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Potato Salad in Gumbo

MakingSense Nov 1, 2006 03:14 PM

I had this often growing up in relatives' homes in Acadiana - around St. James, St. John, Lafourche, Terrebonne Parishes. Didn't see it in New Orleans and we didn't serve it that way at home in NOLA.
The November issue of Cottage Living magazine has a good recipe for turkey and andouille gumbo with potato salad. With rice as well - saying that "gumbo without rice is a mortal sin." The only discussion is if the potato salad goes in the middle or on the side of the bowl.
Are there any restaurants in NOLA that serve it this way? Some of my friends from that area of LA still do.

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  1. h
    Hungry Celeste RE: MakingSense Nov 1, 2006 04:01 PM

    This weekend, I served approx. 1200 servings of gumbo and 500 servings of potato salad at a 3-day fest in Lafourche parish. Less than 5% asked for potato salad in the bowl with the gumbo, a few asked for both potato salad AND rice in the gumbo, and more people than ever (maybe 20 over the weekend) wanted no rice at all--proof that low-carb eating habits can even penetrate the heart of the bayou. I personally don't like p.s. in my gumbo or even at the same meal, but my better half and his mother both insist on p.s. alongside their gumbo. The combination intrigues me and I'm always asking people about their preferences regarding the matter!

    3 Replies
    1. re: Hungry Celeste
      Cheese Boy RE: Hungry Celeste Nov 3, 2006 03:53 AM

      Celeste, when you refer to potato salad, do you mean the type made with mayonnaise and celery? I ate quite a bit of gumbo in LA when I visited Breaux Bridge, Lafayette, Mamou, and New Orleans, and nowhere did anyone offer it with potato salad. Does a customer have to ask for it...? I think I'd give it a try. It sounds more "comforting" with potatoes.

      1. re: Cheese Boy
        Hungry Celeste RE: Cheese Boy Nov 6, 2006 02:09 PM

        You don't often see the potato salad-gumbo combination listed together on restaurant menus, although you will often see the two listed separately and a fair number of people will order them together. It's more of a Sunday-dinner, grandma's house kinda thing. The potato salad varies from family to family, often very basic potato-egg-mayo-mustard mixture, sometimes with pickles, celery, raw onion, or other crunchy stuff.

        1. re: Hungry Celeste
          Cheese Boy RE: Hungry Celeste Nov 8, 2006 12:39 AM

          Thanks Celeste. I'll remember to order them together. It sounds delicious.

    2. katp RE: MakingSense Nov 1, 2006 07:38 PM

      I live in Lafayette and it is traditional to get a side of potato salad with your chicken and sausage gumbo. Some people then put it straight into the bowl (I do this) and others just eat in on the side. Potato salad is not naturally served with any sort of seafood gumbo from what I understand though.

      1 Reply
      1. re: katp
        Hungry Celeste RE: katp Nov 1, 2006 07:42 PM

        It IS served with seafood gumbo all up and down bayou Lafourche & in Terrebonne Parish as well...from my "field sampling" there is little or no consistency in pairing P.S. with particular gumbos...the rules seem to operate at the level of personal taste rather than at the level of general cultural practice.

      2. pattisue RE: MakingSense Nov 1, 2006 10:59 PM

        I live in Lafayette and I plop my potato salad into my bowl of gumbo, be it chicken and sausage or seafood gumbo. Having potato salad doesn't preclude having rice, either. Oh, and I only do this at home. No plopping in public.

        When I'm low carbing, I eat gumbo sans rice or potato salad.

        1. m
          MakingSense RE: MakingSense Nov 2, 2006 09:13 PM

          Could this have anything to do with the German immigrants around Lac des Allemands, the German Coast area? Potatoes would be an inexpensive way to stretch a gumbo into a meal for a poor rural cajun family, especially if your ethnic German cooking relied heavily on potoatoes. Much like shrimp stew (the old Back of Town dish) in NOLA which includes potatoes. My German grandmother always made shrimp stew rather than shrimp creole.

          2 Replies
          1. re: MakingSense
            Hungry Celeste RE: MakingSense Nov 2, 2006 09:53 PM

            Yeah, I desperately wanted to work in some sort of German Coast connection, but I can't seem to document a clear one. (Over in SW LA, a sizeable German population settled around Robert's Cove, which celebrates an annual GermanFest). I find it all over the place, in families of native american ancestry (houmas), in seriously old cajun families still living within 20 miles of where their ancestors settled in the 1760s, and in french-speaking and non-french speaking black families too.

            Shrimp and potato stew is certainly not just a back'o'town dish, either. It's common all over acadiana and has roots in an old, old french dish called a fricot...and some cajun-french-speakers still use that word to describe it, too.

            1. re: MakingSense
              Spencer RE: MakingSense Nov 2, 2006 11:45 PM

              I wondered the same thing, only with Irish immigrants. They were pretty fond of potatoes as well.
              Interesting subject

            2. m
              MakingSense RE: MakingSense Nov 3, 2006 03:19 AM

              H Celeste, my father's family was the original settlers in St. James Parish in the 1760s. He was born on a sugar plantation in Vacherie which the 2000 Census finds "the most rooted town in most rooted state in US, with almost total absence of population mobility; 98% of 5,787 residents were born in Louisiana and and 80 percent live in houses they occupied in 1995; the town has one of most stable populations in the history of North America." The NY Times did a front page article about Vacherie, 9/30/02.
              Before she died at 92, my aunt learned to use the internet and began writing memories of growing up there and also filling in blanks. She sent me a good deal of information about the German Coast because there were so many Germans in Vacherie including many who had married into our family. According to her research, the Germans had arrived in around 1719. All of them spoke only French of course.

              The food had to been influenced by the German population, but after 200 years, who can say what? My Wagespack, Hymel, Steib, and Haydel relatives all consider themselves Cajun French.
              I'll eat anything any one of them cooks.

              1 Reply
              1. re: MakingSense
                Hungry Celeste RE: MakingSense Nov 6, 2006 02:06 PM

                An interesting thing about many of those Germans on the German coast: lots were from Alsace, meaning that they were French or German, or a pretty healthy mixture of the two...

              2. t
                Tchoupitoulas RE: MakingSense Nov 8, 2006 02:41 AM

                I have only been in Lafayette for about one year and a half after moving from Houston after 15 years. From New Orleans, I had NEVER heard of putting potato salad in gumbo. Working for a local company here for about six months, we had a "Cajun" cook us a pot (beaucoup) of gumbo and order a side (large one) of potato salad on the side. NEVER had I tried this so, doing as the "natives" I tossed a "hump" of potato salad in the bowl before the gumbo. I must say, I was interested and not liking rice, thought it wonderful. Some added rice on top of the potato salad. Too much starch for me. But it was interesting and tasty and I no longer thought it was sooo strange, although I will stick to the rice in the future, thank you very much.

                1. u
                  UptownKevin RE: MakingSense Nov 11, 2006 01:36 PM

                  Grew up in New Orleans. Never heard of potato salad in gumbo.

                  Moved to Lafayette. Went to someone's house for gumbo and there was the potato salad. I looked at them like they had two heads, but I tried it. I don't get it often, but a scoop of mayo based potato salad in the middle of a bowl of gumbo is outstanding. Yes, you need rice too.

                  No need to explain any more, it's been done well already here.


                  1. k
                    kdbroussa RE: MakingSense Nov 18, 2006 10:15 AM

                    I am from Louisiana and grew up on Cajun and Creole cuisine. Also, I have eaten all over south Louisiana, in famous restaurants and out-of-the way mom-and-pop establishments. I have never heard of or seen anyone putting potato salad in gumbo. It was always rice. Perhaps potato salad in gumbo is a new trend.

                    1. pattisue RE: MakingSense Nov 18, 2006 04:19 PM

                      I first heard of it 30 years ago, when I saw my B-I-L put some in his bowl of gumbo. I've never seen it done in restaurants, and I've never seen it used as a replacement for rice. I don't know about other parts of Louisiana, but in the Acadiana region, potato salad is a common accompaniment to gumbo. It's only in people's homes that I've seen anyone put the potato salad into the bowl of gumbo. It's a real thing, I just have no idea how common it is. It tastes pretty damn good, though, especially if there's a little bit of pickle relish in the potato salad.

                      1. t
                        TwinklyTerrapin RE: MakingSense Nov 19, 2006 03:36 PM

                        For what it's worth, I read somewhere that potato salad in the gumbo was Grandma's way of cooling it down so the kids could eat it.

                        ...but I can't remember what my source for that information is, AND I'm from Toronto, so my input may not even be worth the proverbial grain of salt...;-)

                        1. m
                          MakingSense RE: MakingSense Nov 21, 2006 06:24 PM

                          Update on the question.
                          At lunch yesterday at Oak Alley, I asked my 80 year old aunt who had ordered gumbo about this. She said she likes it but doesn't order it out because she doesn't like "most other people's potato salad." My 90 year old uncle, also eating gumbo, likes it but always orders it on the side, because it makes the gumbo cold too quickly. It wasn't on Oak Alley's menu.
                          The waitress said she has worked at many restaurants and the reason most don't serve it is that the potato salad should be served warm and fresh. Restaurants can't do that because they'd have to make it constantly all day. It can't be held warm because the mayo would break down. Health rules won't let them keep it at room temp. She did say that her family serves it at home.
                          So I guess the answer to my original question is that it's home cooking.

                          1. c
                            Carrolltonsnob RE: MakingSense Aug 14, 2007 09:40 AM

                            Do you mix it all up together, or sort or leave them separate but touching? This is so strange to me!

                            22 Replies
                            1. re: Carrolltonsnob
                              malenky RE: Carrolltonsnob Aug 14, 2007 10:13 AM

                              I like mine on the side...I take a little scoop of potato salad then I dip it in the gumbo and take some gumbo on the spoon...and that is they way I like it.

                              1. re: Carrolltonsnob
                                Hungry Celeste RE: Carrolltonsnob Aug 14, 2007 01:40 PM

                                Some people serve it on the side in a separate plate, others put it directly in the bowl (with or without the rice).

                                1. re: Hungry Celeste
                                  chocolatetartguy RE: Hungry Celeste Aug 15, 2007 11:30 AM

                                  I tried the potato salad in the gumbo last night. I made the mistake of mixing it up and didn't care for it. The potato salad made the broth milky and detracted from its essential gumboness. It might work just put in the middle of the bowl. I did really like the potato salad as a sidedish. None of the several people to whomI mentioned this practice had ever heard of it.

                                  While we're on the subject of gumbo, is it customary to crack the crab or no. Here in CA we have big pieces of dungeness. Cracked, the crab gets overcooked but is marinated in the broth. Uncracked of course is a hassle to get to sans nutcracker.

                                  1. re: chocolatetartguy
                                    Hungry Celeste RE: chocolatetartguy Aug 15, 2007 12:29 PM

                                    Typical gumbo crabs are "sort of" cracked--but these crabs are already boiled or steamed before going into the pot. The blue crabs are cleaned of the upper shell, back apron, innards/lungs, and claws. The body is broken in half down the middle, sometimes the legs are trimmed of the last pointy segment. You can buy bags of gumbo crabs already trimmed/cleaned at most seafood markets, and even Wal-Mart sells bags of Bernard's brand frozen gumbo crabs.

                                    I like to slurp at the crab bodies, fishing around for the bits of gumbo-y meat that clings to the shell, but I don't do this in restaurants!

                                    1. re: Hungry Celeste
                                      chocolatetartguy RE: Hungry Celeste Aug 15, 2007 01:12 PM

                                      Yes, the Dungeness crabs here are prepared the same way. As the bodies tend to be bigger they are chopped in sixths or quarters so soak up the broth. I use that pointy segment as a crab "fork." And yes, I slurp at home, but not so much at restaurants both for gumbo crab and Asian preps.

                                      Is the tomalley used at all in Cajun cooking?

                                      1. re: chocolatetartguy
                                        Hungry Celeste RE: chocolatetartguy Aug 15, 2007 01:26 PM

                                        Blue crabs have "fat", which I guess is analagous to the tomalley (not biologically, but etymologically speaking). Even fat crabs don't contain much fat, though it is delicious. I don't know of any preparations calling for fat as a separate ingredient. Bright orange eggs are another matter, though--I know lots of people who pick female crabs and separate out the eggs, whether for use in a crab soup or stew or folded inside an omelet or added to crab patties.

                                      2. re: Hungry Celeste
                                        cajungirl RE: Hungry Celeste Aug 19, 2007 05:10 PM

                                        If I remember correctly,the Bernard's brand of crawfish tails are really imported ones with a Cajun name to disguise that fact. Yuck! Be sure to read the label carefully to verify. Do you know if that's the case with the crabs?

                                        1. re: cajungirl
                                          malenky RE: cajungirl Aug 20, 2007 08:16 AM

                                          yes, you are correct. Don't ever buy anything by Bernard's.

                                      3. re: chocolatetartguy
                                        funkjester RE: chocolatetartguy Aug 15, 2007 03:11 PM

                                        "...is it customary to crack the crab or no?"

                                        The way I was taught to make gumbo by an esteemed 7th Ward Creole chef is to blanch the crabs and then seperate the claws from the bodies. I then split the bodies horizontally with a thin-bladed knife and pick out (very carefully and painstakingly, and this takes TIME) all the meat and fat, reserving this to stir into the gumbo at the very last as one of the final ingredients (along with fresh oysters, big, fat, de-veined shrimp, chopped flat-leaf parsley and fresh sweet-corn kernels just cut from the cob, along with the milk from the cobs).

                                        I also crack the claws lightly with the back of a French knife and add those to the gumbo whole as well. The light cracking makes it easier to eat at table and you can extract the crabmeat and suck out any juice that accumulates inside. So good!

                                        1. re: funkjester
                                          Hungry Celeste RE: funkjester Aug 16, 2007 06:48 AM

                                          No thanks to corn (even fresh sweet corn) in my crab gumbo. Corn/crab soup, yes. Gumbo, no. And picked crabmeat is essential to a good seafood or crab gumbo, but gumbo crab bodies add a wonderful depth of flavor--it tastes best to use gumbo crabs and some additional picked crabmeat.

                                          1. re: Hungry Celeste
                                            MakingSense RE: Hungry Celeste Aug 16, 2007 04:06 PM

                                            Maybe in the category of weird personal additions? My grandmother put limas in her gumbo. Only person I ever knew who did that. Since I grew up eating it, just tastes right to me. Nice textural change and I always think of her.
                                            Maybe funkmeister's chef's grandmother made her gumbo with corn?

                                            1. re: MakingSense
                                              funkjester RE: MakingSense Aug 16, 2007 04:27 PM

                                              No, I'm Italian from New York originally, taught to make gumbo by a straight-up 7th Ward Creole, but the corn was not her addition. It's a Cajun thing, to my understanding, and Greg Sonnier was the first person in New Orleans I saw do that, and it's a great finishing addition. Certainly a matter of taste, though, I suppose.

                                              1. re: funkjester
                                                just_ed RE: funkjester Aug 16, 2007 05:56 PM

                                                I was born and raised in Lafayette (and live there still) and I've never seen corn in Gumbo. Bisque, sure (as Celeste noted), but not Gumbo. Of course, there's no reason you can't put whatever the hell you want in Gumbo.

                                                1. re: funkjester
                                                  MakingSense RE: funkjester Aug 16, 2007 09:16 PM

                                                  Where's Sonnier from?

                                                  1. re: MakingSense
                                                    funkjester RE: MakingSense Aug 17, 2007 09:15 AM

                                                    Greg Sonnier is from Uptown New Orleans, as far as I know. Not sure about his family.

                                                    But remember, he worked a lot of years with Chef Paul, who's from Acadiana, obviously, and Frank Brigsten, who's from New Orleans as well, so the influence could come from anywhere.

                                                    It is damned good, I'll tell you that.

                                                    1. re: funkjester
                                                      cajungirl RE: funkjester Aug 19, 2007 05:18 PM

                                                      After over 50 years in cajun country, I can testify that corn has never been an addition to any gumbo I have seen or tasted. Good old fashioned corn soup with salt pork, yes. Good new-fashioned corn and crab bisque, yes. But gumbo, not around here for sure!
                                                      Regarding the potato salad, Bon Creole in New Iberia and Yellow Bowl in Jeanerette serve their gumbo with a side of potato salad. If you're lucky at the YB, you also get French bread...so that makes 3 starches plus the roux. The rice is a given....Can you believe?

                                                      1. re: cajungirl
                                                        malenky RE: cajungirl Aug 20, 2007 08:19 AM

                                                        At home, my mom serves, gumbo with rice (of course), potato salad on the side, and saltines (which my mom and dad always get in a fight over which side is the right side to butter them). I wonder sometimes if it is the heavy German influence in that area that produces so much starch at one meal. Almost every meal my mom fixes had a few starches in it.

                                                        1. re: cajungirl
                                                          newiberiagirl RE: cajungirl Jan 12, 2009 05:15 PM

                                                          Yep, I'm from New Iberia and was a Schexnayder which was German/French and we always have Potato Salad, French Bread and Saltines along with the Rice in the Gumbo. I never put my Potato Sald IN my gumbo but that is probably b/c as any kid I did not want my food to "touch." I should try it as an adult and see if I like it!

                                                    2. re: funkjester
                                                      Hungry Celeste RE: funkjester Aug 17, 2007 08:32 AM

                                                      It's almost certainly a personal, creative variant. I have never seen corn in a gumbo in a decently long lifetime of eating gumbo to hell and back, all over south Louisiana. Weenie gumbos, gizzard gumbos, crawfish gumbos, turkey neck gumbos, duck-leg gumbos, etc. Nope, no corn.

                                                      1. re: Hungry Celeste
                                                        malenky RE: Hungry Celeste Aug 17, 2007 08:54 AM

                                                        Ever had baloney gumbo?? My mom makes it for my dad every now in then since his mom used to make it because they couldn't afford "meat". I guess it is probably similar to weenie gumbo.

                                                        1. re: Hungry Celeste
                                                          newiberiagirl RE: Hungry Celeste Jan 12, 2009 05:17 PM

                                                          NO Corn here either. I did have a friend whose Parents from Conneticut thought they'd "help" make a Gumbo so they opened the fridge and proceeded to throw in green beans, brocolli, cauliflower..whatever vegetables...like you would a soup!! LOL!

                                            2. re: Carrolltonsnob
                                              uptownlibrarian RE: Carrolltonsnob Aug 15, 2007 10:30 AM

                                              You don't stir it in. You just spoon it into the middle of the bowl and sort of eat both at the same time. Eventually they mix together more once you get to the bottom. I don't know what all this craziness about adding rice too is all about but don't you listen to that. I also chime in that this is something that I've only had at home or in other people's homes, never in a reataurant.

                                            3. t
                                              tradebead RE: MakingSense Aug 14, 2007 10:01 AM

                                              They put a deviled egg in the gumbo when I was at Cochon this spring.

                                              1 Reply
                                              1. re: tradebead
                                                Hungry Celeste RE: tradebead Aug 14, 2007 01:29 PM

                                                The devilled egg in the gumbo is a riff on the cajun tradition of halved, hard-boiled eggs used to "stretch" the protein content of soups & stews. You can make a pretty damn big pot of tasty gumbo using very little protein as "seasoning meat". Hard boiled eggs allow everyone to get something substantial in his/her bowl, as opposed to just rice & flavored broth.

                                              2. h
                                                hazelhurst RE: MakingSense Aug 17, 2007 06:07 AM

                                                In my vanishing world, potato salad in gumbo appeared around Lafayette---probably it was in Henderson/Cecelia as well---and I first saw it in the 1960's. Throughout the 1970's I'd say its range was from the Western Atchafalaya levee across to Lake Charles but I never saw it north of Ville Platte. news that it has been sighted in Lafourche Parish is interesting although with the Motor Car and Television and Internet I suppose things do travel. For me, potato salad in gumbo is not right unless it has been plopped bown in a leaden mass by an ice-cream scoop in the center of the bowl. Nick an edge of the blob with the spoon and proceed.

                                                4 Replies
                                                1. re: hazelhurst
                                                  Hungry Celeste RE: hazelhurst Aug 17, 2007 08:37 AM

                                                  I can document/verify gumo in/alongside potato salad in Thibodaux in the mid-50s...my dad tells me it was served at the downtown bars serving cheap plate lunches to workers & Nicholls students (the Venetian, etc.) It was certainly a standard school-lunch go-with-gumbo item in Lafourche Parish public schools starting in the 1960s. (Those old school lunch menus are a treasure trove of food evidence, I tell ya.)

                                                  1. re: Hungry Celeste
                                                    hazelhurst RE: Hungry Celeste Aug 17, 2007 09:04 AM

                                                    Well, that certainly makes sense. Lafourche has always been a bastion of the good stuff, rather like Evangeline has hewn hard to the smoked meats of yore. BTW I heard best Stop was sold awhile back. Will investigate that this afternoon. also plan to check out some boudin in Duson...I think the name of teh joint is Gautreau's.

                                                    1. re: hazelhurst
                                                      malenky RE: hazelhurst Aug 17, 2007 01:09 PM

                                                      Hmm... I was at the best stop about a month ago and the boudin was still as good as ever. The cracklins, however, are starting to slide.

                                                      1. re: hazelhurst
                                                        pattisue RE: hazelhurst Aug 20, 2007 08:55 AM

                                                        The boudin at Billeaud's in Broussard ranks highest on my list. Give it a try.

                                                  2. k
                                                    kmnola RE: MakingSense Aug 17, 2007 07:29 PM

                                                    Went to a new place for lunch today on Gravier in the CBD today--The Store. They had a chicken and andouille gumbo on the menu and listed the option to add potato salad. Didn't try the combo today, but the potato salad alone was excellent.

                                                    1. z
                                                      ZydecoPlayer RE: MakingSense Jan 12, 2009 06:20 PM

                                                      We can tell where our customers hail from by how they order. If their two sides are gumbo and tater salad, it's a pretty sure bet they're from Da Swamp.

                                                      Putting tater salad IN the gumbo usually cools off the gumbo way too much. It's more of a dipping thing, at least in restaurant applications.

                                                      3 Replies
                                                      1. re: ZydecoPlayer
                                                        Hungry Celeste RE: ZydecoPlayer Jan 13, 2009 05:47 AM

                                                        The potato salad is supposed to be warm, or at least room temp--never COLD.

                                                        1. re: Hungry Celeste
                                                          malenky RE: Hungry Celeste Jan 13, 2009 08:13 AM

                                                          Yes, must be warm. MMMM....it tastes so much better that way.

                                                          1. re: Hungry Celeste
                                                            pattisue RE: Hungry Celeste Apr 22, 2009 08:59 AM

                                                            I overheard a tourist complaining about the warm/room temp potato salad served with her gumbo. She thought she was being poisoned. It never occurred to her that it was warm because it was freshly made. Someone sitting nearby enlightened her.

                                                        2. nikinik RE: MakingSense Apr 22, 2009 10:16 AM

                                                          I put it in my bowl then the gumbo on top.

                                                          1 Reply
                                                          1. re: nikinik
                                                            thecajunfoodie RE: nikinik Apr 22, 2009 07:10 PM

                                                            On the side for me, warm and simple with no relish, and of course, rice underneath. There are not many things in life better than a warm, freshly made potato salad.

                                                            Something this conversation reminds me of is putting your white beans OVER your jambalaya. It is also big in the Thibodaux/Chackbay area but I do not know if I have ever seen it served that way outside those locales...


                                                          2. c
                                                            califkatie RE: MakingSense Apr 22, 2009 07:08 PM

                                                            another thought on the subject might be, when you went to a potluck or church social or family party and there are not enough hands for everything, so you plopped your potato salad into your gumbo to save room. i have not had the pleasure of gumbo with potato salad but i love them both!

                                                            7 Replies
                                                            1. re: califkatie
                                                              MakingSense RE: califkatie Apr 22, 2009 09:19 PM

                                                              Nope, not an ad hoc solution to a problem of too much food to handle.
                                                              Potato salad with gumbo is a conscious pairing in Cajun home cooking.

                                                              You'd be less likely to see it at a big event because the potato salad has to be made fresh and served warm or at least at room temp - not good for food safety reasons.
                                                              That's why you almost never see it in restaurants.

                                                              1. re: MakingSense
                                                                JanetLong RE: MakingSense Apr 23, 2009 09:36 AM

                                                                I don't understand that potato salad is so dangerous. I can understand the food safety concerns when people make homemade mayo with raw eggs, but it is my understanding that jarred mayo, Hellman's, doesn't use raw eggs anyway. Could it be that this is an outdated or at least exaggerated concern?

                                                                1. re: JanetLong
                                                                  MakingSense RE: JanetLong Apr 23, 2009 03:06 PM

                                                                  The mayo doesn't get ya. The potatoes can. From what I understand, they can grow bacteria, as can other starchy foods like pasta, etc. in salads, and the mayo actually helps retard it.
                                                                  But whatever it is that would make you sick, the food safety police require that things be hot or cold.

                                                                  1. re: MakingSense
                                                                    cajungirl RE: MakingSense Apr 24, 2009 09:33 AM

                                                                    I heard recently it was the hard-cooked eggs that should not be left at room temperature.
                                                                    Personally, I take my chances and always eat it warm or room temp that day and refrigerate it after 4-5 hours. My family and I have never ever been sick.

                                                                2. re: MakingSense
                                                                  Hungry Celeste RE: MakingSense Apr 23, 2009 10:01 AM

                                                                  While warm potato salad is preferred by most folks, cold is okay, too: as long as it's on the side. Dunno where MS is dining, but I can think of a dozen places, offhand, that serve potato salad alongside gumbo. Granted, most of them are in Lafourche, Terrebonne, and St. Charles parishes.

                                                                  1. re: Hungry Celeste
                                                                    Isabella RE: Hungry Celeste Apr 25, 2009 06:52 AM

                                                                    We always had potato salad at gumbo meals, but it was always cold. Or at least never hot or warm perhaps room temp & starting to get a chill. It was served along side the gumbo. My daddy, of German & French descent, was originally from Napoleonville. Wish he were alive today to ask him how he ate it growing up! My mama, being Spanish, may have insisted the potato salad be cold (and well seasoned). I'll have to ask her, but I know she might not remember all the whys. We always had potato salad at holiday meals. It was very big in our house and was well seasoned. Loved it & people raved over it. In fact, I think we must have had it at least once a month.

                                                                    On the other hand, my husband's family was originally from Chackahoula & later Houma. His aunt always served the potato salad warm or hot. Just huge chunks of potatoes, eggs & mayo, gently tossed. No seasonings! I was pretty grossed out by it, too hugely chunky & very bland! All of them are gone now, so there's no one to ask about it. Is this typical for this area?

                                                                    1. re: Isabella
                                                                      Hungry Celeste RE: Isabella Apr 27, 2009 08:44 AM

                                                                      On the bland side is the norm...potatoes, chopped hardboiled eggs, mayo, a hit of mustard, sometimes dill or sweet relish, occasionally chopped celery or olives or a little grated raw onion. It's rarely an assertive dish, more like a foil for other flavors on the plate (or in the bowl). Texture varies widely.

                                                              2. i
                                                                Isonomist RE: MakingSense Dec 23, 2013 07:19 PM

                                                                I'm New Orleans creole and was brought up making gumbo from scratch, and never heard of potato salad in gumbo until recently. In fact, my family would probably attempt murder on anyone who adulterated their gumbo that way. It's a high art for us, not just some kind of stew. But since Katrina, you can find restaurants in town that will put anything in a pot and call it gumbo.

                                                                7 Replies
                                                                1. re: Isonomist
                                                                  Bill Hunt RE: Isonomist Jan 3, 2014 06:43 PM

                                                                  That is probably too true.

                                                                  The Potato Salad was a new thing to me, and growing up in the shadow of NOLA, I have had Gumbo, since I was a very young child. I came to know many variations, from NOLA and its environs, then married a "local," with a 3-generation NOLA family - still no Potato Salad.

                                                                  However, I have seen it in several restaurants, and do not feel that it has added anything to the Gumbo.

                                                                  Maybe the concept has been around for years, but it was only recently, that I encountered it.


                                                                  1. re: Isonomist
                                                                    kibbles RE: Isonomist Jan 4, 2014 08:43 AM

                                                                    as discussed above it seems more of a rural thing. New Orleans has it's own traditions at times that vary from the rest of the state, so it not being a native New Orleanian custom doesn't negate it in my mind.

                                                                    for instance, I don't care for okra-thickened gumbo or tomatoes in gumbo, preferring animal fat roux. but okra and tomatoes are more popular in New Orleans creole variants going back to urban living in a port city.

                                                                    1. re: kibbles
                                                                      Isonomist RE: kibbles Jan 5, 2014 04:23 PM

                                                                      Hunt, I only came across it after joining the Facebook Cajun French page on Facebook: interesting site if you have any connection with the culture. My mother's father was part Cajun (Guidry, mostly), part just plain colonial French from Alsace. Lots of blondes in our lineage, except when it comes to roux.

                                                                      Kibbles, I have family members who will use both okra and file powder in the same gumbo, and some who would rather use live rats; some who use one tomato in seafood gumbo only, but never in any other; I'll use one or two creole tomatoes in seafood or fowl based gumbos, and rarely okra, though I like it well enough. I just prefer the taste of the file. I was a little shocked to see gumbo recipes online with things like canned tomato paste and chicken stock,Tabasco and/or Worcestershire sauce, or Tony Chachere's -- I'm at a loss with those, but if you've strayed that far from orthodoxy, you may as well lob some kind of salad in there, I guess. I would just feel cheated if you gave it to me and called it gumbo.

                                                                      1. re: Isonomist
                                                                        hazelhurst RE: Isonomist Jan 5, 2014 05:22 PM

                                                                        The old rule...if one can be delineated..was file in seafood and okra in fowl. Oysters and shrimp were added at the end and file was the last ingredient since it must never boil.

                                                                        The tomato wars have rent families from Point a la Hache to Cameron. In Jambalaya? ("City version" versus "Country Version.") Tomato in turtle soup? How much? Paste or sauce? And in grillades, of course, tomatoes are essential and MUST be peeled...and seeded if you are a purist (blistering the skin while holding the tomato over the fire, impaled by a knife and turning slowly),

                                                                        1. re: hazelhurst
                                                                          Isonomist RE: hazelhurst Jan 7, 2014 06:38 PM

                                                                          Yep, I recall the same rule for okra and file. Also, dark roux seafood gumbo was a specialty in some homes, while others never went past praline color for anything.

                                                                    2. re: Isonomist
                                                                      poncedeleroy RE: Isonomist Jan 7, 2014 10:17 AM

                                                                      "But since Katrina, you can find restaurants in town that will put anything in a pot and call it gumbo."

                                                                      I am 58 years old and from Vermilion parish and have seen this all my life. This is NOT some abomination due to ignorance of true gumbo. Moreover, the potato salad is NOT part of the recipe for gumbo, so this is NOT putting anything in a pot and calling it gumbo. It's an accompaniment.

                                                                      1. re: poncedeleroy
                                                                        Isonomist RE: poncedeleroy Jan 7, 2014 06:39 PM

                                                                        Oh, didnt mean to cause offense, was teasing. Everyone has their cultural preference. We just have a lot of rules about gumbo.

                                                                    3. p
                                                                      poncedeleroy RE: MakingSense Jan 6, 2014 07:47 AM

                                                                      I understand that this is the reason: we don't put potato salad in gumbo to improve the taste of the gumbo. We put potato salad in gumbo to improve the taste of the potato salad. Therefore, when potato salad is served as a side, you can make it taste better by spooning a bit in the gumbo before you eat it.

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