I don’t know when writer Louis L’Amour had time to eat. He was way too busy writing 89 novels and researching the food people ate in a
given time and place. A stickler for accuracy and detail, this writer of American frontier tales (he didn’t think of them as westerns) surely had a varied palate.
He’d sailed on the Red Sea, been stranded in the Mojave Desert, sailed around the world — England, Japan, China, Borneo, the Dutch East Indies, Arabia, Egypt, and Panama — and knew the American frontier intimately — especially North Dakota (his home state), Colorado, New Mexico, Utah and Arizona.
Today’s fans (he’s sold over 300 million books) can follow a L’Amour trail of his story settings or sleep in Room 222 of the Strater Hotel in Durango, Colorado, the literary landmark where he wrote much of his Sackett saga. Or read and read and read — novels, short stories, nonfiction and poetry from adventures on the high seas or high in the saddle.
So when it comes to choosing gumbo for this American writer, there’s only one choice – “gumbo-to-go” served from a chuck wagon, western style. That calls for a recipe easy to make in an old-fashioned cast iron pot like the ones in the photo below. Rick Manfield’s cast iron gumbo recipe can be adapted to weather a rugged trail ride. I recommend prairie chicken (if you can bag one) cooked down with venison sausage or sausage jerky and dried spices. So, circle the wagons, and try out chicken and sausage file gumbo cooked chuck wagon style in a cast iron pot — just like the days of the Ol’ West.