True Blood: Gumbo Ya Ya & Corn Bread of Life

A review of Gumbo Ya Ya & Corn Bread of Life from the True Blood Cookbook.

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Gumbo Ya Ya by Lafayette Reynolds

20180122_083246First, let me start by saying, I have never made Gumbo before.

Second, I have never made roux before.

Third, I’m pretty sure I messed up the roux on this one, which means I messed up the Gumbo.

The recipe said to cook the flour and vegetable oil over medium heat for 25-30 minutes, stirring constantly, until the roux is dark brown.  And that’s what I did.

But the roux looked pretty dark brown to me after only about 12 minutes, and by 20 minutes it started smelling like burnt popcorn and looked really dark brown.  So I moved on to the next step at 20 minutes, instead of waiting 25-30, but even so… I’m pretty sure I overcooked it.  The end result looked way darker than the photo in the book.

And that hot oil and flour mixture is no joke!  I sprayed myself once with it and immediately got a bubbling-up burn on my finger.  Be careful when stirring!

This is another one of those recipes where they ask you to cut up a whole chicken instead of using chicken parts.  I took the easy route and bought pre-cut chicken instead of cutting up a chicken myself, but if you were up for it that would be the cheaper way to go.

This recipe took hours to make, though for much of that time it was simply simmering over the stove.  But by the time it was done, the meat was literally falling off the bone (yum!).  And so was the skin (yuck…not for me, thanks).

My husband is a big fan of Gumbo and loved it, but I would pass on this one.


Taste: 5/10

The roux was done long before the 25-30 minutes they stated in the recipe, so it was overcooked.  This, of course, affected the taste of the Gumbo.  Aside from the mild burnt flavor, it was only okay.  The Andouille sausage was probably the best part.

Difficulty: Average

The recipe was mostly challenging at the beginning – you need to constantly stir and monitor the roux.  It also calls for cutting up a whole chicken, which could be tricky.  After that, though, it was pretty simple: add items to pot, and let simmer.

Cost: Average20180121_122056

The Gumbo requires both chicken and sausage.  I bought pre-cut chicken, so my cost was a bit more than if you were to follow the instructions and cut up a whole chicken yourself.


Watch the roux closely, and check out pictures online ahead of time so you know what color it’s actually supposed to be!  Personally I would cook the chicken without the skin, but that’s up to you!

Corn Bread of Life by Lafayette Reynolds

I figured Lafayette’s corn bread would be a nice addition to the Gumbo.  The recipe was actually a lot simpler than I thought it would be!

Same as the Gumbo, though, the corn bread seemed to cook a faster than the recipe called for.  Instead of 45 minutes, I pulled it out at around 40 minutes.  It was a bit dry, and the bottom a bit burnt…but the taste was pretty good anyway.20180121_122451

This one was also husband-approved, and though I didn’t love this attempt, I would try making this one again.  Next time I’d monitor it a lot more closely!

Taste: 7/10

The cornbread was dry and the bottom was burnt, but it still tasted good.  If I had monitored the corn bread more closely and pulled it out from the oven earlier, it probably would’ve turned out great.

Difficulty: Easy

Nothing challenging about this one.  Mix everything in a bowl, pour into a skillet, cook for a couple of minutes, and then pop in the oven.

20180121_122530Cost: Cheap

It was mostly made of ingredients that people already have in their fridge and pantry, like flour, milk, egg, etc.


Keep a close eye on the corn bread, both on the stove and in the oven, to make sure it doesn’t come out too dry.

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