Sailors bring southern dish to U S S Mississippi - WDAM-TV 7-News, Weather, Sports-Hattiesburg, MS

Pride of the Pine Belt: Sailors bring southern dish to USS Mississippi

HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) -

 "We do have the best food," said Thomas Kitts, Sailor on the U SS Mississippi.

Sailors from the U S S Mississippi have more to brag about than just the most modern and sophisticated attack submarine set to be commissioned Saturday in Pascagoula.

"Sometimes we cook king crab legs. We have steaks. We have made pizzas. Turkey pot pies," said Kitts.

Navy men Michael Proctor and Kitts, culinary specialists aboard the submarine, are confident cooks.

"I'm pretty good at everything," said Proctor.

"Bread from scratch. All of our desserts are from scratch,"said Kitts.

On board there are sailors with Mississippi roots, and there are bound to be cravings for down home southern cooking. These guys learned how to prepare a southern tradition for more than 140 sailors at Purple Parrot cafe, Wednesday afternoon.

"You can't get anymore southern than gumbo," said Scott Strickland, Sous Chef for Purple Parrot Cafe.

The sailors watched Strickland blend oil and flour together, as called the roux. Seems simple enough, but this will make or break the sailors gumbo. Strickland says it adds flavor and consistency to the gumbo.

"It's the hardest aspect of making gumbo. It's getting that roux right," said Strickland.

Which means constantly stirring until its nice and dark, scorching it even a little means starting over, but Strickland tells the sailors the key to making the perfect roux is cooking it right before it burns. Strickland says if they master that the rest is easy.  

"It's all about the fresh seafood we put in our gumbo," said Strickland.

For the sailors first batch they add chicken, duck, sausage, peppers, onions, spices and a few more ingredients. Once they add the finished roux they have what Strickland calls Gumbo Ya Ya. Though these sailors have never prepared gumbo, that good ole Navy confidence kicks in.  

"As long as there is a recipe card we can make anything," said Kitts.

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