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Creole vs Cajun

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 
What's the difference? I've read several articles. The only thing I got is that Creole Jambalaya is reddened with tomatoes and Cajun is not.
post #2 of 13
They're generally not used in precise ways and often used interchangably in regards to food in the US.

When used correctly, Cajun refers to the people and their food/culture who are descended from the French-Canadian Acadian immigrants in Louisiana.

Creole when used correctly refers to people, culture and language (usually a pidgin hybrid) of foreign(usually Europe, most often Spain) descent in a new area. Creole as a proper noun can refer to Louisiana, or West Indies or a few other cultures.

So Cajun would be a specific instance of a creole occurrence.

But Louisianans would probably dispute my definitions.

Phil
Palace of the Brine -- "I hear the droning in the shrine of the sea monkeys." Saltair
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Palace of the Brine -- "I hear the droning in the shrine of the sea monkeys." Saltair
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post #3 of 13
Creole is city, cajun is backwoods.
Upscale versus downhome and rustic.
Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit. Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.
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Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit. Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.
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post #4 of 13
I've also heard just the opposite of China Jim's post...
Palace of the Brine -- "I hear the droning in the shrine of the sea monkeys." Saltair
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Palace of the Brine -- "I hear the droning in the shrine of the sea monkeys." Saltair
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post #5 of 13
Well, I'm not Cajun Jim ;)
Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit. Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.
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Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit. Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.
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post #6 of 13
Nor am I. Nor am I a chef so you may have more clout in your statement. But it may also show that they are used interchangably by most of the US?
Palace of the Brine -- "I hear the droning in the shrine of the sea monkeys." Saltair
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Palace of the Brine -- "I hear the droning in the shrine of the sea monkeys." Saltair
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post #7 of 13
Thread Starter 

Creole vs Cajun

Is there a big difference in the cooking styles? If so, what are some examples?
post #8 of 13
Just to flush out some of the explanations. Creole cooking is the descendant of European cooking styles, Mostly French and Spanish. It was sort of metamorphosized by the African servants that were taught to cook for their masters by European cooks. Along the way some African style and ingredients got folded into the cuisine. The African translation for okra, as an example is, gumbo. Cajun food is more hunter gatherer type of cuisine , more rustic. This is where all the 'gator dishes,squirrel, coon, catfish courtbouillion and what not come from. There's also alot of old school german heritage which involves sausage making and boucherie type cuisine that have been passed down for generations.
post #9 of 13
I've lived in Southern La. for 15 years.....
Cajun is country. Paul Prodhomme was brought up Cajun in Opeloussas. gumbo, creole, jambayla, boils, etouffee, red beans and rice, boudin, beignets all are cajun.

New Orleans is mainly Creole. Oysters Rockefeller, Bienville, Crepes.....as someone posted citified cooking.

Until recently it was almost impossible to find good or for that matter any boudin in New Orleans. There have been some interesting restaurants open in New Orleans since Katrina that meld the two or bring in more Cajun influenced dishes.

There's a difference.....it is difficult for "outsiders" to easily discern.
cooking with all your senses.....
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cooking with all your senses.....
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post #10 of 13
In some of Chef John Folse cookbooks, he goes into good detail about the history of Cajun and creole cooking in Louisiana. He's also got some television specials running on PBS that may be interesting (though I haven't seen them).

dan
post #11 of 13
John Folse is wonderful.....he had some incredible restaurants...one in a haunted house near the Sunshine Bridge that burned down. Killer "intercontinental torte". And the best Jazz Brunch at a Plantation along River Road.....oh man the coconut cream pie was memorable (this was 20+ years ago). Got a copy of his first cookbook, and the beignet recipe is right on. John has had older venerable cooks on his television show, many I would give my eye teeth to work with.......

Time-Life series probably goes into Cajun vs Creole debate.

I miss Louisiana, about this time of year it's siren call tempts me to hop in the car and head south 11 hours.
cooking with all your senses.....
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cooking with all your senses.....
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post #12 of 13
One of these days I'd love to take a couple day food tour through Louisiana. Your above description has really got my taste buds jumping, maybe I better cook something from the Plantation Cookbook.

thanks for the thoughts,
dan
post #13 of 13
On the subject of creole vs. cajun:
I'm not from southwest LA, but I was the guitarist in Kenny Menards zydeco band for about six or seven years and of course got quite an education about the differences between cajun/creole as applied to both food and music.

Shroomgirl is right on the money in clearly defining the differences in the food.

Cajun is short (or slang) for Acadian. Acadia is the old name for what is now known as Nova Scotia. In 1755, the protestant english population expelled the catholic french population from the area (quite brutally, I'm told). The now homeless community of french catholics went south, and followed the Mississippi, unable to find new settlements until they got to the end of the line (New Orleans), and they were not warmly welcomed there either, so the went to the swamps of southwest Louisiana.

At least thats the story I got several times in the tour van.

The booking agent was from New Orleans, and refered to Kenny (from Lafayette) and Russell Ardoin (from Mamou) as "a couple of dumb-*** redneck cajuns" but this was on par with the general vernacular of the band so no offense was taken.
Many of the musicians I came in contact with identified themselved as neither cajun or even southern, but as french.
And I know that this has nothing to do with the food, but does have to do with the meaning of "cajun" so I thought I'd toss that in the thread.
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