Gumbo with potato salad

How do you take your gumbo? Potato salad or no potato salad.

Do you put potato salad in your gumbo? That was the question we put to our readers in a poll sparked by Gov. John Bel Edwards.

On social media, the state's leader asked folks whether they ate their gumbo with rice or potato salad.

We decided to let the people vote. Here's what 758 people had to say in The Advocate's very unscientific survey.

The winner is rice, without any potato salad muddling the roux.

But a fair share of you are willing to play for both teams in the gumbo bowl.

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37% of our respondents say they like both rice and potato salad in or with gumbo.

50% voted for rice only.

12% chose potato salad only, and 1% said neither. (Who are those people?)

The vote was divided across southern Louisiana, with most places favoring rice only.

But there were a few outliers within that range. Baton Rouge and New Orleans, for example, showed slightly less fondness for potato salad than the statewide results, with only 10% of responders in each city opting for the mayonnaise-y add-in.

However, the feelings about potato salad and gumbo run deep.

Take John Joffe, 51, of New Orleans: “Potato salad is for picnics. No mayo, no potatoes, no raw veggies (all of which are in potato salad) should ever be in gumbo in any way, shape, or form.”

And 42-year-old Alan, of Baton Rouge: “The heathens who put potato salad in gumbo probably also put ketchup on hot dogs and tomatoes in jambalaya.”

Adds 27-year-old Kimberly, of Marrero: “Potato salad in gumbo? That’s just unholy y’all.”

Yikes!

Others, however, imparted a deep love for a scoop of creamy potato salad with their gumbo.

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Says 24-year-old Raleigh, who hails from Lake Charles: “I didn’t even know there were people who didn’t have potato salad with their gumbo until I went to LSU at 18.”

Garrett, of Lafayette, says he “used to think potato salad in gumbo was gross.” But, after trying it, the 27 year old says, “I'm into it now.”

You’d think that would be the end of that. WRONG!

Exactly how the potato salad is eaten with the gumbo sparked a whole other debate.

“Potato salad is a perfectly acceptable side dish when eating gumbo, but it doesn’t belong IN the gumbo. That’s reserved for white rice only,” says Riley Landry, 26, of Baton Rouge.

However, Tecla, a 62-year-old Albany resident, serves it like this: “You first put in the rice, then the gumbo in your bowl and top that off with a scoop of potato salad.”

Chef Jeremie Janise, 46, who now lives in New Orleans by way of Eunice, came up with the perfect solution: “One bowl with rice, and a half bowl with potato salad for dessert!”

But the gumbo wars didn’t stop there.

Some profess a great love for okra; others show it a disdain usually reserved for serial killers.

Filé? Again, very strong opinions on both sides.

There were also calls gumbo for with “no tomatoes” and for “lots of tomatoes.”

Seafood vs. chicken and sausage proved another strong point of contention.

And then there were those who added more unusual ingredients.

“You need to add baked/mashed sweet potato as an option (a favorite in Avoyelles/Rapides Parishes, and the best way to enjoy gumbo)!" says T.J. Stranova, of New Orleans.

“With a side of pickles,” adds Krista Doyle, 34, of Oakdale.

Destany, 37, of New Orleans, loves “some hard boiled eggs in the gumbo — Eunice style!”

In the end, we have to agree with Monica Grant, 42, of Terrytown: “Gumbo is good anyway you eat it.”