Brief History of Cajun-Spiced Food

Posted by Milford Spice on 11/19/2014 to Beef, Pork & Lamb

The word “Cajun” originates from the term “les Acadians,” which was used to describe French colonists who settled in the Acadia region of Canada which consisted of present-day New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island and Nova Scotia. With the British Conquest of Acadia in the early 1700s, the Acadians were forcibly removed from their home in what become known as Le Grand Derangement, or the Great Upheaval. Many Acadians eventually settled in the swampy region of Louisiana that is today known as Acadiana. Actually, four regions of south Louisiana were settled by the Cajuns, each with different resources and influences. Those distinct areas are the levees and bayous (Lafourche and Teche), prairies (Attakapas Indian land), swamplands (Atchafalaya Basin), and coastal marshes (New Orleans area and Houma).


The Acadians were an extremely resourceful people who combined the flatlands, bayous, and wild game of South Louisiana with its proximity to the Gulf of Mexico to create a truly unique local cuisine. While many Acadiana residents today have Native American, German, French, or Italian roots, among others (which have all influence Louisiana Cuisine in the their own ways), their way of life is strongly influenced by the Cajun culture. Along with its food, this rural area of Louisiana is famous for its Cajun French music and language. With no access to modern-day luxuries like refrigerators, early Cajuns learned to make use of every part of a slaughtered animal. When a pig is butchered the event is called a “boucherie.” Boudin, a type of Cajun sausage which consists of pork meat, rice, and seasoning stuffed into a casing, also commonly contains pig liver for a little extra flavor. Tasso and Andouille are two other Cajun pork products that use salts and smoke as preservatives.


Cajun food is famous for being very well seasoned which is sometimes misunderstood as spicy. Seasoning is one of the most important parts of Cajun cooking, and that comes from much more than a heavy helping of cayenne pepper. Most dishes begin with a medley of vegetables based on the French mirepoix. “The holy trinity of Cajun cuisine” utilizes onion, celery, and bell pepper (rather than carrots) to provide a flavor base for many dishes. Garlic is never far away from any stove, either. Paprika, thyme, file (ground sassafras leaves), parsley, green onions, and much more are also very common ingredients in Cajun kitchens.  Here at Milford Spice Company we have the Cajun Spice you desire for use in all your favorite Cajun-spiced dishes.

 

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