Granjan’s got great gumbo


Photo provided by Libby May

Janice May makes her famous gumbo soup dish. May dabs to celebrate her, yet again, delicious accomplishment.

Libby May, Reporter

Janice May makes her famous gumbo for her son’s birthday dinner. May dabs to celebrate.

Born in the 1800s, gumbo is seen at almost every restaurant in the energetic and vibrant city of New Orleans. This fragrant soup is a stew consisting primarily of a strongly-flavored stock, meat, a thickener, and what Louisianans call the “Holy Trinity” of vegetables: celery, bell peppers, and onions. But it is no match for Janice May, my idol and grandmother, who puts a funky and delicious twist on this Louisianan soup dish.
The first step is the broth. My grandmother adds cayenne pepper and lemon juice to it. Then, not only are chicken thighs and andouille sausage added, but she adds a ½ pound of shrimp to the mix. Bell peppers, celery, okra, white rice, and cayenne pepper contribute to the taste that makes it my favorite.
But it’s not just the soup. The atmosphere that my grandmother makes in her kitchen is comforting and home-y. Candles, polka dotted place mats, a bouquet of flowers, a floral table cloth, and an assortment of utensils dress the table. Scented candles fill the room with an apple-maple smell. A fire roars in the stone fire place in the room next to that striking table. As I walk through the door, my grandmother welcomes my sisters and me with a “Hi Hon” or a “Hey, Toots”. These greetings, despite what Chloe Parker (’20) may say about relationship nicknames (see Hey baby, how you doin’?), is always the best thing to hear after a long day of hard work.
Go Grandma. Keep doing you.