While some cuisines have emerged from individual countries exclusively, Cajun food is not one of them. The famous Southern cuisine has unique cultural origins rooted in immigration and initially became popular among Louisiana residents. Take a minute to learn about the food’s history before savoring Cajun fare at a local restaurant.
What Is the History of Cajun Food?
The Acadian Connection
The first French settlers of the “New World,” or North America, arrived during the 1600s in what is now the Maritime Provinces of Canada. Known as Acadians, they prepared traditional French countryside dishes consisting of meat and vegetables in a thick sauce. These settlers relied on local vegetable and meat sources to create hearty meals, such as dishes made from potatoes and lobsters, and remained in Canada for about 100 years. However, the British conquered the French area of Canada in 1710, eventually asking the Acadians to pledge their allegiance to the crown in 1755. When the settlers refused, they were forced out.
Some 14,000 Acadians moved to the Southern region of the modern-day U.S., with many making the Louisiana area their home. These adaptable individuals again relied on local food sources to make their stew-like dishes, which included crawfish, shrimp, oysters, crab, catfish, and alligator meat from nearby bayous and the Gulf of Mexico. The Acadians also began using rice instead of potatoes, as the grain thrived in Louisiana’s hot, humid climate.
The “Holy Trinity”
Spices such as cayenne and black pepper found their way into Cajun food, with the cuisine also influenced by African American, Native American, and Spanish fare. Gumbo is a famous example of these influences and features chicken, sausage, okra, filé, and occasionally shrimp. Both Cajun and Creole food feature the “holy trinity” of celery, onions, and green peppers, though creole cuisine is particularly heavy on shrimp, crab, oysters, and tomatoes. Cajun cuisine focuses on crawfish and cayenne pepper or hot sauce, which makes it extra-spicy.
The food continues to delight the palate and functions as a delicious reminder of this country’s immigrant-based history.
Enjoy authentic Cajun food at Buzzard Billy’s. The restaurant based in Lincoln, NE, offers a varied American food menu and a unique cocktail list that includes the New Orleans-style Category 5 Hurricane. Call (402) 475-8822 today to place an order or visit the establishment online to review the menu. Get the latest restaurant updates on Facebook.