The Cajun and Creole cultures are quite distinct and so are their cuisines. The Creoles were the European born aristocrats, wooed by the Spanish to establish New Orleans in the 1690's. Second born sons, who could not own land or titles in their native countries, were offered the opportunity to live and prosper in their family traditions here in the New World. They brought with them not only their wealth and education, but their chefs and cooks. With these chefs came the knowledge of the grand cuisines of Europe.
The influences of classical and regional French, Spanish, German and Italian cooking are readily apparent in Creole cuisine. The terminologies, precepts, sauces, and major dishes carried over, some with more evolution than others, and provided a solid base or foundation for Creole cooking.
Bouillabaisse is a soup that came from the Provence region of France in and around Marseille. This dish is integral to the history of Creole food because of the part it played in the creation of gumbo.
The Spanish, who actually played host to this new adventure, gave Creole food its spice, many great cooks, and paella, which was the forefather of Louisiana's jambalaya. Paella is the internationally famous Spanish rice dish made with vegetables, meats and sausages. On the coastline, seafoods were often substituted for meats. Jambalaya has variations as well, according to the local ingredients available at different times of the year.
The Germans who arrived in Louisiana in 1690 were knowledgeable in all forms of charcuterie and helped establish the boucherie and fine sausage making in South Louisiana. They brought with them not only the pigs, but chicken and cattle as well. A good steady supply of milk and butter was seldom available in South Louisiana prior to the arrival of the Germans.
The Italians were also famous for their culinary talents. Since they were summoned to France by Catherine de Medicis, to teach their pastry and ice cream making skills to Europeans, many Creole dishes reflect the Italian influence and their love of good cooking.
Chef John D. Folse Cec, Aac; shared by Fred Towner; Mm by Dorothy