The King Cake Baby thinks beignets may be good to eat on a crisp fall day!
Susanna Hill is hosting her 4th annual Halloweensie Contest. The rules are to write a Halloween story in 100 words or less including the words pumpkin, broomstick and any variation of creak. Easy, say you? NOT! But I gave it a go. Here’s my entry using 99 words. Enjoy.
Hildy’s Halloween Ride
BAM! Hildy moaned. She picked up her hat, and put it back on. Then holding on to the broomstick once more, Hildy lifted her left foot on top of a pumpkin and carefully raised her right foot up and over. She tried to balance but wobbled. Then suddenly – SNAP!
“Owww-eee.” groaned Hildy.
Hildy’s heart raced. The witches will want to take off soon. She pointed her wand at the broken pieces. Nothing happened. The book of spells might work but she hadn’t yet learned to read. Then the door creaked open.
“Mooooom!” shouted Anna. “Hildy ruined my costume!”
It’s National Gumbo Day!
And all Louisianans know nothing stirs the emotions like a discussion about food. But we all know the answers to the questions often asked by visitors to New Orleans, “Who makes the best gumbo in the city?” The typical reply is, “My mama.” Or “Where do I go to eat the best gumbo in the city?” That answer is, “My kitchen.” Because our mamas taught us to make our gumbos.
So what’s all the fuss about? Firstly, Gumbo is the official cuisine of Louisiana. Easy to understand why any origins to the dish would then elevate a group to a special status. However the name of the dish itself is a perfect analogy to the culture of Louisiana, it’s a mixed pot.
The first reference to ”gombeau” in New Orleans was in 1764 discovered by Louisiana colonial historian Gwendolyn Midlo Hall. It’s a record of testimony written in French and archived in the records of the French Superior Council. Of course this does not mean others who lived in the territory before 1764 were not making the dish, but often the reference to 1802 as the first record of gumbo is incorrect. In 1764 we know where in the world people came from who lived in the colony and who they found living there upon arrival. We know the Choctaw, an indigenous Louisiana people thickened soups using filé, still used today to thicken many gumbos and some believe used the term ‘kombo-lichi’ to refer to such dishes. We know ki ngombo is the Bantu word for okra, another staple used in some gumbos. And today, we know a good gumbo requires a roux, a mixture of flour and a fat like butter, used in classical French cooking as a thickening agent. But these facts still don’t answer the question about the origin of the dish. Maybe that’s a good thing because like all those ingredients put in a gumbo pot, what comes out is something special and unique. Just like me and everyone out there with Louisiana roots.
Happy Sunday Gumbo Day!
Title: Ghosts for Breakfast
Written by: Stanley Todd Teraski
Illustrated by: Shelly Shinjo
Publisher: Lee & Low Books, Inc. 2002
Suitable for ages: 4-8
Themes/Topics: Japanese culture, immigration, ghosts, community, cultural awareness
Brief Synopsis: Neighbors fear there are ghosts in the fields where they farm. A man and his young son go out to prove otherwise.
Opening pages: “PON! PON! PON!
The pounding at the door shattered my family’s peaceful evening
PON! PON! PON!
Who could it be at this time of night? I saw Mama’s puzzled look as Papa opened the door a crack and peered out.
“Ah, Papa delighted, “”The Troubelsome Triplets.”
Why I like this book: Set in a farming town during the 19th century when Japanese families immigrated to the west coast, this story is about how a father and son tackle fear of ghosts that their neighbors are convinced are real..
For more book reviews see author Susanna Hill’s page, Perfect Picture Book page.
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