Wednesday, February 29, 2012

~Mangeons & Dansons....Let's Eat & Dance!~

~Creole Cookbooks~
Beginning in the mid-19th century several Louisiana cookbooks chronicled the cooking styles of the Creole.Years later the Cajun style of cooking was documented in Peter Feibleman's 1982 book "American Cooking:Creole and Acadian.Yes,there is a distinct difference of which I had no idea!

All of the ethnic groups_French,African,Spanish,Portuguese,Native American,Italian and some German all play out on the plates of foods & in the music we all love from Louisiana!

Abby Fisher was the first African-American to publish a Creole cookbook in 1881.The World's Fair in New Orleans(1884-1885) boosted the tourism and the cooking industries.Two cookbooks_"La Cuisine Creole"(published by a Greek writer,no less) and "The Creole Cookery Book" (1885) promoted the city's cuisine_but very few of the recipes would represent New Orleans today. The most popular 20th century cookbook_"The Picayune's Creole Cook Book"(1900) was an exhaustive detailed history of Creole coffee,household hints,daily,holiday and banquet menus.It is still popular today. Many of the early cookbooks were examples of antebellum days and included Jim Crow era stereotypes like the Mammy caricature leading to the erroneous interpretation of the culinary history of New Orleans. Blacks were in fact NOT given any credit in this history.Yet,another example of not telling the REAL story in printed word!Here's some examples of Creole Food:

                                  Crawfish Etouffee_my favorite w/ a btl. of Tabasco!!!!
                                                              Creole Jambalaya
                                                                 Lobster Creole
                                                        Overview of Creole foods

Now,we all know who was cooking & creating in the sweaty kitchens of this era! It was not until 1978 when "Creole Feast" cookbook was created to highlight African-American Master Chefs and reveal their secrets that had been ascribed only to white cooks.In 1984_"Chez Helene:House of Good Foods"by Austin Leslie. AND, the lovely_Leah Chase,"The Dooky Chase Cookbook"(1990).Her restaurant is where my New Orleans eating experience began...(Blog #1 in Series)

~Cajun Cookbooks~
Now here's the difference folks.Creole food was prepared by SERVANTS in the stately residences of New Orleans Elite(European style);Cajun(Acadians)dishes are assembled in a black iron pot near the bayou!

Chef Paul Prudhomme in the 1980's transformed Cajun cooking.There was an abundance of  andouille sausage,gumbo,seafood jambalaya,moon-sized sweet potato pecan pie and massive ribs recipes.He celebrated Cajun specialities old and modern.His illustrated various roux chart is still used today. BUT,BEFORE CHEF PRUDHOMME_there was my dad's favorite chef that makes me smile,right now!
                                                         Justin "I Garontee"Wilson
His cooking shows aired on PBS and worldwide.He passed in 2001.I Just Loved Him!
Website at:

Other Cajun cookbooks include Mme Begue's,"Old Creole Cookery"(1900),Antoine's Restaurant Since 1840 Cookbook(1979) and PBS Chef John Folse's,"The Encyclopedia of Cajun & Creole Cuisine"(2004).With the destruction of Hurricane Katrina cookbooks became sought-after items.Elsa Hahne & Marcelle Bienvenu have written new cookbooks to address those old recipes and oral histories lost in the hurricane.Here's some examples of Cajun food:
                                                     Louisiana Crawfish Boil
                                         Cajun Shrimp Gumbo
                                   Boudin Balls serve w/ Hog Head Cheese and Dirty Rice
                                                        Overview of Cajun Foods

~Creole & Cajun Music~
Now that your plates are filled_HOW ABOUT SOME MUSIC?

The music that comes to mind is Jazz.But Louisiana music is made up of so many genres,there's not room enough to write about them all.But,feel free to check out this website for more information:

Contemporary Music of Wynton Marsalis is rooted in New Orleans musical history.The music that comes from that family is awesome.Some of the more historical greats include:
                                           My Main Man_Louis Armstrong!!!
                                                  Fats Domino_the Blues

                                                              Cajun Music
                                     American R & B and FUNK!!!
                                 The Greatest Gospel Singer of all times_Mahalia Jackson

It's about time people_ To Eat and Dance(Praise Dance included)_and celebrate the food & music of Louisiana.....par-tee time!

~Laissez les bons temps rouler~

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