January 29, 2014 10:02:30 AM
Jan Swoope - [email protected]
With only four days to go until Super Bowl XLVIII, football fans are making final picks -- for game day eats, that is. In Paulette and Jimmy Garton's Columbus home, the choice is often green gumbo, a hearty dish starring turnip greens. Paulette got the recipe from her mother, who lives on the Gulf Coast. Her parent got it from a Louisianian, Paulette said, which makes sense: Green gumbo -- or gumbo z'herbes -- is a Lenten tradition in the Bayou State. It can be made with smoked sausage or ham hock. Or leave the meat out and make it vegetarian. But not in the Garton's kitchen, please. Paulette's recipe calls for a pound of smoked sausage, along with bacon, potato, onion, beef broth and white beans with jalapenos. And turnips.
"I wasn't a turnip eater growing up," Paulette admitted. It took Norfleet Reichle to make a believer out of her. "He had a huge cauldron, and he cooked up greens out in the Prairie by the gallons, at Fleets Eats," she said, referring to the iconic eatery, now long gone, where Reichle grew most of his own greens and served them up homestyle. "I learned to love them; his were just delicious."
Her green gumbo recipe is now a family staple, one that hits the spot for Jimmy after a cold day out hunting. One all three of the couple's children, now grown and living away, have called home for.
"The potato, when you grate it up, is really what makes it a gumbo," said the cook, who kicks her dish up a notch by adding extra jalapenos, a personal preference. The gumbo is even better when the flavors marry after sitting for a day or so, she added.
Paulette's comfort in the kitchen isn't an accident. She grew up with eight siblings and learned more than a few things from her mother.
"She had to cook for nine children; she was so organized she would make a menu for two weeks and post it on a bulletin board."
Paulette did, however, eventually have to adjust her concept of quantities. "It was funny, because when I first got married, I cooked huge pots of things that would just sit in the refrigerator because they were so much," she chuckled. "I finally realized there were two of us, and there had been 11."
More food picks
A call out on Facebook produced other suggestions for game day food. Carolyn Pope of Columbus sent a recipe for glazed crackers. Former Columbian Carol Mabry Thorn passed on instructions for hot artichoke dip. Dispatch reporter Sarah Fowler shared her recipe for white rotel dip, which the newsroom can wholeheartedly vouch for. Likewise for Dispatch Advertising Director Beth Proffitt's onion souffle dip.
Cookies, Etc. baker extraordinaire Diane Earwood of Columbus posted a simple idea she came across for string cheese appetizers: Chop string cheese into bite-sized pieces, freeze them in a ziplock freezer bag, then dip frozen bites in milk and bread crumbs. Bake at 425 F for eight to 10 minutes, and serve them up with marinara sauce.
Jim Beaty at Backstage Music in Starkville prefers "meat candy." "Cocktail wieners wrapped in bacon. Bake until you think it's done, then roll in brown sugar. Winner!"
Jan Ballard, Columbus Municipal School District School Board clerk, likes a big pot of homemade chili with sharp cheddar cheese sprinkled on top, served with cornbread.
Former Columbian Bill Young, living now in Tuscaloosa, Ala., had an adventure to relive about inadvertently ingesting cat food, but that's a story for another day.
A couple of people checked in from far afield. Former Columbian Mike Carroll is a professor with Universidad Salazar in Chiapas, in southern Mexico. He and his grandson watch the Super Bowl together, fortified by nachos in Velveeta cheese with chilies in it.
And John Janssens sent greetings from Victoria, Australia. John married a Columbus girl, Tina Reid, long ago. John's suggestion for a game day spread consists of beef burgers, lamb chops and sausages, with bread and salad, beer and wine. "That's an outdoors meal," said John, "but that includes the flies." (The Aussie salute, remember, is waving one's hand in front of the face at regular intervals to shoo away Australia's infamous bush flies.)
No flies expected in Mississippi, thankfully, when the Denver Broncos and Seattle Seahawks kick off on the Fox network at 5:30 p.m. Central Time Sunday. Enjoy the day, eat well -- and Go, Broncos.
PAULETTE GARTON'S GREEN GUMBO
4-5 strips bacon, chopped
1 onion, chopped
2 cans beef broth
2 cans turnips with roots
2 cans white beans with jalapenos
1 pound smoked sausage, cut into bite-sized pieces
1 potato, grated
This can also be put in a crock pot and cooked several hours on a low heat. Serve with cornbread or French bread. A hearty meal for a cold night.
(Source: Paulette Bernheim Garton, Columbus)
CAROLYN POPE'S GLAZED CRACKERS
1/2 cup salted butter
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup chopped pecans
2 sleeves Ritz Crackers
(Source: Carolyn Wood Pope, Columbus)
CAROL MABRY THORN'S HOT ARTICHOKE DIP
1 cup sour cream
1 cup mayonnaise
1 cup Parmesan cheese
1 small onion, minced
1 can artichoke hearts
(Source: Carol Mabry Thorn, formerly of Columbus, now living in Deatsville, Ala.)
SARAH FOWLER'S WHITE ROTEL DIP
1 package sausage
1 can Rotel (mild or hot, depending on preference)
2 packages Philadelphia cream cheese
Dash of red pepper flakes
(Source: Sarah Fowler, Columbus)
BETH PROFFITT'S ONION SOUFFLE DIP
6 8-ounce blocks cream cheese
1 cup mayonnaise
1 16-ounce container Parmesan cheese
Cayenne pepper, to taste (about 1 teaspoon)
2 large yellow onions, chopped
(Source: Beth Proffitt, Columbus)
Jan Swoope is the Lifestyles Editor for The Commercial Dispatch.