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Gumbo Life

Nonfiction: Culinary
Unabridged   8.25 hour(s)
Publication date: 04/30/2019

Gumbo Life

Tales from the Roux Bayou

Available from major retailers or BUY FROM AMAZON
Audio CD ISBN:9781684418206
Digital Download ISBN:9781684418213


A sprightly, deeply personal narrative about how gumbo—for 250 years a Cajun and Creole secret—has become one of the world's most beloved dishes.

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Product Description

Ask any self-respecting Louisianan who makes the best gumbo and the answer is universal: "Momma." The product of a melting pot of culinary influences, gumbo, in fact, reflects the diversity of the people who cooked it up: French aristocrats, West Africans in bondage, Cajun refugees, German settlers, Native Americans—all had a hand in the pot. What is it about gumbo that continues to delight and nourish so many? And what explains its spread around the world?

A seasoned journalist, Ken Wells sleuths out the answers. His obsession goes back to his childhood in the Cajun bastion of Bayou Black. Back then, gumbo was a humble soup little known beyond the boundaries of Louisiana. So when a homesick young Ken, at college in Missouri, realized there wasn't a restaurant that could satisfy his gumbo cravings, he called his momma for the recipe. That phone-taught gumbo was a disaster. The second, cooked at his mother's side, fueled a lifelong quest to explore gumbo's roots and mysteries.

In Gumbo Life, you follow Wells as he watches octogenarian chefs turn the lowly coot into gourmet gumbo, joins a team at a hotly contested gumbo cook-off, and visits a factory that churns out gumbo by the ton. Brisk travelogue, riveting history, heart-felt memoir—this is a book to be savored like a simmering pot of gumbo.


“A piquant history of gumbo… This is required reading for gumbo aficionados and addicts, and those who aspire to be.” —Publishers Weekly

“Affectionate portrait of that favorite Cajun comfort food and the tradition from which it came. . . . [A] gently spun tale with a few recipes that foodies will want to test immediately. A tasty treat.” —Kirkus Reviews

“Wells has meticulously traced [gumbo’s] influences, and he has visited a host of eateries to find every sort of variation on gumbo, from the most high-toned French Quarter restaurants to the celebrated historic precincts of Leah Chase’s iconic diner. . . . Anyone fondly recalling gumbo in its myriad guises will find plenty to savor here.” —Booklist

Author Bio

Ken Wells covered car wrecks and gator sightings for his hometown weekly before leaving the bayous for a journalism career that included twenty-four years with the Wall Street Journal. He has written five novels of the Cajun bayous and lives in Chicago.