Most folks have probably heard that the word ‘Cajun’ is a bastardization of the French pronunciation for ‘Acadian’. The Acadians migrated from what are now the Canadian Maritime provinces following defeat in the French-Indian War. Many Acadians moved to southern Louisiana and it is in connection with this geographic area we are most familiar with Cajun culture.
My first exposure to anything having to do with Cajun culture came rather late in life when I had a friend in the service who was from Lake Charles, LA that cooked some jambalaya for the shop one day. The guy worked in the communications center but should have been a cook. I have had jambalaya on several occasions since: at restaurants, other people’s houses, and even bought a recipe book in an effort to replicate it in my own kitchen, but nothing I have tasted has been quite as good or had the same seasoning or taste (I say it’s the seasoning but I honestly don’t know what made that batch unique – had I known he was using secret ingredients I would have asked him what they were at the time). This same guy also prepared on another occasion some sort of sausage dish (no, I don’t know what it was, we did more drinking than talking as I recall) that was mighty delish too.
Do you like zydeco? I do. Zydeco music is a fusion that is strongly influenced by traditional Cajun music styles with its’ heavy use of accordion, fiddle and syncopated rhythms. If you enjoy listening to Rockin Sidney, Beau Jacques, or Queen Ida, then give Cajun culture its due.
I’m probably missing a lot of other things related to Cajun culture (is there such a thing as ‘traditional Cajun attire’ for instance?). How about you, are there any restaurants near you that feature authentic (or even non-authentic) Cajun cuisine? Oh, and I have it on good authority that just because something is hot does not make it Cajun.
Laissez les bons temp rouler!