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Image Image Image Image Image Image Image Image Image Image Image Image Image People that know me will tell you that I like to put my time in the kitchen to improve my culinary skills and apply what I know. I was born and raised in Corpus Christi, and I lived in the same house for 16 years. It was a mixed neighborhood of Mexican, Mexican-Americans, and African Americans. My parents were well respected by all and it seems that whenever someone was in need, the rest of the neighbors were there to help through any and all crises.

As a result, I was exposed to great Southern cooking from greens to jambalaya, and best of all gumbo. There are many versions of gumbo, primarily because those that make gumbo use different main ingredients but the base is very similar. In having a conversation on making gumbo with a friend several years ago, he told me that you can add whatever you want to gumbo (he suggested froglegs). I found that to be true as I have had many versions of gumbo throughout my travels across this country. None have been disappointing, but there are some that were better than others.

The subject came up this year because I had been too busy to make gumbo this year; my annual pre-Lent culinary expression the weekend before Fat Tuesday. Of all people, my daughter who has always expressed indifference to my gumbo asked my wife where she could go for a bowl of gumbo. This set off an alarm in my head as I had been derelict in my duties with family traditions and so this Saturday, March 3, we are having approximately 20-22 friends over for gumbo. To add more to my enthusiasm to make this potage, friends have also been asking me about the annual event.

Just to give you and idea of what goes into my culinary masterpiece and I don't have to remind those of you that make your own version of gumbo that you just can't make 4-6 servings because the number of ingredients that go into the pot will render enough that makes it a proper dish when you have a group together. My main ingredients include shrimp, crab, hot links, chicken, and of course okra. I begin with the roux, the trinity (onions, celery, and bell peppers), lots of different spices, chicken stock, a lot of time, and lots of love. When people walk into the house the aroma is overwhelming and they will certainly let you know. To complete the celebration, I have a great version of red beans, there will be lots of rice, and my wife will accent the finishing touch to a geat dinner with sweet potato pies. If are a wine drinker, I would suggest a sauvignon blanc (Sterling 2009 or White Hall 2009). This is a matter of preference as there are many other white wines that may be to your liking.

I am greatly looking forward to Saturday and spending an evening with my friends and sharing exceptional food and lively conversations. You have a great weekend too.