Food Dude: Mardi Gras is a good time to savor Cajun and Creole tastes
The Oklahoman's Food Dude Dave Cathey says people celebrating Mardi Gras should know there is a difference between Cajun and Creole tastes. After explaining it, he shares a Shrimp Creole recipe.
If you're going to celebrate Mardi Gras properly, you should know there's a difference between Cajun and Creole food.
Refer to a Cajun dish as Creole, or vice versa, and you might find somebody dancing a Zydeco jig on your forehead if they've had enough Abita or Hurricanes to drink.
Put simply: Cajun is country food; Creole is from city folk.
Cajuns are descendants of French settlers who in the mid-18th century were shooed by the British from a northeastern colony they built, called Acadia. Acadians left their Nova Scotian and eastern Maine confines in a huff and landed in Louisiana. That's because a good number of French already lived in Louisiana. But so did a lot Spanish and a lot of Africans, primarily in and around New Orleans. Creole comes from the Spanish word criollo, which was the brand put upon American-born Spaniards.
You know the good times were rollin' just as much then as they are now, so pretty soon those cultures crossed, and the Creole die we know now was cast.
As for the food, Cajun and Creole have more in common than they'd probably like to admit. Both make gumbo. The Creole version is usually made with light roux and okra as thickener, since okra came to Louisiana from Africa. Cajun gumbo is made with dark roux and is more likely to include chicken and sausage and use file, which is ground sassafras leaves.
But there are dif
Creole dishes are more refined, representing the advantages of city life, which included spices from around the world. Toss in a little French technique, and you've got a distinct, indigenous cuisine. Shrimp Creole is about as Creole as Creole gets. I've got a recipe to share. Don't be scared away by the necessity for stock. Shrimp stock isn't the all-day affair of its beef and chicken cousins. The stock in this recipe is the backbone that puts heat and sweet into the classic flavor you expect.
3 tablespoons butter
1 white onion, finely chopped
1 green pepper, finely chopped
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