Gumbo file is a seasoning made from the ground, dried leaves of the sassafras tree. This seasoning is an integral part of Creole cooking used to flavor and thicken gumbos and other Creole dishes. Gumbo file has a woodsy flavor reminiscent of root beer. File powder is said to have first been used by the Choctaw Indians from the Louisiana Bayou country. Gumbo is the Creole mainstay of New Orleans cuisine. It is a thick, stew like dish that can have any of many ingredients such as okra, tomatoes, and onions. A gumbo can have various mixtures of different types of meats or shellfish such as chicken, sausage, ham, shrimp, crab or oysters. The one ingredient that all gumbos begin with is the unmistakable dark roux. Gumbo file is used to thicken this essential dark roux and gives it the distinctive flavor.