Southern Gumbo Fela

Take an onion and cut it up fine; let it fry a light brown in 2 tablespoons hot lard; dust in 2 tablespoons of flour and stir all the time to keep from burning, and in a few minutes it will be brown. Pour in boiling water as much as will serve the family, allowing for boiling down. Have a nice fat chicken cut up; put in the pot and boil until tender. Take 50 oysters from the liquor, and strain to remove all pieces of shell; put the liquor in a stewpan, let it boil up once, then skim and put the liquor in the pot, and season with salt, black and red pepper, also a small piece of garlic; after letting it boil 15 minutes, add the oysters; take 2 tablespoons of fela and dust in, stirring all the time. As soon as it boils once, it is ready to serve. Always serve with boiled rice.


Fela is prepared by the Southern Indians, and is simply the young leaves of the sassafras, dried in the shade and pulverized with a few leaves of the sweet bay. In the summer, young okra pods are used in place of fela.

Kentucky Gumbo Soup

William H. Rochester, Bowling Green, Kentucky.

Six squirrels or 2 chickens. Cut up small and cook till the flesh falls from the bones. Then take a handful of sassafras buds for a gallon of soup, either green or dried (put in a bag in the soup), and 1 quart of okra, 2 onions, cut fine, 6 large Irish potatoes cut in dice, a grated carrot, and a little cabbage. Pepper and salt to taste. When done, take out the sassafras bag and remove the buds and squeeze the bag. Use a pod of red pepper. Thicken with scorched flour.

Mississippi Gumbo Soup

Mrs. J. R. Jackson, Centerville, Miss.

First fry a large tender chicken very brown; then remove on a dish and fry a quart of sliced okra in the gravy. Add this to the chicken, but do not add the grease. Put the chicken and okra in a tin or porcelain vessel of cold water. Add a pint of peeled tomatoes sliced, one large silver-skin onion, a few chips of canvassed ham, and salt to taste. Cook slowly for an hour, then add 1 dozen soda crackers, 1 large tablespoon of butter, and a teaspoon of black pepper, Never boil pepper in soup. To make it more palatable and very rich, add half a dozen hard-boiled eggs.