Tuesday 22 May 2012

Interesting Food Fact: Cajun = Canadian?

When you think of  "Cajun Cuisine" what words come to mind? Louisiana? Rustic? Gumbo? Spicy? Comfort? Canadian? Well, whether you know it already or not, all of these adjectives do fit perfectly well with Cajun culture. Before Canada officially became Canada there was a long ongoing tug-of-war between France and England over whose territory was whose. In what is now the Canadian province of Nova Scotia (including some neighbouring areas) was once a land called Acadia and many French immigrants settled there to start anew.
In 1755 the English occupied Acadia and commanded the inhabitants to pledge allegiance to the British monarchy. The French, in so many words, said "Forget the Crown, we are French!"
Well, the English didn't appreciate this reaction very much and many Acadians were banished back to France, to prisons in England, and many other locations. About 1,600 French Canadians managed to escape and migrated south through what is now the United States and after a long journey settled in New Orleans, Louisiana. They were generally devout Catholics so they had little problems getting along with the Spanish who occupied most of the area at the time. The French brought with them French cuisine. Many of their dishes stemmed from the revered trio of French cooking known as the mirepoix (onion, carrot, and celery) whereby most of their soups, stews, and sauces derived from. Bell peppers eventually replaced carrots in this combination and, you guessed it, the "Holy Trinity" of bayou cuisine was born: onion, celery, and bell pepper.
The rest is history, but there you have it! A very simplified account of how generations of people went from French, to Canadian, to good ol' Southern folk of the US of A. Not to mention all of the foody history that followed them. That is how Acadian cuisine became Cajun cuisine. 

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