Ethnic American Food Today

51YeERR+DlL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_Graham Hoppe wrote the Cajun entry in “Ethnic American Food Today: a cultural encyclopedia.” The entry includes recipes from Yats’ Joe Vuskovich’s.

“Ethnic American Food Today: a cultural encyclopedia” is available for purchases here.

 An excerpt from the entry:

  Cajuns are a distinct ethnic group living in the southern United States, most notably in southern Louisiana. They are descended from the Acadians, a group of French colonials, who settled in the Maritime Provinces in eastern Canada. The heart of “Cajun Country” is Acadiana, twenty-two Louisiana parishes that stretch along the gulf coast from New Orleans to the Texas border. French speaking Acadian exiles after the French and Indian War initially settled Acadiana, and it remains the heart of Cajun culture in the U.S. today.

   Cajuns in Louisiana continue to preserve their culture and folkways through a distinctive French dialect, music, dance, festivals, and cuisine.

   With the exception of its most famous dish, Gumbo, Cajun cuisine as we know it today largely coalesced in the 20th century. Foods that are now deeply ingrained with Cajun culture, like crawfish and other seafood, gained popularity among Cajuns after refrigeration. It is probable that many of the distinctive elements that developed over the last century were consciously cultivated in an assertion of a unique Cajun identity.

   Cajun cooking has also been greatly influenced by its own commercial renaissance. With the popularity of iconic Cajun chefs, like Paul Prudhomme, as well as the immense popularity of Cajun or Cajun-influenced products, like Zatarain’s and Tabasco sauce, Cajun flavors have spread beyond their traditional boundaries. Historically there was a distinct divide between Cajun and Creole cuisine: Cajun was the rustic food of the country and Creole was the urban food of New Orleans. Today the two cuisines overlap and the differences between them are relatively minor.