A-Z Blogging Challenge G Is For Gumbo

We watched in fascination as Chaisson slipped up on the snake who was warming himself on a rock. His hand shot out so quickly it was a blur. Just as rapidly, he cracked the snake like a whip, breaking its neck.

“Wouldn’t it have been easier to shoot it, Chase?” Callahan asked.

He was already cutting the head off and skinning the still writhing creature. “What an’ waste all dat good meat? No, sirree Bob. Want to break de neck so not one single bite missed.”

Callahan shuddered. He was as hungry as the next man, but he wasn’t sure about eating snake. “How you going to cook that thing?”

Chaisson laughed and started cutting the body into chunks. “Why a nice big old gumbo, of course. ‘Cept no rice, or okra, or tomatoes, or nice brown roux, spices. Well, I guess we just havin’ snake soup.”

In reading the memoirs, letters, and diaries of men who rode with Stuart and Mosby particularly, hunger was a constant companion. They often survived on cakes of flour and water with a little salt if they had it, baked in fires. One of my POV characters, Callahan, calls them putty cakes.

While the locals often fed men if they could, once Lincoln approved Sherman’s scorched earth policy to starve the Southerners into submission, everything was burned leaving nothing for armies or civilians.


  1. I loved this. Rich in details, although GROSS on snake soup. Ick.

    In my current WIP, the characters fight hunger too, and almost had it as bad as those men eating “putty cakes,” in one of your works. Almost, not quite!

    You’re a brave soul to take on the A-Z challenge. I’m trying to visit everyone, but have been head down on the latest.

    Like what 2N’s said yesterday at The Reef – busier than a pregnant robin with no nest. That was FUNNY!!!

  2. Donna,

    Oh, the challenge has been a two-edged sword. I’m loving visiting the other blogs, but I have been behind on visiting all of them. I feel guilty about that. I’d intended to try to hit ten new ones a day plus friends’ blogs. That isn’t happening.

    Yes, it has been busy, but a good busy. I read the pregnant comment and it threw me because they don’t get pregnant. My analytical mind. Screws up so many jokes. sigh.

    Thank you so much for coming by and for the kind comments.

  3. You had me hungry at “gumbo.”

    No worries, though, that hunger left me by the time Callahan received the full description of how that gumbo would be prepared. Callahan, to be sure, still suffered from hunger. No such thing as first-world problems back then. We are so spoiled today without even knowing it most of the time.

    1. Ha, poor John. I confess I am not a gumbo fan. I’m not thrilled about stewed okra at all. You know when we think about it, the Civil War wasn’t that long ago. Over 50,000 civilians died of exposure and starvation, plus the carnage of war. Yes, we really don’t think about how lucky we are.

      Thank you so much for stopping by again and commenting.

  4. Gumbo is good when prepared with crawfish, Andouille sausage, rice, and all the proper spices and herbs. Snake stew probably not so much although there’s nothing wrong with a properly barbequed rattlesnake. Once more another wonderful preview of great things to come.

    1. Elise,

      Thank you so much for coming by. I’m not really a gumbo fan, but I do like some Cajun food. Sweetwater, Tx. has a huge rattlesnake roundup every year with lots of fried rattlesnake. I pass on that also. I have a horrible aversion to snakes.

  5. My Dad ate snake when he was in the army. He told me it tastes like chicken. Even in my pre-vegetarian days, I couldn’t imagine eating snake, but I guess when there’s nothing else, you have no choice. I’m enjoying this entertaining education, Julie.

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