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Wednesday, October 18, 2006

DC Legend: Chicken Wings & Mumbo Sauce


Mumbo Jumbo
Noun. 1. Confusing or incomprehensible language or activity. 2. An obscure ritual or incantation. [Mandingo origin.]
American Heritage Dictionary
Of the English Language



Mumbo sauce? Anyone who has ever traveled east of the Anacostia River has heard the term, Mumbo Sauce. What do I mean by east of the river? I mean if you have ventured anywhere near Benning Road, Wheeler Road, Southern Avenue, or Minnesota Avenue in North/Southeast Washington, D.C. There is no way that you can go into any Korean owned and operated “Kerry-Out” [trans. Carry-Out food] in DC and not hear someone order french fries with chicken wings and Mumbo Sauce. Impossible! Some like it on the chicken and others (like me) like it on the side. I’ve always thought of Mumbo Sauce as a DC thang, but where did it really come from?  Actually, Mumbo Sauce originated on Chicago's Southside in the early 1950s by a man named Argia B. Collins, who was known for his famous ribs and barbeque Mumbo Sauce. Now, somehow the name (Mumbo) made its way to the District of Columbia.  Perhaps Ishmael Reed's "Jes Grew" brought it here after passing through Harold's Chicken Shack on Stony Island. Nonetheless, I love that Mumbo Sauce.

Now, another question that I’m sure comes to mind is:  what in the blazes is Mumbo Sauce and what are the ingredients? Well, no one seems to know the specific ingredients of the sauces that are promoted at DC area carryouts.  I know…scary! This is because every carryout makes their sauce differently. I have a favorite spot that I like to go for my chicken wings and Mumbo Sauce. It tastes so good on the chicken; It's both sweet and tangy! I believe they use a little Worcestershire sauce in their blend, and I think that I tasted some nutmeg? I don’t know, but I love it. However, I can’t eat all that fried food too often because that stuff will make you fat and eventullay kill me. So I get it here and there. This past weekend was one of those moments. So, the next time that you are in DC stop by one of our local carryouts (there’s one on every corner), and get yourself an order of chicken wings and Mumbo Sauce. Oh…and all the fries they can give you.

Peace and chicken grease~

Note:  The trademark MUMBO was adopted by Argia B. Collins, Sr. for use in connection with a barbecue sauce he developed for his Chicago restaurant.  Since as early as 1950, Mr. Collins and his business used this trademark, and his successor-in-interest, Select Brands, LLC, registered the trademark with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office on May 25, 1999, Registration No. 2,247,855.  The MUMBO trademark has been used for sauces, and appears on labels as part of the phrase MUMBO® SAUCE. (Information provided by:  Marshall, Gerstein & Borun LLP, Chicago, IL)

This post was inspired by the works of Ishmael Reed

37 comments:

Dancewithme2 said...

Did someone say sauce? and chicken grease. You know I'm fasting Stephen. All this talk about FOOD.... :)

Stephen Bess said...

:) My apologies, Dance. You know how much I love food! You knew that I might have something up here sooner or later. Hang in there sis. Luckily, blogger is having technical difficulties and I'm not able to post my plate of wings. :)

Michelle said...

Thanks for making me hungry! Reminded me I haven't had breakfast. Next time I'm in DC, I'll have to get me some wings and Mumbo sauce. BTW -- love the hat on your pic! You are too cool for school! :-)

Stephen Bess said...

Michelle-
LOL! :) Thanks. I love that hat. That's my, "now I'm more mature" hat.

Cool AC said...

I haven't had Chicken in Mumbo sauce in a minute! I might have to hit up my favorite carry out soon! But you are right you can't eat that stuff often becasue something is definitely in the food...how else are those the biggest chicken wings ever?

Stephen Bess said...

AC-
LOL! I know. Those are some big wings. It's good, but frighntening. Thanks for stopping in and welcome. :)

gnightgirl said...

Aurgh! I want mumbo sauce! I'm salivating for it, and I've never even heard of it. How can it have originated in Chicago and made it all the way to D.C., and not 2 hours south?

Very mysterious stuff; just ran a search for "mumbo sauce recipe" and turned up virtually nothing, although I skimmed over one myspace-er who contemplates holding up a restaurant just to get the recipe for this stuff.

I'm on a mission now...

And your sign-out line made me laugh outloud.

Michael J. West said...

I always heard that mumbo sauce was a D.C. creation. Our own local cuisine, just like half-smokes.

But hey, Stephen, you don't have to go across the Frederick Douglass Bridge to get mumbo sauce on your chicken wings. Anywhere in and around Shaw will have it, too. Especially Yum's! Theirs is the best!

Dancewithme2 said...

Ooooo. That IS a HOTT hat. I see you Big Stevie - I SEE YOU. Did I tell you that my dad's name is Stephen? Its derived form my grandmother's maiden name: Stephens. Just thought I'd share.
That profile shot makes you look awfully REGAL.

Stephen Bess said...

MJW-
You are correct. There is some good Mumbo in Northwest. :)

Dance-
*giggling & blushing* Thanks Dance. I love my hats. I think that I acquired the love of hats from my grandfather in North Carolina. He wears his hats even if he's chillin' on the porch. I have more. I got this bad hat just the past weekend. I'm going to have to sport it for the blog. :)
By the way, I'm honored to carry the name of your father. I'm sure that he's a good man to have raised such an outstanding and talented daughter. Peace~

Stephen Bess said...

Gnight-
LOL! You're on a serious mission! :) Let me know if you find out anything. You know, all this talk is making me hungry too, but I have lunch in 15 mins. :) Thanks.

African girl, American world said...

cause that stuff will make you fat and kill you!! LOL!!!
I need a post on your favorite African dishes too, ok?

My love to my sista :) I need her to start a blog.

Stephen Bess said...

Mwabi-
Hello! You're right. I need to educate the people on some good ol' African cuisine. I've touched on ethnic food a little in previous post, but not in detail. :)
Please, your sista is too busy to write on a blog. :) She live vicariously through this one. I'll tell her that you sent your love. Peace~

Rethabile said...

Well, Europe doesn't have any Mumbo sauce I can think of. So how do I make it? While we're at it, how do I make some good, authentic Buffalo wings?

You know, if it ain't gonna kill ya, then it ain't good. And that, my brotha, is the honest truth.

Stephen Bess said...

Rethabile-
I wish that I could tell you? I'll have to put that on the list of things to do when you get to Washington someday. :)

Hey, you're right though. "if it ain't gonna killy, then it ain't good." LOL! That is the truth. Take care~

Gooders Girl said...

Will put that on "my what to do" when I come to D.C. list!

Dancewithme2 said...

I've always had a thing for hats too. I inherited my grandfather's hats when he died. My grandfather was a SHARP 83 year old deacon - so you know my hats are TIGHT. You've inspired me to take some HAT shots to bring in 25.
Thanks Stephen.

Stephen Bess said...

Gooders-
Cool. There's nothing like some good chicken wings. :)

Dance-
Are you going to post the pictures? That's cool. I can't wait to see them.

Heimdallr said...

No, never tried it but would love to know (as rethabile) how to make it.
Enjoy with the chicken skip the fries :p
Sandy

Stephen Bess said...

Sandy-
I love, love, love potatoes. I love them fried, baked, mashed, creamed, scalloped, cheesy, garlic, etc. My love is similar to Bubba(Forrest Gump)and his shrimp. :)

Wendy said...

Gnightgirl has challenged my hub and me to find her a recipe! Now I'm planning to trek into DC (we're only a metro ride away) to try some so I can figure out what kind of recipe we're looking for!

Sure sound delicious....

Stephen Bess said...

Wendy-
Hello and welcome. Gnight is funny!! :) I'll tell you what, if you find out let me know. I need to talk to somebody in Chicago to see if they sale it in the stores there. Thanks!

NML said...

I have never heard of this sauce but I wanna taste it now!

Stephen Bess said...

NML-
It's so tangy! :)

Professor Zero said...

This is fascinating. And they say the U.S. has no food or culture ... !!! Anyway, it also makes me hungry ... I was going to get a sandwich but under this influence I am going to go look for a plate lunch!

Stephen Bess said...

Profzero-
There's plenty of food and culture here in the U.S., but I don't think that this government does enough to promote it. So, I'll promote mumbo sauce! :)

urban butterfly said...

I've tried mumbo sauce before. Didn't like it! My friend loves eating chicken wings and mumbo sauce!

dcdiva said...

Well I think you've gone and made me crazy for mumbo sauce. I think I'll take a shot at making it myself. It's one of those things where I'll know it when I taste it. I used to get my wings and mumbo sauce from a little carryout in NW DC right off Rhode Island Avenue. This was around in the late sixties, early seventies and the place was Black owned and operated so I'm guessing that it would have been made from ingredients common to Black folk back then--no Dijon mustard, no soy sauce, no red wine reduction LOL.

Anonymous said...

WHAT IS SAD IS THAT BLACK PEOPLE DON'T QUESTION WHAT MUMBO SAUCE IS REALLY. IF ALL MUMBO SAUCE IS DIFFERENT THEN IT CAN'T BE THE SAME THINGS IN IT. I HAVE ASKED NUMEROUS CARRY-OUTS WHAT MUMBO SAUCE IS MADE FROM SINCE YOU CAN'T GO INTO YOUR LOCAL FOOD MARKET AND BUY IT. YET EVERYONE TELLS ME THEY DON'T KNOW AND SOME GET OFFENDED WHEN I ASK. SEEMS STRANGE TO ME AND I STAY AWAY FROM IT BECAUSE IT HAS TO BE SOMETHING BAD IF THEY CAN'T TELL US WHAT IT IS. BLACK PEOPLE SHOULD THINK. THIS STUFF COULD BE KILLING US BUT WE ARE TOO STUPID TO DEMAND THE CARRY-OUT PEOPLE TO TELL US WHAT IS IN IT. IF I WERE YOU I WOULD NOT GET NEAR THE STUFF AND I'M A DC NATIVE BORN AND RAISE SOUTHSIDE BUT MY EYES ARE OPEN. OPEN YOURS!!!

Stephen Bess said...

Anonymous-
I can't remember the last time I had Mumbo Sauce. I appreciate your attempting to enlighten me, but no need. Truth is that even the stuff we buy in our grocery stores is killing us. So, enjoy life and just say "grace" before eating. :)

Anonymous said...

I've been searching for the ingredients for Mumbo sauce for so long, I finally found it.

1 cup ketchup
1 cup sugar

1 tablespoon sweet paprika (sweet)
3 tablespoons hot sauce
3 tablespoons water
4 tablespoons white vinegar

In a mixing bowl, combine all ingredients. Mix well. Pour into pot. Bring to boil using low heat. Stirring constantly. Let cool or serve hot. Do not use salt. Salt will destroy the sweetness of the sause.

Stephen Bess said...

That sounds about right and I think I tasted some nutmeg. :)Sorry...that's from Dave. Thanks for this. I need to try those ingredients.

RealMumboSauce said...

No one on here has a clue on how to make DA REAL MUMBO SAUCE. To the person who started this posting: You have recieved some false info. If Argia B. Collins made mumbo sauce from Chicago. Why is it that only Korean carry out have it in DC area???? Do you see a connection between the two?

And to the person who wrote:
**WHAT IS SAD IS THAT BLACK PEOPLE DON'T QUESTION WHAT MUMBO SAUCE IS REALLY. IF ALL MUMBO SAUCE IS DIFFERENT THEN IT CAN'T BE THE SAME THINGS IN IT. I HAVE ASKED NUMEROUS CARRY-OUTS WHAT MUMBO SAUCE IS MADE FROM SINCE YOU CAN'T GO INTO YOUR LOCAL FOOD MARKET AND BUY IT. YET EVERYONE TELLS ME THEY DON'T KNOW AND SOME GET OFFENDED WHEN I ASK. SEEMS STRANGE TO ME AND I STAY AWAY FROM IT BECAUSE IT HAS TO BE SOMETHING BAD IF THEY CAN'T TELL US WHAT IT IS. BLACK PEOPLE SHOULD THINK. THIS STUFF COULD BE KILLING US BUT WE ARE TOO STUPID TO DEMAND THE CARRY-OUT PEOPLE TO TELL US WHAT IS IN IT. IF I WERE YOU I WOULD NOT GET NEAR THE STUFF AND I'M A DC NATIVE BORN AND RAISE SOUTHSIDE BUT MY EYES ARE OPEN. OPEN YOURS!!!**

U NEEDA GET OFF THAT PIPE!!
SMOKIN ROCKS GOT YOUR HEAD TWISTED

My mother is the person who first made mumbo sauce in 86 or 87. She used to work at Jimmy's crab house in Landover, MD off Landover rd. She passed it along to the korean community but never revealed the REAL RECIPE (just so her store got the best shit!)But don't take my word for it. I live in the metropolitan area so meet me up and try my moms mumbo sauce and you tell how you like it. I have no interest in revealing the real recipe so don't but wouldn't have a problem selling you the mumbo sauce.

Mumbo.Sauce@yahoo.com

Stephen Bess said...

RealMumboSauce-
Thanks for that info. When I wrote this post, I was trying to get at the origin of Mumbo Sauce. It was my hope that people like you would response and add to the mystery so I thank you. I'll bet your mom's recipe is the real deal. I'll keep that email in mind the next time I want a taste. Peace~

Anonymous said...

The real deal Argia B's Mumbo Sauce, since 1957 http://www.mumbobbqsauce.com/companyhistory1.php

Eternalswoman said...

Oh how I miss chickenwings with mumbosauce and rice or curried goat my 2nd favourite!!!I dont miss much about DC but the carry out food there is the BEST!!

Next time you have some think about a Lady in Germany wishing she were you,lol

God bless

Stephen Bess said...

Eternalswoman-
LOL! Thanks for the visit and I will think of you next time. I still indulge from time to time. Greetings from DC. I'll have to check out your blog. Peace~