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CAJUN & CREOLE Louisiana, the Mississippi and Alabama Gulf coasts, the western Florida panhandle extreme eastern Texas.

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Presentation on theme: "CAJUN & CREOLE Louisiana, the Mississippi and Alabama Gulf coasts, the western Florida panhandle extreme eastern Texas."— Presentation transcript:

1 CAJUN & CREOLE Louisiana, the Mississippi and Alabama Gulf coasts, the western Florida panhandle extreme eastern Texas

2 THE LAND THE RIVER BUILT Southern Louisiana was created by the Mississippi River carrying rich alluvial soil from its huge, funnel-shaped watershed and depositing it where the river meets the Gulf of Mexico.

3 THE MISSISSIPPI DELTA The southern Louisiana landform is roughly triangular in shape and, thus, is called a delta. Rich delta soil and a mild climate makes southern Louisiana suited for sub-tropical food plants.

4 LOUISIANA WETLANDS The Mississippi delta is low-lying land comprising saltwater marshes and slow-moving, meandering waterways called bayous. Louisiana’s wetlands and the Gulf of Mexico support a wide variety of fish, shellfish, and amphibians, the region’s foundation protein foods.

5 CENTRAL AND NORTHERN LOUISIANA Before European settlement, the land north of Shreveport was prairie, supporting bison and other wildlife. Today this area is cultivated in grains and other large-scale agriculture food crops.

6 DELTA TRIBES : Chitimachas and Houmas expert watermen hunting (esp. waterfowl) fishing for delta seafood foraged foods (sassafras leaves, or filé) Three Sisters farming INLAND TRIBES: Natchez, Choctaws, Caddos plains-style hunting (esp. bison) Three Sisters farming Natchez had highly developed civilization LOUISIANA NATIVE AMERICANS

7 FRENCH SETTLEMENT first French settlement in 1699 at Mobile, Alabama French settlers combined European colonial domesticates with indigenous native foods Louisiana colony extended east into Florida panhandle and west across Mississippi and Louisiana into Texas

8 NEW ORLEANS New Orleans was founded in 1718 as port city, gateway to the Mississippi and, thus, the entire American heartland. Because of New Orleans commerce, Louisiana gained economic viability early in its history. Much of New Orleans is below sea level, protected from water by levees.

9 TRADITIONAL LOUISIANA CUISINE Due to rapid settlement and almost instant economic viability, Louisiana did not have a colonial cuisine period, instead developing a mature cuisine within a few generations of founding.

10 THE SEVEN ROOTS OF LOUISIANA CUISINE IN ORDER OF IMPORTANCE #1 France #2 Africa #3 America (Native American and Plantation South) #4 The Caribbean #5 Italy #6 Spain #7 Germany

11 THE FRENCH FOUNDATION Louisiana food is fundamentally French food. The region’s first settlers were French, arriving from France and the French Caribbean. Later, French-Canadian Acadians brought additional French influence. All French settlers had a strong food culture. The French are typically culinary conservatives (not venturing away from their cooking methods etc.), adventurous emigrants were culinary liberals.


13 THE FRENCH FOUNDATION French mirepoix becomes the holy trinity: a mixture of celery, green bell peppers, and fresh onions Three domains of fat: butter (clarified and raw) olive oil (for salad dressings) lard (for frying and roux) roux of many colors (discussed shortly)

14 Cast-iron cooking slow, steady heat for roux gives fried foods a crunchy crust imparts a special flavor Cooking with wine used in sauces, soups, desserts French bread served hot in humid climate bread is reheated for crispness Fondness for seafood French settlers considered indigenous fish and shellfish high status foods Colonial Domesticates from France Knob onions or fFesh onions Chard Turnip greens Salad greens Eggplants Artichokes Poultry Hogs THE FRENCH FOUNDATION

15 NATIVE AMERICAN INFLUENCE Native methods for indigenous seafood alligator frogs crawfish Three Sisters foods Filé powder: ground, dried sassafras leaves used to thicken and flavor filé gumbos

16 SASSAFRAS The root or bark was used to make tea and Root Beer. Root Beer was originally made with the bark and root of the Sassafras trees. This is what give Root Beer it’s unique taste and smell. Root beer “mise en place”


18 Tens of thousands of African-heritage slaves were brought to Louisiana from the Caribbean, the Plantation South, and directly from Africa. They contributed essential ingredients, methods, techniques, and flavor preferences to Louisiana cuisine. These, as well as a large population of free blacks created Louisiana Creole cuisine and contributed to Cajun cuisine. Rice culture and cuisine Okra (means gumbo in some African dialects.) Thickens okra gumbo Fried Pickled Moussa and Coush-Coush cornmeal mush, savory and sweetened Fried foods Strong seasonings and inventive combinations THE AFRICAN ELEMENT


20 Planters and their slaves from the Carolinas migrated to Louisiana in the late 1700s and early 1800s. After the Civil War, many white farmers moved to inland Louisiana. Gumbo (from the Low-country) Fried chicken and fish Vegetables cooked with seasoning meats Barbeque Neckbone stew Slow-simmered beans FOODS FROM THE PLANTATION SOUTH


22 In response to depleted soil and declining sugar prices, many French planters from the Caribbean moved their operations to Louisiana. African-Caribbean slave cooks brought their methods and techniques. Rum Molasses Sugar, caramel Tropical fruits pineapples, bananas, coconuts Tropical vegetables mirlitons, sweet potatoes, chiles CARIBBEAN INGREDIENTS


24 In the early 1700s German farmers settled inland Louisiana. They produced dairy products, meats, and much-needed wheat for bread flour and beer making. However, German cooking did not become popular or alter the cuisine. Wheat breads Sausages and preserved pork products Beer GERMAN SETTLERS

25 Louisiana belonged to Spain from 1762 to 1802. Spanish ingredients enriched the cuisine. Tomatoes and tomato sauce Eggplants Bell peppers Paprika Paella-rice casseroles became jambalaya SPANISH RULE

26 AMERICAN LOUISIANA When Louisiana became part the United States in 1803 (Louisiana Purchase- Jefferson) the region welcomed an influx of American settlers. Increased prosperity enriched the cuisine until the Civil War. Whereas much of the region was devastated, New Orleans retained its economic viability and the cuisine prospered.

27 In the late1800s Italian immigrants added the finishing touch to an already complex cuisine. Parmesan cheese Anchovies Italian-style cured meats thick, spicy tomato sauce Pasta dishes stuffed vegetables pirogues Sandwiches po’ boys muffalettas ITALIAN IMMIGRANTS



30 CREOLE CUISINE In Louisiana, a Creole was a person of European heritage born in the New World. Later the term was extended to include persons of mixed European-African heritage. Louisiana Creoles created a complex and sophisticated cuisine.

31 CREOLE CUISINE SOPHISTICATED CITY COOKING Ingredients from around the world Multi-course dining Skilled home cooking and restaurant cuisine European beverages: table wines, dessert wines, cordials Much attention to presentation Classic French sauces

32 CREOLE CUISINE GUMBO Is not quite a stew (more liquids than solids)…but not always a soup (large pieces of food requiring knife and fork). Gumbo means “okra” in some African dialects. African slaves created gumbo in the Carolina Lowcountry and brought it to Louisiana.

33 CREOLE CUISINE AUTHENTIC GUMBO Always includes: Brown roux (meat and poultry lighter; seafood darker) Holy Trinity vegetables Mixed main ingredients (often combines poultry, meats, and seafood ) And is served with a scoop of steamed white rice.

34 OKRA GUMBO Earliest version Sliced okra added near the end of cooking helps thicken the sauce FILÉ GUMBO When okra was not available, Creole cooks used indigenous ground, dried sassafras leaves to thicken gumbos. Filé must be added off the heat at the end of cooking; often served separately Filé and okra are never used together CREOLE CUISINE

35 ETOUFFÉ means “smothered” fish, shellfish, poultry or pork cooked in a thick, brown-roux gravy (no tomatoes) COURTBOUILLON (not court-bouillon ) fish or crawfish simmered in a thick, wine-based, brown-roux sauce with tomatoes RED BEANS & RICE Louisiana dried red beans simmered with seasoning meat and served over rice, often with Andouille sausage or a pork chop CREOLE shrimp or other seafood cooked in a light, brown-roux tomato sauce with peppers, onions, and ham PIQUANTE means “spicy-hot” seafood or chicken cooked in a Creole sauce spiked with bottled hot sauce and/or green chiles JAMBALAYA jambon à la ya means “ham in the style of rice” a braised rice dish that includes ham, sausage or bacon and seafood or poultry CREOLE CUISINE

36 LOUISIANA BROWN ROUX Color, thickening power determined by length of cooking time. Category 1: peanut butter brown (Blonde) Category 2: sticky bun brown (Light Brown) Category 3: fudge brownie brown (Dark Brown) Category 4: black coffee brown (Black)

37 CAJUN CUISINE In the mid-1700s, French Acadians deported from English Canada found a home in the Louisiana bayou country. Cajun is a shortened form of “Acadian,” said with a Southern drawl. Cajuns developed a thrifty, rustic, home-style cuisine based on French country cooking and indigenous foods.

38 COUNTRY COOKING Until recently, most Cajuns lived on Isolated small farms, using little more than home-raised meats and vegetables and hunted, fished, and foraged foods. DISHES THAT “STRETCH” Cajun families are large and unexpected visitors frequent. Most dishes have lots of sauce or gravy and are served over a starch, feeding many mouths. FLAVOR-BUILDING TECHNIQUES “Browned” is a signature flavor, using caramelization and Maillard reaction. Flavor Layering: The same basic ingredient is used in two or more forms. Ingredient Staging: The same ingredient is added at different times during cooking process CAJUN CUISINE

39 CHARCUTERIE Boucherie : hog-processing party, at which hams, sausages, lard, and other pork products are made Cajun charcuterie is spicier than the French or Acadian versions. SWAMP CRITTERS Hunting and foraging in the wetlands is an important source of food. Wildfowl Cooter (turtle) Frog legs alligator Crawfish CAJUN CUISINE

40 Cajun cooking was fundamentally home cooking until popularized in the 1980s. Cajun restaurants debuted new dishes that have become part of the cuisine: “Blackened” redfish and other foods Cajun popcorn (breaded, fried crawfish tails) ‘Gator-on-a-stick

41 CREOLE VS. CAJUN Creole VS. Cajun


43 COMPLEX COOKING Multiple seasonings One or more sauces Multiple side dishes Garnishes INDIVIDUALISM Many variations of classic dishes SHOWCASING SEAFOOD Gulf oysters Gulf shrimp Blue crabs (hard and soft) Alligator meat Crawfish Gulf and swamp finfish Pompano Weakfish Mackerel Tuna Swordfish Red drum (redfish) Catfish CHARACTERISTICS OF LOUISIANA CUISINE

44 New Orleans is a great restaurant town and is well known for its food stalls and markets. New Orleans nightlife is legendary. Café au lait (chicory-laced coffee with hot milk) Beignets (French doughnuts) Po’ boys (hollowed baguette filled with fried seafood, Italian cold cuts, meatballs, etc.) Muffaletta (round loaf filled with Italian cold cuts and olive salad) NEW ORLEANS FOOD CULTURE AND CUISINE

45 MARDI GRAS Mardi Gras means “fat Tuesday,” the last day of the Carnival season that precedes Lent. Louisianans observe Carnival with a series of parties, including festive dinners. King’s Cake is the traditional Mardi Gras dessert.


47 New Orleans restaurants proved remarkably resilient, making a faster recovery than predicted. Hispanics have entered the city’s restaurant workforce, adding yet another layer to the complexity of Louisiana cuisine. Asian immigrants are a major force in the region’s fishing industry. Vietnamese cuisine is blending with Louisiana cuisine in unexpected ways. The region awaits full recovery of its fishing and tourism sectors. THE FUTURE OF LOUISIANA CUISINE

48 APPETIZERS Crawfish Bisque Gumbo z’Herbes Creole Shrimp Remoulade Frog Legs Sauce Piquante Creole “Barbeque” Shrimp Cajun Popcorn Oysters Rockefeller Shrimp and Tasso-Stuffed Mirliton Cajun Boudin BlancDESSERTS Bananas Foster Chocolate Voodoo Torte King’s Cake Gâteau de Sirop Creole Bread PuddingENTRÈES Pompano en Appellate Red Snapper Courtbouillon Blackened Redfish Shrimp Creole Duck, Andouille Sausage, and ‘Gator Filé Gumbo Shrimp and Crab Okra Gumbo Crawfish Ètouffée Chicken, Shrimp, and Oyster Filé Gumbo Creole Jambalaya Pecan-Crusted Suprême of Chicken Red Beans ‘n’ Rice Pork Backbone Stew LOUISIANA RECIPES

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