Writer Aimee Brown is traveling along the Gulf Coast and reporting on the effects of the oil spill and its recovery. Today she shares her love affair with a local specialty. This is her sixth post in the series; read her other posts here.
Memorandum From: Aimee Brown
To: Southern Louisiana Gumbo
Subject: A follow-up from our meeting
In a world of fast food and bland flavors, a world of food made more for its ship-ability rather than its flavor, you stand out. You make me believe that local flavors will always trump standardization, and that beauty comes not from a slick package, but from within.
I find you rich with a depth that speaks to an unknown source. You haunt me. I taste in you hope and fear. There is darkness in your roux, and your scent suggests all that Louisiana is. Lust, love, dark alleys, open arms, bayous that hold within them hidden threats of danger and beauty.
Made of simple ingredients — shrimp, crab, crawfish, and spices — you are more than the sum of your parts. You are formed by the hands of people who belong to this place. Because of that so do you.
Your simplicity does not escape my notice. But neither does your complexity. You are a bastion of the Gulf Coast, and in you I recognize all that stands to be lost as we change our environment through our actions.
Though I would like to take you home and make you my own, share you with my friends and family, it is here that you shine. So perhaps, the best I can do is to sing to them your praises. To suggest they come to you on their own two feet, and experience, on your turf, what you have to offer.
When they do come, and I believe the will, I ask just one thing of you, please.
- Nat Geo Expeditions
Please let them see that you could not exist without clean water and fresh air. Be honest with them. Show them who you are, and what you are made of. I believe in you and in your ability to inspire.
You, Gumbo, are amazing.
Photo: Justin Baillie