Kids' Lunch on the Bayou

October 30, 2015

Lunch with my boys takes on many different meanings. On Sunday it's “supper”—deliberate, homey, and substantive south Louisiana meals not very different than those that I was reared on. 

John's real-life gumbo (left) versus the shot in his new book (right).

Saturday's lunches are often more or less utilitarian in nature, too often consumed on the go between sporting events, often a po' boy will suffice, and weekday lunches are normally fun rifts on sandwiches and wraps packed up in brown bags with Satsumas, a cookie, and some chips of sort. I'm an early morning guy who loves to wake in those predawn hours to prepare a warm breakfast for the boys, pack their lunches, and start dinner before heading out to the restaurants for the day. 

My mission in regards to those Sunday suppers is to nourish my sons on those slow-cooked, soul-warming dishes that the bayou country is identified with. I want the little fellows to know who they are by the foods they eat, the same ones that informed my palate, just down the very same bayou, decades ago. 

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It's our gumbos, étoufées, jambalayas, and daubes that moved me both then as boy and now as a father. 

This is a beautiful pot of chicken and sausage gumbo that my boys requested along with potato salad, cornbread, and rice. It's the food that I've written about in Besh Big Easy and a perfect dish for a cool fall afternoon.

Photos by John Besh, top left, and Maura McEvoy and Andrews McMeel Publishing, top right, and Mark Weinberg, bottom

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John Besh is a chef and native son dedicated to the culinary riches of southern Louisiana. In his twelve restaurants, entrepreneurial pursuits, and public activities, he aims to preserve ingredients, techniques, and heritage. Besh's cookbooks, My New Orleans and My Family Table, were each recognized with an IACP Award. His third cookbook, Cooking From The Heart, was published in fall 2013 and his latest cookbook, Besh Big Easy, was released on September 29, 2015. He hosts two national public television cooking shows based on the books. The John Besh Foundation works to preserve New Orleans’ culinary heritage via initiatives such as the Chefs Move! and the Colorado Culinary Academy scholarships, and microloans for local farmers.


Bonyskiw November 16, 2019
Bit mean not to share a recipe. How unusual.
Karen P. November 11, 2015
Aw... man... I really need to make some gumbo. Missing my Louisiana family. And their food.
Rachel October 30, 2015
Is there supposed to be a link to a recipe for the gumbo? It looks delicious!
Sarah J. October 30, 2015
It's in John's book, Besh Big Easy!