I grew up in an area of the world known as the Gulf South. It comprises the coasts of American states that are on the Gulf of Mexico, which includes Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and Florida.
You could consider me a Cajun born in a Louisiana suburb known as Beaumont, Texas. Although technically I am a Texan, I cling to my Louisiana roots. It has been argued that Louisiana is the good food and good time capital of America. Those who has experienced living in that culture understand instinctively that delicious food is vital to hospitality… and nothing’s is quite as good as the taste of classic Cajun fare.
Cajuns are the descendants of the French settlers–the Acadians–who were driven out of Nova Scotia in the 1700’s by the English and came to settle in the bountiful landscape of the south Louisiana bayous. Their food reflects their own generosity of spirit; crawfish and catfish plucked from backyard waterways, shrimp and oysters taken from the nearby Gulf of Mexico, duck and other game birds bagged at family hunting camps hidden away on grassy marsh islands, and vegetables and fruits harvested from gardens not ten steps from the kitchen door, all of it fried, stewed, smothered, barbecued, boiled, and baked in joyful and delicious abundance.
I lost my mother early in life, but I was blessed to have two grandmothers, Maud Phoenix (my company’s namesake) and Alma Johnson, who were true daughters of the bayou. Their cooking style were simple and true. Their etouffees, gumbos and jambalayas, not to mention their biscuits, cobblers and candies, are the building blocks of my fondest childhood memories.
Occasionally, I will be sharing on this blog recipes and stories from that part of me.
What is your experience with the Cajun culture?