Friday, April 14, 2006

The proof is in the gumbo

Anyone who knows my music (even going back as far as Evelyn) knows that I am intrigued by odd time signatures: 3, 5, 7, and, more recently, 9, 11, 13, 15, and 17. In some ways this love of oddness goes against the current of jazz. In fact, some critics have complained that it makes what we do too "cerebral." But odd time has always felt "natural" to me, and in fact, like Zappa, I've always had more trouble playing in a square meter like 4/4.

So yesterday I heard this a Talk of the Nation report on Leah Chase, co-owner and chef at the famous New Orleans restaurant Dooky Chase, which was one of the many casualties of Katrina. Apparently Ms. Chase is gearing up to return to her (revamped) eatery at long last, and as she was describing her recipe for Gumbo Z'herbes, she declared matter-of-factly that one of the secrets to this dish's success was that she always put in an odd number of greens (7, 9, 11), because, don't you know, odd numbers are good luck.

I felt strangely vindicated.

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