Louisiana stands above other states when it comes to sumptuous cuisine. Its mere mention evokes a gastronomic craving for food that’s a little on the spicy side, which has influences from Spanish, Native American, Italian, German, African and Caribbean cookery. A couple of styles, however, stand out among other cuisines so much that they’re reflected in well-known Lafayette catering: Cajun and Creole. The two are easily interchangeable because of their French connection, yet there are ways to tell them apart.
The distinction was set sometime in the 18th century when Cajun and Creole dishes were whipped up often. Creole was associated with big city cooking since many people it fed were urban dwellers. Creole families were also well-to-do, having access to ingredients and seasonings considered expensive and exotic at the time: meat, seafood, sauces, and spices not typically found in Louisiana. Creoles lived right alongside foreign settlers and remained when Louisiana became a melting pot of cultures.
In the countryside, big pots boiled for Cajun cuisine. Ingredients came straight from the gardens and fields, while no part of animals that add texture to meals was wasted. Improvisation made up for the lack of ingredients in Cajun kitchens; bell pepper, onions, celery, garlic, paprika, parsley, green onions, cayenne pepper, and other spices. This resulted in tangy dishes; thus, the spicy flavor Cajun dishes are known for until now.
The contrast in the edible elements used in Louisiana’s more popular cuisines are hardly stark but recognizable in present-day delights. The gumbo or jambalaya, when cooked the proper Creole way, has tomatoes, while the Cajun kind does not. The roux-the ubiquitous thickening agent for sauces famous caterers in Lafayette LA use a few times too many-could also differentiate the two cuisines. Creole roux is made of butter and flour; the Cajun base is oil and flour.
The saying -a Creole feeds one family with three chickens and a Cajun feeds three families with one chicken,- in Louisiana kitchens has some truth to it. This is the case when it comes to preparation and style of cooking. Cajun cookery is straightforward ingredients-wise and not elaborately prepared. This, however, doesn’t diminish the essence of this kind of cooking taste-wise.
Creole cuisine is as delectable as Cajun but entails sophisticated prepping. A peek at a typical Creole menu would show pureed bisques or rich sauces and soups. Visit louisianatravel.com/cajun-vs-creole-food-difference or southernfood.about.com/od/cajuncuisine/a/Creole-And-Cajun-Cookery.htm for more info.