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Everywhere I go I find a pal

Everywhere I go  I find a pal Everywhere I go  I find a pal

Peter Weinschenk, Editor, The Record-Review

Sometimes, you get a second chance. I say make the best of it.

I am doing precisely that when it comes to my signature chicken and sausage gumbo.

My adventure into gumbo cooking started with a trip taken with my son, Guthrie, to New Orleans. There, we sampled a few different kinds of gumbo from a variety of restaurants.

I took these models back with me to Wisconsin where I painstakingly created my own from-scratch gumbo recipe. I made sure I used only fresh okra. I made own home-smoked Andouille pork sausage for authentic flavors.

And I always thought my gumbo was pretty good stuff.

But it wasn’t. Not really. The gumbo’s roux was far too dark, overpowering the other flavors in the soup. I used too many spices, especially sage.

Luckily, I got a second chance to make things better.

Over the weekend, I decided not to make my standard gumbo, but something better. I wanted simpler, bolder flavors. I decided on a light brown roux. That was tough to do, actually. I have trained myself to keep stirring the roux pot until the oil and flour mixture is nearly black. But I really wanted a better gumbo. So I let go some old, hard fought habits and I pulled the roux off the flame just as it turned chestnut brown.

I cut way back on the spices. Instead of throwing in a lot, I tossed in a pinch. I edited the spice list down to the utter essentials. They are thyme, bay leaves, cayenne and pepper.

I did add a flavor that seems to have helped a lot. It is beer. I tossed the gumbo’s chopped onion, celery and green pepper (“the Trinity”) into the roux pot, mixing thoroughly. Then to make a gravy I added Shiner Bock beer, a flavorful dark beer. That was a good move. The beer added a nutty flavor to the gumbo broth.

The result of all of this tweaking was very good.

My new fashioned gumbo was lighter, less overpowering and you could taste the chunks of chicken, sausage and okra.

Life gave me a second chance on gumbo. I made the best I could of it.


I am in the early stages of fabricating a finger rest for my archtop guitar.

To date, I have the finger rest roughly sawed out from some jet black Gaboon ebony and thicknessed to nine sixty-fourths of an inch.

A next step will be to glue a paper finger rest pattern to the ebony and then use a spindler sander to shape the wood to perfection.

I took a long time getting this pattern just right. I used a French curve ruler as a guide to beef up my pencil lines.

This finger rest will be the final piece of the guitar to be constructed. The rest of the project involves assembly and finishing.

My guitar is far from completion. I can, however, see the end from here.