the gumbo pages main page
creole & cajun recipe page
(weblog, updated (almost) daily)

Mar 28, 2011.

Pre-WordPress Looka! Archives FIXED!
The sale and subsequent breakage of the off-site Haloscan comment system made my archived pre-WordPress weblog pages look absolutely horrible (an addition to wiping out several years' worth of my readers' archived comments). There was an embedded Javascript tag after every single post to allow comments, and at first I thought I'd have to manually edit every one of those out in order to make the service's new owners' horribly big and ugly comment boxes go away. I did it a few times and it was a huge pain in the ass. Then today I realized that all I needed to do was delete ONE line of Javascript code in the header of each month's archive. I then managed to fix the whole thing in about five minutes. Sigh. Oh well, better late than never.

Consequently you can now once again easily browse the old archives (scroll down past the WordPress archive to the bottom); there's a lot of stuff in there! (3/28/2011)
Newly redesigned Amazon Store!
Jeez, that hoary old page of Amazon links is now thankfully long-dead (and was about a dozen years out of date). We now have a new, spiffy Gumbo Pages Store powered by Amazon, in which you can get cocktail books, bar tools (coming soon) and books on New Orleans food, music and culture. Shop away! (6/30/2010)
HUGE feckin' front page redesign!
I've gotten a few emails from people over the last week that helped hammer home the realization that parts of this Gargantuan site (1,500+ pages) haven't been updated in close to 10 years.

I had old lists of links from the '90s ('member when everyone's "home page" had their list of links?), and all kinds of crap that was just moribund, so I got rid of it. The front page of the site is now shorter, cleaner, more streamlined and should load in a jiffy, especially on mobile phones. (And if you add me to your iPhone home screen, you get a custom button!) Sometime soon I'll put up a museum page of all the old link rot-filled pages. There are still a few intersting things in there, along with hundreds of dead links to nonexistent sites.

So, long time coming, and I still might tweak it some more. Lemme know what you think. (1/9/2009)
Smothered Cabbage recipe added
Happy New Year! Good lord, I'm actually updating this page again. Don't have a hawt attack 'r nothin'.

I've added my recipe for a traditional New Year's Day dish. By tradition, on New Year's Day you have to have Blackeyed Peas for luck and Smothered Cabbage for money, respectively, during the coming year. I've had a recipe for peas up for ages, but not for my cabbage dish which, I must modestl mention, is INSANELY good. (1/1/2009)

Creole breakfast cocktail recipes added.
Recipes for the Absinthe Suissesse and the classic Brandy (or Bourbon) Milk Punch are now up for your enjoyment. Good lord, I actually updated this page TWICE in one month, rather than twice in two years! What's up with that?! (9/19/08)

"Down Home" radio show cancelled.
Jeez ... has it really been 2-1/2 years since I updated this page? I swear, this site's so big I just can't keep up with it all. Anyway ... KCSN cancelled my radio show of 10 years, "Down Home," on September 2, 2008, along with the station's entire lineup of Monday through Friday evening shows and DJs, only to replace them with nearly 12 hours of automation in the "AAA" format. The show's web page has been edited to reflect that, and links to the station and mentions of my involvement have been updated thusly. Thanks a million to everyone who listened for the past 10 years -- you made it tons of fun for me, and I hope you enjoyed the music. (9/3/08)

Fabulous new dessert recipe added.
This one's long overdue; I've had it in my files for over four years and I'm only just now getting it up on the site (well, that's fairly typical, isn't it?).

The recipe is for Semolina Soufflé Cake with Pistachio Crème Anglaise and Tart Cherry-Pinot Noir Syrup, by Chef Susan Spicer of Bayona in the French Quarter. It's an astoundingly good dessert, but requires a bit of advance preparation. It's worth it, believe me. Your guests will fall to their knees and worship you. (1/23/06)

Shop New Orleans!
In the December '05 edition of Looka! I had a list of links to New Orleans businesses where you could do your Christmas shopping online. That way you could really help the city, whose local businesses badly need revenue, while getting lots of neat stuff for yourself. I decided to make this a permanent fixture of the site, and now the list of links to New Orleans online shopping has its own page.

There's tons of unique music, art, food, jewelry, clothing, gifts and much more, so help the city by shopping there, feel good about helping out and earn many cosmic karma points. Thanks! (1/3/06)

Oh my GAWD! He updated this page!
Yeah, well. First update to the "What's New" page in four years, four months and six days. I ain't da Gawd Emperor o' Procrastination fo' nothin', so don't go havin' no hawt attack.

So what is new? Well, probably lots of stuff over the last four years that I didn't manage to add in here, but probably the biggest thing is the addition of a Flickr account to display my photographs, both new and old. I hope to be doing a lot of work with that in the coming months and years.

Okay, that's enough for now. I wouldn't want to wear you out. (12/1/05)

Oodles of amazing new recipes!
I've been busy as hell lately.

My friend Sarah Savoy of Eunice, Louisiana was kind enough to send me a whole pile of great Cajun recipes, most of which originated with her father, acclaimed Cajun accordionist and accordion-maker Marc Savoy. She had come across my site and was enjoying it, but couldn't resist a little chide for the boy from La Ville:  "It's cool that you have all these New Orleans recipes, but what about Lafayette? These are all much more fancy-fancy, artsy Creole dishes. Want some Cajun ones?" YES!

Enjoy Marc's delicious, simple, Cajun-style recipes for gumbo, jambalaya, crawfish étouffée, chicken sauce piquante, barbecue sauce, and the astonishing page on catfish courtbouillion, which includes tons of history and great Cajun folklore to boot.

I've also added a few more quintessentially New Orleans recipes, both of which are from our beloved Creole-Italian tradition. Generations of New Orleanians past and locals to this day love their "red gravy", and although it's disappeared from local menus in the last 15 years or so, locals still ask for our New Orleans-style Italian salad, very politically incorrectly called "Wop Salad".

Oh, I nearly forgot. A while back I added a couple of long-requested crab recipes, both in the appetizers section: crabmeat Maison and Louisiana crab cakes. And you can end your meal with the mortally sinful indulgence of Chocolate Brandy Bread Pudding. (7/25/01)

Best Records of 2000.
What the hell, it's only 2.5 months late.

Once again I get into compulsive listmaking mode and attempt to come up with a compendium of my favorite album release of last year. I've had it finished for a while, I must confess, but didn't get it HTMLified until recently and still haven't finished the capsule reviews. Oh well. It's still useful if you trust my offbeat taste in music and are looking for some recommendations for albums you might enjoy.

Buy swag!
Begun well in time to have taken advantage of the 2000 Christmas season but (of course, I being me) only unveiled in March ... The Gumbo Pages Swag Shop!

T-shirts, long-sleeve T-shirts, large and small mugs (which are really cool) and mousepads are among the current offers. The swag features The Gumbo Pages logo (little version at the upper right corner of this page, big version here, and the story behind it. The shirts feature the logo with the site's URL on the back, and the mug and mousepad designs also include a classic New Orleanian expression. If I ever have time, I'll try to design a few more. (Probable impediments to this -- I suck at Photoshop, and I'm not a designer. The best thing I ever designed was that logo, and I couldn't even execute it -- my friend Chris, a Photoshop expert, actually did the work. Any talented designer wanna volunteer to do some designing for me?)

So buy, enjoy, and you can feel that you've also done a good deed since the two or three bucks I make from each purchase will help me pay my server bills. Hey, all I need is to sell about 12 products a month to get this site for free! (3/1/2001)

Muffuletta lovers rejoice!
For ages the Number One most-requseted recipe was for the Olive Salad that goes on New Orleans' beloved Muffuletta sandwich. Thanks to a contribution by Chiqui Collier, I've finally got one that looks pretty authentic. Give it a shot. (1/21/01)

New recipes!
Yeah yeah yeah, I know, it's about time. Those who fuss at me for not adding recipes more often are welcome to pay me to do this site full-time!

These oughta go pretty well together, I think -- we have one of my favorite dishes in the city of New Orleans, Shrimp Uggie from Uglesich's Restaurant, and my mom's fabulous Bananas Foster Bread Pudding, which is served with not one but two sauces, a custard sauce and a brown sugar/rum/banana sauce. Yum yum yum! (1/8/2001)

Drink! Drink! Drink!
I've added a new drink recipe to the Creole and Cajun Recipe Page. I suppose I can say it's a drink of my own creation, even though it's basically a gin and tonic, slightly souped up. It's an absolutely lovely drink, though ... and I think the final key ingredient makes it a very New Orleanian take on a gin and tonic. I call it The St. Charles. (6/13/00)

New recipe!
During my last trip back home I managed to lay my hands on the recipe for the fabulous Cream of Garlic Soup served by Chef Susan Spicer at her outstanding restauant Bayona, one of my very favorites in the city. The recipe is simple, the results elegant and sophisticated (and garlicky as all heck-ola). Enjoy! (5/23/00)

staccato purr of the exhaust
"Purr" is an independent feature film by Luis M. Meza (a schoolmate, former roomate and one of my oldest and best friends) which debuted at the Sundance Film Festival and won the grand jury award at the Florida Film Festival. It's a quietly hilarious tale of a twentysomething Mexican-American slacker who's increasingly miserable, tells off his family and friends and sets off for a better life in Texas, only to have forces beyond his control foil his every attempt to leave his neighborhood. Luis has since been nominated for a Rockefeller grant and has been named one of "ten directors to watch" by Daily Variety.

Luie was going to put his page up on Tripod, but at the very thought of the *pop*pop*pop* of those damned pop-up ad windows I repeated one of my mottoes:  "Friends don't let friends put web sites up on Tripod or GeoCities!" Hence we bring you ... http://staccatopurr.gumbo.org! (4/1/00)

Another another new recipe.
Gumbo Pages contributor Greg Beron sente in a fine recipe for Sweet Potato Cheesecake that's similar to one that was once served at the House of Blues, but alas is served no more. It's yummy, though. Try it. (3/28/00)

Another new recipe.
The other day I watched Gail Uglesich of Uglesich's Restaurant prepare her Oyster Shooters appetizer for Martha Stewart. Gail was kind enough to give amounts for her ingredients, which I dutifully wrote down and can now share with you in case you didn't see "Martha Stewart Living" last Wednesday. I don't watch Martha usually, but I got a call that morning warning me she'd be going to Morning Call and Uglesich's. Martha knows a lot about food, but all that doily stuff drives me up the wall. (2/28/00)

New recipes!
Herbsaint-Poached Oyster Soup from Martinique Bistro; Duck, Cashew Butter and Pepper Jelly Sandwiches with Apple-Celery Salad, and Crawfish Curry with Mango Chutney from Bayona. I've also added a separate and long-overdue section for sandwiches. (1/20/00)

The "Best Records of 1999" list is up!
I actually managed not to procrastinate too badly this year, getting my picks for the best music releases of 1999 up by the third. Not bad, eh? (I even had them done by Jan. 1, for my "Best of" retrospective on the first "Down Home" of the double-oughts.)

Of course, it wouldn't be me if it were completely finished -- I'm not done writing all the reviews yet, and I'll need another week or so to get the reissues and honorable mentions up. But check out the top "15" (which includes three ties, so it's really 18) and catch up on some brilliant music you may have missed in '99. (1/3/00)

New drink recipes for pastis lovers.
A bartender named Mike Van Bibber sent me a fascinating letter about how absinthe drinking is prohibited among U.S. military personnel, and forwarded a big list of absinthe cocktail recipes. Yes, where it's legal, civilized people put anywhere from 1/4 teaspoon to 1.5 ounces of the mysterious and mostly-banned beverage into cocktails ... not to get high, but to take advantage of an unusual and intersting-tasting drink. The modern-day descendents of absinthe -- stuff like Pernod and Herbsaint, which have the flavor minus the narcotic -- work very well in these very interesting-looking cocktail recipes. A votre santé! (1/3/00)

New recipes for Holiday 1999
Here are two terrific new dishes I served on Thanksgiving 1999: Stuff your turkey or use as a side-dish dressing my Cornbread, Andouille and Celery Root Dressing, and for my favorite version yet of one of my favorite combinations, serve Baked Spiced Sweet Potatoes and Pears in a Bourbon Cane Syrup Glaze. Both were big hits on my holiday table this year. (11/26/99)

New recipe: Peanut Butter Pie
My sister Melissa Willmon sent me this fabulous recipe. Try substituting chocolate-flavored peanut butter or Nutella for half of the amount of peanut butter called for in the recipe. Thanks, dawlin'! (11/17/99)

Our new search engine.
I've never been terribly pleased with the Glimpse search engine provided by our webhost, but I came across a new free search engine that I think'll be much better for y'all -- The Webinator, by Thunderstone. Give it a try by hitting the search form link on every page, or the search box on the home page. You'll like it, I bet.

Oh yeah ... I've added a search box for this engine to the home page, so you can start searching right off. Maybe this'll help put an end to people asking me to email things to them that they can find right there on the site if they just spend two minutes looking for it. (Ahem.)

Also, in today's Looka! I've left out any links in lieu of a small but impassioned rant directed at television "journalists". (11/4/99)

Why I can't stand AOL.
The heading is self-explanatory. Grrrr. (10/11/99)

The Krueg reviews The Boss.
My pal Tom Krueger offers us an excellent review of the recent Bruce Springsteen concert in Chicago. (9/29/99)

Recommended records list updated!
Yes, I know this isn't supposed to be a big announcement, but since once again I haven't updated it in three months, I thought I'd call it to your attention. Lots of great stuff! (8/26/99)

The Gumbo Pages blocked by SurfWatch
The Gumbo Pages has been blocked by the SurfWatch Internet censorware, and is listed as being "sexually explicit". If y'all can find anything sexually explicit on my site, please let me know. I seem to have missed that part, and I could use a cheap thrill. I know I said that the White Chocolate Bread Pudding is (almost) better than sex, but really... (7/26/99)

ICQ me
You can now tell if I'm online and reachable via ICQ by looking at this pretty little flower icon underneath the logo on the home page ...

If it's green, I'm online. If it's red, I'm away. Isn't that nifty? It does it all by itself. Woo, technology ... lemme tell ya. I'll probably put one on Looka! as well. Credit-where-credit-is-due department: I stole the idea from Jack Saturn, who has one on his site. (7/25/99)

A site map.   Oy.
In response to some requests, I added a site map for The Gumbo Pages. It's not entirely complete, but it's mostly there, and I'll try to keep it up to date. And yes, it was mostly generated by software, thank Gawd. (7/23/99)

Another new pic; self-indulgent but cool
If you (and I) can get past the appalling self-indulgence of putting pictures of myself up on the web, I have to admit that I think this pic, of me in my blue seersucker suit, looks purty darn cool. (7/21/99)

Add this site to My Netscape    The Gumbo Pages is now a My Netscape channel
I got the idea to do this from Robert, the guy who runs the Bump weblog, as a possible way to increase site traffic. All you have to do is click the above, and my chosen links and updates will be available on your My Netscape page, if you use that as your portal or browser home page. I'm not thrilled about people accessing my site from this, 'cause if you do Netscape puts a Netscape navigation frame around my content, which annoys me. Please write to me and let me know if you use this. (7/18/99)

"Blog" is a new buzzword, as weblogs have become pretty popular of late. Several months ago, without knowing how or where I came from, I surfed into a couple of neat weblogs (BradLands and CamWorld, plus others), and found them inspirational. They got me to take this huge batch of interesting articles and links I bookmark daily, mail to friends occasionally and usually never find time to get back to, and put 'em up on the web into sort of a semi-daily log/journal. I launched it a few days ago, entitled it "Looka!" (Yat speakers and Yatspeak scholars know what that means), and I've been having fun with it. I hope you do too. I'll try to update it daily (even twice or thrice daily if warranted) if I have time and if I'm in town and not swamped with work. (7/9/99)

Slightly new look for the home page and recipe page
As if you haven't already noticed ... I shifted the logo over and reduced some wasted space, moved the quick jump links over, and added a prominent update date. I'll try to add something every day if I can, even if it's just a cool link. (7/5/99)

Andouillette.   Ick.
An article about why I hate tripe.   (6/28/99)

A new picture of myself
Good God, how vain can you get? I do like this pic a lot, though. Thanks to my friend Gregory Nussbaum for sending it to me!

Recommended Records list FINALLY UPDATED!
Well, this shouldn't normally warrant a "What's New" entry, but I hadn't updated the damned thing since September of 1998, so ... as of March 1999, there's a new list! They're all great, so get as many of 'em as you can. I promise to do this monthly from now on.

The Gumbo Pages/"Down Home" Best Records of 1998
Sorry it took a couple of weeks, but here's the list of what I thought were the best albums of the year -- the Top "15", plus about 40 runners-up and the best reissues as well. They're almost all linked to CDnow so that you can buy them with a click, and help out The Gumbo Pages while you're doing it.

I really hadn't been paying attention. But from what I can figure, sometime during the week of October 12, the total number of visits to the Gumbo Pages' Home Page and the Creole and Cajun Recipe Page's front page exceeded one million visits.


I had just had half a million hits for the Recipe Page back in May, and that went up to 500,000 this week, followed by the main home page going over 400,000. You do the math. Yeah, I know the goddamned Beanie Babies site has a billion and a half hits. The hell with them. This is my site and I got a million hits to my front pages and that's cool. Thanks, y'all!

Chuck's Antique Radio Collection
I've been fascinated with radio since I was a kid, and for the last 15 years or so I've really wanted to collect antique radios. I had a meager collection of two -- a 1951 Philco clock-radio and a 1963 Telefunken push-button model that was my Dad's. But recently I began taking great strides at building a really wonderful collection, so, of course, I've gotta talk about it on here. Have a look at what radios looked like when they looked good, and not like the plain black boxes of today. Here's my modest collection of five, plus links to articles about and pictures of many, many more.

Rick Cornell joins The Gumbo Pages as writer/contributor
My friend Rick Cornell, who lives in North Carolina, is a fine writer and an observer of the alternative-country music scene. He's done a fair bit of writing about it, and has kindly offered to send me several of his articles for your perusal, enlightenment and enjoyment. You can read Rick's work on my alt.country.whatever page.

"Down Home" debuts!
My new radio program, "Down Home", featuring American roots music, debuted on KCSN, 88.5 FM, Northridge/Los Angeles on Sunday, May 17, 1998. Check it out, read my playlists, and if you're within our broadcast range ... LISTEN! (5/18/98)

The Creole and Cajun Recipe Page reaches half a million hits
On Thursday, April 30, the counter on The Creole and Cajun Recipe Page turned over 500,000 visitors since January 1, 1995. WOOHOO! Unfortunately, I don't know the actual 500,000th visitor, otherwise I could give him or her a fabulous prize. Then again, it's good I don't know, because right now I can't afford to give him or her a fabulous prize.

I was really proud of this landmark, until the next day ... when I heard on NPR that the Beanie Babies web site has received 1.5 billion (that's billion with a "B") hits in far less time. That's humbling. I didn't even know what a goddamned Beanie Baby was until that day. (Note the conspicuous absence of a hypertext link at their mention -- they don't need any help from the likes of me to reach 2 billion ... pfeh).

"Gumbo" radio gets the ax.
KCRW management has chosen to discontinue carrying my radio program. To say that this is an unfortunate decision would be quite an understatement, I think. There is now no outlet whatsoever for roots and traditional music at that station (with the possible exception of Tom Schnabel's "Café L.A."). So much for 10 years of service. We'll just have to see where else a good music programmer can find work. (3/31/98)

Buy Uncle Tupelo, Wilco and Son Volt CDs directly from their respective pages!
This was a no-brainer. I have no idea why I didn't think of it before. Besides my other links to cdnow.com around the site, I've added links that make it simple and fast to buy all these bands' CDs directly from the pages I've put up for them on this site. Buy lots! They make great gifts! And proceeds help fund the quite considerable maintenance and upkeep that this site requires.

New logo, new look!
Version 1 of our new logo is up! I've been working on this design for a while, and after much effort (particularly on the part of my roomie Chris Gaal, who did an amazing job scanning and Photoshopping it all), it's finally up. I'm hoping to add a nice, snazzy 3-D rendering of our beloved gumbo bowl with musical smoke sometime later on. Follow the link above and read about where the idea for the logo came from and how it came to be.

I'm also beginning to work on a new layout for the homepage, adding a splash of color here and there, and I'm considering changing the overall design. Don't worry, it'll still be easy to navigate and will be Lynx-friendly, but damn, it looked pretty plain for a long time, and I think it needs some sprucing. Tell me what you think so far!

Festival Tours International joins The Gumbo Pages!
Nancy Covey's terrific company, Festival Tours, has been running music-related tours for years. She booked concerts at McCabe's Guitar Shop in Santa Monica for years and is married to Richard Thompson, and has lots of wonderful personal connections in the world of roots music. Her tours, ranging from Louisiana to Britain to Zimbabwe to Russia and Georgia, never feel like tours. You visit musicians at their homes, eat with them, jam with them, listen to them play for you. I'm from Louisiana, and I love her tour to Jazzfest.

We're now hosting a page for Festival Tours, and are currently spotlighting their marvelous tour to The New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, to Festival Internationale de Louisiane in Lafayette, and the highlight ... the Cajun Country Tour, which includes a private crawfish boil at the Eunice, La. home of Marc and Ann Savoy, and lunch under the green oak tree at D. L. Menard's home and chair factory in Erath. It doesn't get any more real than this unless you're a native or a neighbor, so check it out! Dates for the upcoming England/Scotland/Fairport Reunion trip are August 8-22, 1999, and the next Jazzfest dates are April 28 - May 5, 2000.

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Chuck Taggart   (e-mail chuck)