Can the rules of gumbo apply to real life? In other words, can gumbo solve life’s problems? I think so.
This morning’s paper says DeLuna Fest, a popular music festival, might leave Pensacola Beach because the calendar date its organizers want conflicts with a songwriters’ festival, a marathon, and a wine and cheese gala.
Gumbo is basically the same situation. Conflicts can exist. The cook is limited to one staging area, the pot. Everything goes in the pot – except the rice, and extras, like file and green onions. And the cook adds a jumble of ingredients to create a delicious gumbo. Like my neighbor’s gumbo – she uses chicken and shrimp only — no sausage or crabs. It’s her take on her husband’s Louisiana heritage. She simply adds the ingredients her family prefers. It’s delicious and they all love it.
Now, compare Pensacola Beach to a gumbo pot. Both can hold only so much. But the gumbo (or the weekend) can be marvelous with the right mix. A good gumbo can have chicken and shrimp, or chicken, shrimp, sausage, crabs. It’s about the right combination of ingredients. The cook decides, after consulting with the family. Or, in this case, the Santa Rosa Island Authority consults its residents and business owners for their preference of ingredients. It can all fit in the pot – one part of this, two parts of that, three parts of the other. It’s about finding the right mix – what the family prefers, what they’ll gobble-up — down to the last spoonful.
Rice, however, is not optional. It has its limits. Too much ruins a good gumbo. So after a thousand or so vehicles, park the rice-rockets off the island and use lots of shuttles. File and green onions, say, in this case, souvenirs and t-shirts — are optional. They add to the flavor, but many folks don’t need a souvenir to savor every last morsel of something.