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Dishes typical of Creole food

Louisiana Creole cuisine is a style of cooking originating in Louisiana (centered on the Greater New Orleans area) which is a melting pot cuisine that blends African,French, Portuguese, Spanish, Canarian, Caribbean, Mediterranean, Deep Southern American, andIndian influences. It also bears hallmarks of British, Irish, Italian, Dutch, German, Albanian, and Greek cuisines. There are some contributions from Native Americans as well. It is incorrectly compared to Cajun cuisine. Cajun cuisine is an off shoot of Creole Cuisine which was created by the African Cooks who worked in the earliest French Kitchen's in the early days of the colony before the Cajuns arrived from Nova Scotia in 1765. In fact what has been termed the holy trinity) is a combination of ingredients used by Africans today in African Cuisine. The first slaves arrived in Louisiana in 1718 and were responsible for tilling the land, growing the crops, cooking the food, washing the clothes and doing every, any and all physical labor. It stands to reason that the cuisine of Louisiana whether Creole or Cajun has its roots in the kitchens where African and Creole Slaves labored. Today we can find many similarities between the Creole Cuisines and the African: Jambalaya and Tebuh Jen, Gumbo is itself the African word for Okra.

The African influence on Creole cuisine is also apparant in the heat of the peppers, the wide usage of citrus juice marinades, the supreme importance of rice, and the introduction of beans. The West African Slaves brought to Louisiana their masterful skill of growing rice, planting and growing food and their vast knowlege of herbs. The Africans also used tomatoes extensively, which had not been a frequent ingredient in the earlier French era. Pasta and tomato sauces arrived during the period when New Orleans was a popular destination for Italian, Albanian, and Greek immigrants (roughly, 1815 to 1925). Many Italians, Albanians, and Greeks became grocers, bakers, cheese makers and orchard farmers, and so influenced the Creole cuisine in New Orleans and its suburbs. The African and Indian influences, which were extensive, came about because many of the servants were either African-American or Asian Indian American, as were many of the cooks in restaurants and cafes.

The first French, Spanish, and Italian Creole cookbooks date back to the era before the Louisiana Purchase. The first Creole cookbook in English was La Cuisine Creole: A Collection of Culinary Recipes, From Leading Chefs and Noted Creole Housewives, Who Have Made New Orleans Famous For Its Cuisine, written by Lafcadio Hearn and published in 1885.[1]

By that time Creole was already an identifiable regional cuisine recognized outside Louisiana: for example, an 1882 Florida hotel menu now in the New York Public Library's collection offered "Chicken Saute, á la Creole."[2]

Starting in the 1980s, Cajun influence became important, spurred by the popular restaurant of Chef Paul Prudhomme. A national interest in Cajun cooking developed, and many tourists went to New Orleans expecting to find Cajun food there (being unaware that the city was culturally and geographically separate from Acadiana), so entrepreneurs opened or rebranded restaurants to meet this demand. The "New New Orleans Cooking" of celebrity chef Emeril Lagasse includes both Cajun and Creole dishes. In his writings and TV shows, Lagasse both draws the distinction between Cajun and Creole and explains where they overlap.[3]

With the rise of southern American Cooking in the 1980s, a New Creole (or Nouvelle Creole) strain began to emerge. This movement is characterized in part by a renewed emphasis on fresh ingredients and lighter preparations, and in part by an outreach to other culinary traditions, including Cajun, Southern, Southwestern, and to a lesser degree Southeast Asian. While the Cajun food craze eventually passed, Modern Creole has remained as a predominant force in most major New Orleans restaurants.


Classic dishes



  • Crabmeat Ravigote
  • Oysters Bienville


Main Dishes

Side Dishes




See also

New Orleans restaurants


  1. ^ The full text and page images can be found at Feeding America: The Historic American Cookbook Project.
  2. ^ "Windsor Hotel" restaurant (Jacksonville, Florida) menu dated January 5, 1882, item: "Chicken Saute, á la Creole"
  3. ^ Emeril Lagasse, Emeril's NEW New Orleans Cooking, William Morrow, ISBN 0688112846

External links


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