What’s the Difference Between Cajun Food & Creole Food?
Louisiana is known for many things, both good and bad. Like having the best football in the country, Mardi Gras, the birthplace and home of jazz, our own brand of politics... and of course... our food. No other state in the union can claim the rich, multi-cultural heritage of some of the best food in the country.
A huge misnomer outside of Louisiana, especially the farther you go up north, is that anyone from Louisiana is a cajun. Being from North Louisiana, we know this couldn't be further from the truth. According to Louisiana Travel:
The word “Cajun” originates from the term “les Acadiens,” 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 1700s, the Acadians were forcibly removed from their home in what become known as Le Grand Dérangement, 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 term Creole refers to a completely different segment of the population, with a completely different culture. Creole describes those born to French colonial settlers in New Orleans. And both Creole and Cajun have their own separate cultures and food. Creole food is influenced by a 'gumbo' of cultures, including Caribbean, Spanish, German, African, and Portuguese, to name but just a few.
But if you want to simplify the difference between Cajun & Creole food... it's tomatoes. Yup... tomatoes. Creole cuisine, know as "city food," uses tomatoes in the cooking, whereas cajun cooking, or "country food"...doesn't use tomatoes. Now this is as a general rule. Although the cultures continue to blend, there is still a distinct difference between the two. But the bottom line is... if you want authentic cajun or creole food... you're only going to get it right here in Lousiana.
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