Friday, November 21, 2008

Sassafras Leaves and Roots

Since I mentioned Gumbo in the other post for today I want to tell you about what we use in gumbo after it is cooked. It is called File' We all have heard the song: Jambalaya ,Crawfish Pie File' Gumbo That's about all I know of the song. The File' is what I want to tell you about. You pronounce file' -like fee-lay. Grandpa John, who was my husband's grandfather, use tomake file'. It comes from sassafras trees. He use to go out into the swamps and gather leaves from the sassafras trees, bring them home and spread outside on a sheet made of feedsacks sewn together. Grand mother had a bamboo rack she would stir them with every day. They did this until the leaves were dry. They then would take all stems out. Grand Father had a home made box that was tapered, about 8 inches square at the top and four 4 inches a the bottom. He would fill the box with leaves and then pound it with a homemade tool until the leaves were powder. He then put the power file'into empty medicine bottles that all the neighbors saved for him. He sold them for 5 cents a bottle. That was back in the 1940's. Now you can buy File' in the grocery store. You may be wondering what file' does. It is a thickener for gumbo. If you used too much it will be slimy. But it sure does give flavor. Now, down to later years. This goes way back!~The boys would go into the woods and get roots from the sassafras trees and bring them home and boil them. The liquid was then made into a drink that taste like root beer. I'm sure there is a medicinal purpose for the drink but I not old enough to know what. Maybe some of you will know! Now go back one more post and you will see the Turkey.


Cathryn said...

Aliene - So what is the weather like in Louisiana? Are you ready for Thanksgiving? Lord Bless, Cathy

Dori said...

Daddy sings that song all the time...He's the only one I've ever hear sing it. I'd like to know all the words too...wonder if he knows them?