And So it Begins...
You know the feeling of wanting something to eat, but you don't know what? And then you finally figure it out, and for me, at least, it's usually a comfort food. The thing about comfort food is the time involved… whether it's preparation time, cook time, time at the grocery store, or all of the above, that's often time that I do not have the luxury of taking.
Gumbo, for example, is one of my top comfort foods. But the prep time involved can be mind-boggling. And, let's be honest: the smell of burnt flour, which can linger for days, isn't exactly mouth-watering.
I often wondered if this was the issue with gumbo at restaurants. Some restaurants specialize in Cajun food, and have a revolving schedule for preparation, which allows them to serve gumbo regularly. Others may have only a specific day that they serve it each week. The worst is when you can tell that there were shortcuts taken. Gumbo should be rich in flavor and every spoonful should be a good mix of broth, rice, protein and vegetables! Is that the gumbo you know?
Cue the flashback chimes to the days of my craft club years ago. We were making Christmas presents. Well, the other ladies were making presents. I was sitting at the table, racking my brain for an idea that I could get away with gifting in bulk. One of the other women, who was making jars of cookie mix that required only water added to make various types of cookie dough, noticed my far-off gaze, and off-handedly mentioned that I should do this with my gumbo mix.
OMG, WHY didn't I think of that before?! I had previously re-worked some key ingredients that would enable me to pre-package all of the time-consuming elements into a singe container, and it seemed like a logical (and painfully obvious) next step. The gumbo was clearly good, proven by how quickly we would run out each time I made it.
That year for Christmas, everyone received a jar of pre-made gumbo mix. All that was required was adding water, veggies, and meat or seafood if that was your preference. It was an instant hit, and I immediately started receiving requests for more.
I didn't know it but this was the beginning of Tayo Foods.
Gumbo is usually a dish that, in my opinion, is traditionally unhealthy, as it includes elements like lard, various oils, or high volumes of butter. The thought that if I could make my gumbo mix out of great ingredients that I could trust, along with even an iota of nutritional value, was exciting and invigorating.
And here we are! I sell my gumbo mix at festivals, events, through my website, and am currently working towards working with certain establishments to serve to their customers. Which, with 90% of the time involved in the traditional preparation removed, could really be revolutionary.
While this wasn't meant to be a pitch for my gumbo, I wouldn't be upset if you bought a jar to try it out. I think that getting my story out there could lead to someone else, who may have an amazing idea, taking that jump. Who knows what could happen? Failure is just figuring out another way not to do something, and so often throughout history has led to incredible success.
After all, nothing ventured, nothing gained…