Pulitzer Prize winner Katherine Anne Porter collected cookbooks, clipped recipes, and even attended cooking classes at Paris’ Cordon Bleu culinary school. Locating this Texas writer’s favorite recipe gives me a clue to her palate preferences. Her tastes, like her simmering stories set in Mexico, were spicy and hot.
Nephew Paul Porter describes his aunt’s excellent cooking skills and specialties in Mexican,
Southern and French dishes in “Remembering Aunt Katherine,” an essay in Katherine Anne Porter and Texas: An Uneasy Relationship. He described her recipe collection and suspects she wanted to write a cookbook. She created and recreated recipes and was most proud of her original Hellfire Sauce which required seven kinds of peppers. Texas State at San Marcos, one of two universities to house part of her recipe collection, includes her original Chile and Chocolate Molé Sauce which also calls for seven kinds of hot peppers.
She liked Worchester-curry flavored Lazy Man’s Barbecue Sauce, a recipe which her nephew submitted to the Great American Writers’ Cookbook. She sampled it when she and Eudora Welty were at Yaddo, the famed writer’s retreat in New York. The two writers shared recipes and Welty liked Katherine Porter’s Onion Pie Recipe so much that she, in turn, shared it with the Jackson, Mississippi Junior League cookbook.
An article in Drawl magazine based on Porter’s recipes at the University of Maryland reveal Porter also liked fresh okra. And from her writing and experiences living in Germany, I deduce a fondness for pork sausage.
So, gumbo for the Cordon Bleu trained, Texas born Pulitzer Prize winner Katherine Anne Porter is Sausage Gumbo: hot and spicy, with plenty of onions, fresh okra, Chorizo Mexican link sausage, a splash of Worchester and seven kinds of chile peppers.