Last night for dinner, I made gumbo. My husband is usually the one who makes it. But since he’s working and living in a neighboring city during the week, it was up to me.
The hardest part of making a good gumbo is the roux. It’s the flour and oil mixture that not only thickens the gumbo, but also gives it a nutty, rich flavor. The trickiest part is cooking it until it’s dark brown, but stopping before it burns.
So as I started making the roux, I thought back to the last time I made gumbo. It was okay, but not as good as my husband’s. I didn’t cook the roux long enough. So this time I wanted to make sure I didn’t stop before it was ready.
I wondered why this seemed so easy for my husband. Yes, he’s made it many times before, but there’s something more. He’s willing to fail. He’s willing to keep cooking the roux until it becomes dark brown even if that means burning it and starting over. His philosophy, it’s just flour and oil; he can try again.
The first time I made gumbo, I wasn’t willing to fail. I was so worried about living up to my husband’s gumbo that I became too cautious and quit before it was ready. It turned out okay, but it could have been better.
As I stirred the roux, I wondered in what other areas have I been too cautious. Where else have I played it safe? Truthfully, a lot of places. I don’t like to fail. (I don’t know many people who do.) I like to play it safe. I’m not fond of taking big risks.
Playing it safe has been okay. But what if I want better? What if I want great? Am I willing to risk burning a little flour in the process?
I’ll let you know…