I cooked shrimp and crab gumbo for seventeen family members several weeks ago and feared it might be the death of me. So I paced myself. I cut the onions, bell pepper and celery the morning before; I cooked the roux in the oven that afternoon. I used a rice cooker for the rice. I bought paper bowls and spread the tables with newspaper. By the time our guests arrived I was barely winded.
I thought the gumbo was the best I’d ever made, that is until I abandoned my guests to throw up in the back bathroom – over and over again. When I finally reappeared, all the guests were gone. Had I poisoned relatives from two states with undercooked shrimp or contaminated crab? I fell asleep worrying about uncooked shrimp and unclean hands.
The next morning my five-year-old granddaughter listened as I expressed my fears about the gumbo. She had eaten several bowls herself and reassured me, “But everybody loved your gumballs!”
And sure enough, gumballs wasn’t the problem, but over the next ten days four of the eighteen of us caught the stomach virus sweeping the Southeast.