Date: Tue, 2 Jan 1996 08:15:54 -0800
From: Allen Maberry maberry[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]U.WASHINGTON.EDU
Subject: Re: Gumbo file'
I believe I read in a cookbook somewhere that file powder is never added
to gumbo while it is boiling nor is the gumbo returned to the boil after
the file has been added, or else it will become "stringy". Not being
much of a gumbo maker myself, is this in fact true?
maberry[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]u.washington.edu
On Tue, 2 Jan 1996, Jesse T Sheidlower wrote:
The dictionaries I have at home (Webster's Collegiate 1973, OED 1 with
supplement, Longman Dict. of Contemporary English) don't list
file' (the ingredient of gumbo, made of sassafras root if I'm not
mistaken). Nor does the Nouveau Petit Larousse Illustre'. What
is its etymology? Is it a French loan in English?
According to the Random House Webster's College Dictionary:
LaF; lit., twisted, ropy, stringy (perh. orig. applied to
dishes thickened with the powder, ptp. of F _filer_; see
FILE (which is taken back to OF 'to wind or spin thread',
with Latin roots appropriately given)
The other current college dictionaries give similar origins.
And it's made from the leaves, not the root, of sassafras, BTW.
Random House Reference
jester[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]panix.com