Curious, aren't you? You want to know, but are perhaps hesitant to ask. After all, who the hell has ever heard of Irish Gumbo?
I have. The name of the blog came to me after a lot of serious thinking, consideration, a few naps, plus one or two beers. Not all in the same day! I wanted something cool, innovative, that maybe described who or what I am (metaphorically, of course). I thought of some names I have been called over the years, like 'dipshit', 'blockhead', 'sensitive'. 'Chowderhead' even, but I didn't get that until I was in college. I like chowder, but still. None of those had the charm, the bling, the (dare I say?) 'elan' I was looking for. Consider this: 'www.dipshit.blogspot.com'. Catchy, but not exactly the image I was wanted to present.
Names are VERY important. Know anyone named Nimrod? Neither do I. Probably good reasons for that.
(Disclaimer: No offense intended to anyone out there who is actually named Nimrod. It's just not that common. Plus, it's all Biblical-like, and nowadays it has an association with words like 'dork'. If I do meet anyone named Nimrod, I will be sure to treat them with the dignity they deserve. At least until they show they really are a dork.)
So, whither 'Irish Gumbo'? The Irish part was easy. I have a fair amount of Irish blood in my lineage, plus my last name is Shea, and Guinness is my favorite malt beverage. Irish seemed a natch. The gumbo? That's a bit more complicated.
I am not Creole, Cajun, or from Louisiana. I didn't know from gumbo until a trip to New Orleans some years ago. I didn't even make the stuff for the first time until about six years ago. But once I did I fell in love with it. I owe a debt to Emeril Lagasse's 'Real and Rustic' cookbook (which I still have) for getting me started on the path. I have been tinkering with it ever since.
There a lots of ways to make a gumbo, and many folks never make it quite the same way twice. Start with a roux, most say, but from there who knows? Use andouille sausage or chicken or oysters or turkey or shrimp. Or all. Or some. Bell peppers/onions/celery (the Holy Trinity). Or some. You can use greens (gumbo z'herbes) if you don't want meat. In that case, probably not a roux either. Maybe okra or file powder. I use garlic sometimes. I've been known to throw in a pinch or two of smoked paprika on occasion - but I'm not a heretic! And you know what? Only once have I made a bad gumbo. And that's because I was in a hurry, and didn't take CARE of it. Aside from that, it's all good.
The point (and I do have one) is that everyone agrees that gumbo exists, even if hardly anyone can agree on exactly what goes in it. You take all sorts of good stuff, put it in a pot with the dark mystery that is roux and a few hours later - MMMMM, MMM! - there it is. All anyone knows is that 'Gumbo, c'est bon, c'est tout' (Gumbo, it's good - that's all there is to it). My apologies to Emeril, I hope I got that quote right.
So there I was, driving my daily commute on the Trail Of Boredom, and out of the blue it came to me: THY BLOG NAME SHALL BE 'IRISHGUMBO', YOU CHOWDERHEAD. The Voice was right. No refuting it.
The fact is, I don't know exactly what is in me. Some darkness, some light, some spice as well. I have hope that it's all good, and who knows? With a little time and attention, I just might turn out to be a mighty fine pot of gumbo. So good, ya hurt yaself!