images of oaks wearing sarees of Spanish moss, bayous that lazily
meander in the dusk, the beautiful wrought-iron work like fine
lace in the Vieux Carré… and the piquant food of New Orleans…
and Cajun food merge into what is really South Louisiana cuisine -
a complex melding of cuisines that originated in New Orleans and
the southern part of the State, an area that has historically been
a mix of native Americans, the French (from France as well as its
colonies), English-speaking settlers, Africans,
Germans, Spaniards and Acadians.
food is simple and flavorings are basic - salt, a mirepoix of
onions, garlic, celery parsely, bell peppers. A
preponderance of easy one-pot dishes: shrimp or crayfish stew,
chicken and sausage gumbo, pork roast au jus over
rice. Creole cuisine, on the other hand, was brought by
aristocratic refugees from Europe. It is a cuisine with a
bit more culinary élan and usually consists of several courses.
Cajun and Creole evolved and have this in common - the use of
peppers and herbs, always rice…as main or side dish, roux
as a basis for soups and gravies.
Cajun-Creole food is a fascinating mélange of haute cuisine
principles and local ingredients and customs introduced by
Acadians (wild game and fish, sassafras and bay leaves) and
settlers of Caribbean, European and Southern American origin who
introduced base ingredients such as rice, beans and
tomatoes. Familiar dishes like the jolly-sounding jambalaya,
that close cousin of paella, made from rice, chicken, seafood,
andouille sausage, vegetables and tomatoes. The rather
dangerously-named crawfish étouffée (French for
smothered or strangled), made with large succulent crawfish
redolent of the roux-based spicy sauce. In
the 1980's star chefs Paul Prudhomme, Emile Lagasse and John Folse
updated and popularized the cuisine with inventive variations such
as quail gumbo and shrimp or crawfish flavored with Pernod.
But, traditional staples such as gumbo (a thick stew made
from shrimp or meat with celery, onions, okra and peppers), Spicy
Shrimp Creole and the grandly-named Oysters Rockefeller
have also remained popular.
good fare can be found in New York - try Mara's Homemade in
the East Village for a great crawfish or shrimp boil - we
recommend taking a trip down to the city that is the Queen of the
Mississippi to visit old standards such as Brennan's and Antoine's
or the lovely Sazerac Bar and Grill with its stunning cut
glass chandeliers (be sure to order its delectably tart namesake
made from rye whiskey, sugar, herbsaint, bitters, and lemon peel).
a Po' Boy (fried meat or seafood submarines served in a
soft baguette) or an apple beignet from Café du Monde, fried
to subtle perfection and dusted with confectioner's sugar.
The Vieux Carré (the French Quarter) slowly reveals its
many-layered history, architectural and cultural subtleties that
will surprise even the most refined eye...a
perfect weekend getaway while contributing to this historic city's
Homemade, New York