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1/2 dozen hard-shell crabs 2 stalks celery

1 pound shrimp 1 onion

2 dozen oysters 2 pods garlic

1 green pepper Thyme, bay leaf, and parsley

Salt, black pepper, and cayenne to taste.

Scald the crabs, clean, and cut in quarters. Make a roux by browning a kitchenspoonful of flour in the same amount of hot lard. Add the sliced onion and brown. Put in the crabs and shrimp, cover, and cook about fifteen minutes. Add the other seasonings, chopped, and two quarts of warm water. Cover and cook on a slow fire about two hours. Fifteen minutes before serving add the oysters and their liquor. Just before serving turn off the fire and add a tablespoon of file. Pour into a tureen and serve with boiled rice. Never cook the file, as it will become very stringy. Okra may be used in place of the file, but it is cooked with the gumbo. The basic recipe is the same, but chicken, veal, and ham or a combination of veal and a hambone can be substituted for the crabs and shrimp. After Thanksgiving and Christmas the left-over turkey may be made into a gumbo with oysters. A deep iron pot is preferable for making gumbo.

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