Where did Cajun originate?
Cajun is defined as a native of Louisiana believed to be the French exiles from Acadia. Today in 2011, Acadia is now Nova Scotia, Canada. During the French and Indian war of 1754-1763 the Great Expulsion of the Acadians began and many were exiled to southern Louisiana. Those that were being thrown out of their homeland were being expelled because they would not take the oath of allegiance to Britain. Living as an Acadian being deported out of Acadia and into Louisiana was a hard life. Like many of the nations that found their way to America, the Acadians brought with them their traditions, religious beliefs and of course their cuisines.
Although the Acadians had their own cooking techniques, they had to use what the land of Louisiana would yield. This was the beginning of the collaboration between French culinary techniques and local Louisiana fare creating Cajun dishes. Bell peppers, onions and celery are paired with crawfish, shrimps and turtles. Rice was used as a staple food to stretch out what they had to feed their large families. One pot masterpiece meals were formed. Other nations from Africa brought the okra seed and they used bananas from South America which was one of the main imports into the Gulf of Mexico. The Cajun cuisine is also responsible for Roux, a flour, fat and water combo used to flavor and thicken.
These people who survived being torn from their homelands and living as refugees in Louisiana, formed the Cajun people and their unique culture and flavorful cuisines. They now mostly live in southern Louisiana and parts of Mississippi, putting Cajun food on the map as one of the major players in the world of cuisines.
French techniques fused with local Louisiana foods
•Blackening popularity in the 1970’s gave Cajun foods the reputation of being spicy
•Roux is used in Jambalaya
•1950 French Quarter Chef created Banana Fosters
•Bouillabaisse is a popular fish stew from France
•Etoufee is tomatoe based
•Uses both seafood and game in their dishes
•Descibed as the “table in the wilderness”
•Pungent and highly spiced dishes
•Garlic, green peppers, cayenne pepper and parsley were commonly used
•German influences of sausages
•African influence of okra
•South American export of bananas
•Also influenced by Spain, Italy, West Indies and more
•Uses wild vegetables and local game
From our friends at the examiner