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Filé powder

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Culinary Use:
Filé powder used in Louisiana Creole cuisine for gumbo
– Different varieties of gumbo in New Orleans and Cane River
Filé powder provides thickening and flavor to gumbo
Filé powder made from sassafras tree leaves and stems
Filé powder added after cooking vegetables and meats in gumbo

History and Etymology:
– Choctaw Native Americans first used sassafras leaves as seasoning
– French word “filé” means to become ropy
– “Gumbo” may come from the Central Bantu word “ki ngombo” for okra
– Okra was a common thickener in African soups in Louisiana
– Gumbo may have been adapted from West African soups and stews

Health Concerns:
– Safrole and sassafras oil banned by FDA as carcinogens
– Sassafras leaves used for filé do not contain detectable safrole
Filé powder considered safe for consumption in reasonable amounts

Cultural References:
– Filé gumbo mentioned in country songs by Hank Williams Sr. and Gene Watson
– Filé gumbo has cultural significance in Louisiana Creole cuisine

– Various books and articles provide historical and culinary insights on filé powder and gumbo

Filé powder (Wikipedia)

Filé powder, also called gumbo filé, is a spicy herb seasoning made from the dried and ground leaves of the North American sassafras tree (Sassafras albidum).

Z'herbes, including hot sauce and filé
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