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Ten Commandments of Gumbo

Updated: Jan 22, 2018

Gumbo is a beloved entree and there are plenty of family recipes and secret seasonings. People around the world love this amazing soupy concoction of rouxy goodness and we can hardly wait to try delicious samples of it at Gumbo Gala on April 21st!

Some of our more serious gumbo aficionados have compiled the Ten Commandments of Gumbo (all in fun, of course). It seems there are right and very wrong ways to make, serve and eat gumbo. Check out this list ,compiled by Jude Walker, to ensure you never make a faux pas, on the ten commandments of gumbo.

  • I - Thou Shalt Never Use Tomatoes If we've learned anything from the Disney folks, it's this. Any cooyon with half a brain knows "Making Gumbo 101" contains this golden rule -- it's roux-based and not tomato-based! Tomatoes are for things like spaghetti sauce.

  • II - Thou Shalt Not Use Un-Cajun Sausage Sausage in your gumbo can only come from authorized vendors. Brands like Savoie's, Richard's  or any name ending in "eaux" and you good, bebe!

  • III - Thou Shalt Not Use Store-Bought Roux Don't even entertain this thought. Now don't get me wrong, there are some that are just fine...if you paresseux comme ca! This a movement that needs to start immediately. Don't be lazy, stand by the stove and stir that flour and oil patiently until it's a perfect brown.

  • IV - Thou Shalt Always Use a Bowl There is always that one person who "just can't stand all that juice" and will insist on making them a plate of rice covered with gumbo. That's not gumbo bruh, that's rice and gravy!

  • V - Thou Shalt Only Use a Wooden Spoon I guarantee you that gumbo knows what's stirring it. It has feelings too you know! There's only one kind of spoon that can enter a gumbo pot, and that's a wooden one.

  • VI - Thou Shalt Adhere to the 'Gumbo-to-Rice' Ratio Two parts gumbo, one part rice. It's simple math. You don't want it runny and you don't want it ricey. (Yeah, I don't know what "ricey" is either, but you comprende, oui?!)

  • VII - Thou Shalt Always Keep Filé In Ya Cabinet Don't make me fill my bowl with rice then add all that chicken and sausage goodness, plop some potato salad next to it and then find out you out of filé. Oh, we gonna fight, yeah!

  • VIII - Thou Shalt Not Mix Chicken & Sausage with Seafood Chicken and sausage gumbo = mais yeah cher! Seafood gumbo = pie-yow comme ca! Chicken and Sausage + Seafood = that don't go together, no! Stop that. Leave that separate please.

  • IX - Thou Shalt Never Tell People Where the Potato Salad Goes It's an age-old question: Should the potato salad go straight in the bowl or in a bowl of its own? That's a personal choice. It's like politics, leave that discussion out of the kitchen.

  • X - Thou Shalt Always Stir Your Gumbo Counter-Clockwise

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Bill Doscher
Bill Doscher
Apr 22

For it’s namesake, all gumbo should, (not shall) contain Okra, just as all chili should, (not shall) contain chili powder or cumin. Beyond that, lighten up and just enjoy the variations.


Apr 21

My grandparents are from the Gullah of South Carolina. They grew up in Charleston, Hilton Head, etc. My grandfather had that Geechee accent that sounded like a Creole/Cajun accent. He ate rice with EVERYTHING!!! My nana, his wife, taught all of us to cook gumbo with tomato. It is an okra shrimp tomato and corn gumbo which are all foods found in the Gullah.


Kecia Crockett
Kecia Crockett
Mar 06

My Nana Belle (Louisiana native) put chicken, shrimp, crab legs and andouille sausage in hers....and i'm going to do the same!!! R.I.P. Nana <3


Feb 12

As authoritative, I refer to the 1903 Picayune Creole Cookbook, published in 1903, with recipes going back into at least the 1700’s: okra gumbo and crab gumbo used tomatoes as did ‘plain’ shrimp gumbo; nothing else!

So get the roux correct, add whatever, and if it tastes good, enjoy, but no file and okra at the same time!


Joe Brown
Joe Brown
Feb 10

Gonna try adding some saffron and or vanilla to a very well tested and tasty seafood gumbo. Any opinions!

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