Louisiana Creole cuisine

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Dishes typical of Creole food
An example of creole Jambalaya.

Louisiana Creole cuisine is a style of cooking originating in Louisiana, United States which blends French, West African, Amerindian, Spanish, Portuguese, and Italian influences,[1] as well as general Southern cuisine. The Cajun's largely assimilated and adopted Creole cuisine for their own. Although the Creole cuisine is closely identified with New Orleans culture today, much of it evolved in the country plantation estates so beloved of the pre-Civil War Creoles.[2] (Despite its aristocratic French roots, Creole cuisine does not include Garde Manger or other extremely lavish styles of the Classical Paris cuisine.)

It is generally known that there are two types of Creole cuisine: Urban Creole and Rural Creole. Urban Creoles cuisine is observed and prepared for mainly tourist of New Orleans. Rural Creole cuisine is usually hidden in the bayous and swamps of the Old Creole Parishes/Acadiana or Creole Country. Since the 1980s, Rural Creole cuisine has largely been mistakenly labeled as Cajun cuisine (due to Cajunization and CODOFIL ).


The African influences, which were extensive, came about because many of the cooks were African and/or Creole of African descent. They brought with them the use of hot peppers and okra, which is called "gombo" in some West African languages. The importance of rice with many creole dishes was also influenced by African cooks as well as the layers of flavors in creole cooking techniques. The Indigenous people of Louisiana introduced sassafras leaves, also known as filé, a thickening agent used in gumbo, along with corn dishes like maque choux. The Portuguese, Spanish, Italian, and Canarian influences on Creole cuisine were the wide usage of citrus juice marinades. The Portuguese, Spaniards and the Italians 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 settlers (roughly, 1815 to 1925). Many of them became grocers, bakers, cheese makers and orchard farmers, and so influenced the Creole cuisine in New Orleans and its suburbs.

The first French, Spanish and Portuguese 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.[3]

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."[4]

Starting in the 1980s, Creole cuisine began to be relabeled Cajun cuisine. An example of this relabeling is by Chef Paul Prudhomme. A national interest in Creole cooking developed, and many tourists went to New Orleans expecting to find true Creole food there (being unaware that the city was culturally and geographically separate from the Old Creole Parishes/Acadiana). The "New New Orleans Cooking" of celebrity chef Emeril Lagasse includes Creole dishes, both rural and urban. In his writings and TV shows, Lagasse both draws the distinction between the misnomer "Cajun" for rural Creole and urban Creole. [5]

With the rise of southern American Cooking in the 1980s, a New Creole (sometimes called Nouvelle Creole or Neo-American Creole Fusion) 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 rural Creole, Southern, Southwestern, and to a lesser degree Southeast Asian. While the label "Cajun" on rural Creole food eventually passed, Modern Creole has remained as a predominant force in most major restaurants throughout Louisiana.

Classic Creole dishes[edit]


Oysters Rockefeller


Southern Oxtail Soup

Main dishes[edit]

Lobster creole

Side dishes[edit]


Austin Leslie's Creole bread pudding with vanilla whiskey sauce, from the late Pampy's Restaurant in New Orleans, Louisiana



Eggs Sardou with gulf shrimp added and grits on the side


See also[edit]

New Orleans restaurants[edit]


  1. ^ Beggs, Cindy, Gipson, Bridget, Shaw, Sherrie. "Cajun and Creole Cuisine." University of West Florida. Accessed July 2011.
  2. ^ George Washington Cable, The Creoles of Louisiana, Pelican Press, ISBN 1-56554-752-7
  3. ^ The full text and page images can be found at Feeding America: The Historic American Cookbook Project.
  4. ^ "Windsor Hotel" restaurant (Jacksonville, Florida) menu dated January 5, 1882, item: "Chicken Saute, á la Creole"
  5. ^ Emeril Lagasse, Emeril's NEW New Orleans Cooking, William Morrow, ISBN 0-688-11284-6

External links[edit]