Date: Tue, 2 Jan 1996 08:15:54 -0800 From: Allen Maberry 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? Allen maberry[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE] 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. > > Jesse Sheidlower > Random House Reference > >