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February 16, 2017

The History of Cajun Food: From the Deep South to a Popular Restaurant Dish

Image 1: Crawfish has Historically Been a Popular Ingredient in Cajun Food

Cajun cuisine has long been a favorite type of food, not only in the deep south, but across the US and beyond too. Many people regularly enjoy visiting a local restaurant with their family for some

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traditional Cajun food, as they can eat a comforting meal that tastes at least as good as home cooking.

The word ‘Cajun’ comes from the term ‘les Acadians’. The Acadians were French colonists who originally made homes in the Acadia region of Canada. Cajun food has a proud history and traditional ingredients, but what has lead it to being such a staple menu in restaurants?

The Origins of Cajun Food

Traditional Cajun food can be traced back to the 1700s, when the Acadians were removed from their homes during the British Conquest of Acadia. Many of these Acadians settled in swampy regions of Louisiana, and they began to use whatever ingredients were available to them to create their food.

As they had very little money and resources, it was important for the Acadians to develop dishes that could stretch and feed many people while still being enjoyable and full of flavor.

What Makes Cajun Food So Distinctive?

Cajun food has signature ingredients and features that are found across most dishes. It’s characterised by heavy flavoring, though this shouldn’t be confused with spice, and is frequently made with seafood as this was easily available to Acadian fishermen. Crawfish is one of the most popular seafoods that is used in modern Cajun cuisine.

The ‘holy trinity’ of Cajun food is onions, bell pepper and celery. These three vegetables form the base flavor for many Cajun dishes, and cayenne pepper and garlic are common too.

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Cajun vs. Creole

Many people cannot distinguish between Cajun and Creole cuisine, as these two cultures’ cuisines can be seen as very similar. In reality, there are many differences, and Cajun food is said to be Country cuisine, while Creole food is City cuisine.

There is a major way that Cajun food is fundamentally different to Creole food: Creole food uses tomatoes as a key ingredient, but true Cajun food does not.

Cajun Food in Restaurants

It was a natural progression that a cuisine rooted in history, and with intense flavor, would begin to be served in restaurants across the world. Some of the most popular Cajun dishes include etouffee and jambalaya, and potatoes and corn are much-loved accompaniments to seasoned seafood such as crawfish.

Many families enjoy eating out at Cajun restaurants due to the sharing nature of the dishes. It’s popular for a party to share a platter of crawfish or other seafood, which makes eating out a social occasion.

Cajun food has come a long way since its humble origins, and is now a staple for many families across America.

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About Crazy Alan’s Swamp Shack: We’ve been providing delicious seafood and Cajun food with a twist to the residents of Houston, TX for years. Here at Crazy Alan’s Swamp Shack, we provide a fun and immersive dining experience for families who love great food, friendly staff and a welcoming atmosphere. Visit Crazy Alan’s Swamp Shack today!

Sources: Cajun Food History, Ethnic-Spicy-Food-And-More.com Cajun vs. Creole Food: What’s the Difference? , LouisianaTravel.com

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The history of cajun food from the deep south to a popular restaurant dish