Ca­jun vs. Cre­ole

Southern Living (USA) - - Travel & Culture -


a fair amount of smack talk be­tween teams at a gumbo com­pe­ti­tion. But Tookey He­bert, a for­mer sug­ar­cane farmer and fes­ti­val­goer from New Ibe­ria, had a few fight­ing words from the whole re­gion. “You’re not gonna get a bet­ter gumbo than Aca­di­ana,” he said. “New Or­leans doesn’t have good food like here. It’s for drink­ing and cut­ting up.”

He­bert was just de­liv­er­ing play­ful jabs, of course, though the dif­fer­ences be­tween Ca­jun coun­try cook­ing and Cre­ole city dishes shouldn’t be un­der­es­ti­mated. Gumbo cook-off chefs of­ten cited a lack of tomato in Ca­jun gum­bos as com­pared to New Or­leans-style gum­bos.

Ac­cord­ing to Sara Roa­hen’s ex­cel­lent book Gumbo Tales: Find­ing My Place at the New Or­leans Ta­ble (W.W. Nor­ton & Com­pany, Inc., 2008), Cre­ole gum­bos are also thicker and lighter in color than the Ca­jun va­ri­ety. Like many mat­ters of the heart (and belly) in a place with as rich a his­tory and col­lec­tion of cul­tures as Louisiana, the def­i­ni­tions can be as murky as the dish.

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