblé religion, often available in Brazil from Bahiana vendors who wear pristine white cotton finery to demonstrate their religious proclivities. It is essentially a gumbo, but one made with dried shrimps and ground peanuts, and it was included on the menu in order to demonstrate the connective culinary tissue (okra fiber) linking the far-flung corners of the African slave diaspora. Staggeringly decadent and delicious pies from Four and Twenty Blackbirds rounded out the meal, and the tummies of the guests.
At the meeting, during which vast quantities of gumbo was consumed by about twenty ravenous board members, we showed the following film. According to the filmmaker, the surface of the bubbling pot of gumbo serves as a metaphor for the creation of the world and everything in it.*
I'm not only the co-president of the Assoc., I'm also
*From a Darwinian, rather than creationist, perspective.
APG® Okra graphic ©2011 Laura Harmon; used here by permission of the artist