Saturday, November 30, 2013

Tea Room Recipe #48 - The Woman's Exchange Tea Room (Memphis, Tenn.)

I don't know about you, but I could happily eat seafood three times a day. Shrimp and Grits for breakfast, baked fish for lunch, gumbo for supper, and I'd be perfectly happy. And this week, I tried a new Seafood Gumbo recipe that truly feeds a crowd!

This recipe came from a cookbook that's my age, the 1964 "Woman's Exchange Cook Book, Volume 1" from The Woman's Exchange of Memphis, Tenn. According to the book, the Exchange started as an outgrowth of the community kitchens operated during the Depression and "has now (in 1964) grown into a thriving organization operating in its own home at 88 Racine Street, a shop offering handmade clothing, toys, linens, gift items, fine arts, antiques, and the popular TEA ROOM." When I found out this tea room is still operating today, it went on my Bucket List of tea rooms to visit!

The Tea Room specialties featured in the book include a number of dishes I want to try, such as Frosty Strawberry Squares, Old Fashioned Blackberry Jam Cake, and Granny's Chocolate Cup Cakes with Mocha Frosting. For now, though, I'm going to have some more of this gumbo!

Seafood Gumbo

1-1/2 cups chopped onion
4 tablespoons bacon fat (I substituted butter)
2 tablespoons plain flour
6 cups canned diced tomatoes
3 cups water
2 pounds of frozen, cut okra
1 cup of green pepper, diced
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 pound frozen crabmeat, thawed and picked over
1 pound frozen shrimp, shelled and thawed
1 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
Dash of Tabasco sauce
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon gumbo file
2 cups oysters and juice
2 tablespoons lemon juice

Saute onion in fat for 3 minutes, then add flour and stir until onions begin to brown. Add tomatoes and water, cover, and cook for 30 minutes. Reduce heat, add okra, peppers and garlic. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and cook for one hour. Add crab, shrimp, salt pepper, Tabasco and Worcestershire sauces, return to a boil, then reduce heat and cook covered for 30 minutes. Add nutmeg, file, oysters and lemon juice, then cook on low for 30 minutes. Serve over rice. Yields 1 gallon, or 12-14 large servings of gumbo!


  1. This tea room is indeed a pleasure to visit. I was there in 2012, and purchased one of their cookbooks. Mine has a different cover so it may not be the same as yours. Your Gumbo looks yummy!

  2. How cool that its still going strong!


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