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The Great Food Debate

And so it begins, the great food debate. Mashed potatoes or no? Naked green beans or green bean casserole? Mac-n-cheese and, if so, what kind? (I’m not gonna give ink to the dressing or stuffing debate ’cause stuffing isn’t a real food–it’s a cut up mattress found in an abandoned warehouse sprinkled with some Cavender’s.) Those participating in this annual Thanksgiving ritual feign surprise: no celery casserole? No marshmallows on your sweet potatoes (we who NEVER would deign to eat a marshmallow in real life huff and puff if its missing from the casserole.) And don’t you dare call them yams.

The NOLA Food Debate

Here, in NOLA, the great food debate zeroes in on one particular food: gumbo.

I’m a mere bystander in the gumbo debate, as I will take gumbo anyway you wanna give it to me. I mean, as long as it has okra. (Yes, amazingly some folks think you can make gumbo without okra.) Moving off of that, the debate swirls around rice/ no rice. Seafood/no seafood. Dark roux/I-have-no-idea-what-you-use-if-not-a-dark-roux. But the most amazing question is this: do you take your gumbo with potato salad or not?


If you’re not from Louisiana, this might sound like the strangest question in the whole world. Because by “with,” I mean “in.” The potato salad goes in the gumbo. A big ol’ ice cream scoop plopped IN THE GUMBO. This isn’t an Internet fad, it’s the real deal. Nor is it limited to New Orleans. Though folks here one hundred percent embrace it. If you ask somebody, “Really? You do that?“ The answer you get is: “Well, I’m from here.“

So what are the hot questions in the great food debate in your house?

Not part of the great food debate, these are Thumb Prayers I’ll give out at church tomorrow for those living on the streets

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