Have you ever eaten gumbo before and wondered where it came from? Did you know that there are many countries that contributed to New Orleans most looked at the dishes. Which also intern brought many immigrants that brought their unique heritage into our country and that is what made New Orleans what it is today which is a capital of food and seasoning.Generally people do not realize or take into account of how many other ethnicities and countries that have contributed to Louisiana dishes. Thus, people are eating things they do not know the full history of and are just eating it just because it is popular or indigenous to that country where they might be.
Do not get me wrong, that is not a bad thing, But there are some people that might want to know where there foods come from and get to know a little more history. That is why I want to make it a little easier and giving a few facts on some popular dishes that most people I am sure have eaten and make the dish more worth wild eating. It has created a uniqueness within our state. Learning about the history of gastronomy in Louisiana will help people to better understand Louisiana as a whole. The diversity within Louisiana is a result of the numerous immigrants that have come from Europe, China, and other countries.
The immigrants from these countries have contributed to the overall culture of Louisiana. Without them, we would not have such amazing foods to indulge in or call our own. These foods are dug deep within the soul of Louisiana without the pride of our food how Louisiana would just be a place know for parades and that’s just mediocre. Who does not love to eat, people come here to enjoy our great food with all its respective ingredients, flavors and whosoever was kind enough to make it for them for the right price most of the time.
The story of gumbo starts off in 1719 when enslaved Africans were brought to the French colony in Louisiana. Within two years more than half of the African population was in Louisiana and they all brought their amazing cooking skills. Even then, before references of gumbo were made Africans knew how making gumbo in the kitchens of their owners. The dish today still spans across all ethnicities just like it did when it was first brought to America that is why it is the official dish of Louisiana guess you could say it was born and raised there. It is sort of what makes Louisiana what it is today besides Mardi Gra. Gumbo is the best constable representation of New Orleans- spicy, saucy, flavorful and diverse country. This dish is eaten by every class, and though the ingredients may vary from the household, the history and wonderment are always present in the heart and soul of whoever made it.
As far as gumbo goes, there are as many types of gumbo as there are cooks in Louisiana. Saying that I could name all the types of gumbo, but that wouldn’t be much of an amusing paper to read am I right? I will however go over some of the basic types. There are three different types of gumbo: chicken and sausage, seafood, and herbs. Now these are the three bases u could say of gumbo, but cooks all around the world make it different from the stuff they add or take away depending on their cooking style or their heritage.
For instance, there is a gumbo called Gumbo with a side of Zydeco this gumbo is a type of chicken and sausage gumbo, but it also has smoked duck in it. This specific gumbo is only made by chef Ernest Prejean. Like him and many other chefs around the world they have mastered their craft and was able to put their own unique spin on gumbo and still have a great taste. And that alone is an amazing thing to come up with something and have people all around the world want to pay and eat your own gumbo. This is another reason why food is such a big deal for LouisianaAs already stated in my previous paragraphs gumbo was originated in New orleans, Louisiana and was created by the French, but enhanced by these several cultures cajuns,(first known as the Canadian immigrants), the French, Choctaw Tribesmen, African Americans, Spaniards, Italians, and Germans. In actuality the dish itself is based on the french soup Bouillabaisse.
However, the dishes name is from the French interpretation of the west african name of okra. From the Bantu word ngombo meaning okra. You can can not tell u can see the resemblance between to two words Gumbo and ngombo. The history of the name of gumbo is not all that lengthy but is a big part of how it came to be.
Without the name what could you call such a dish such as that? As far as the cultures contributing to the dish each with their own unique ingredient there is much to find on it. But some people know the obvious like the Italians contributed the sausage. The french and germans both made french bread which goes with gumbo if u so choose to indulge in it.
As you can see there is a lot these other countries did to contribute to our food heritage. Without the kindness of the people in these other countries how could we be eating all of these great foods? This is yet another great reason why i think people should know more about their heritage of the food they eat because ik people from all around the world come here just to eat what our ancestors provided and passed down to us.This crop i am about to talk about is so vital to the world its number 4 on the top most valuable crops in the world! People know this crop as rice and rice is used in most of our dishes here in Louisiana . Rice alone has fed more people over a longer period of time than any other crop. This wonderful crop dates back all the way to 2500 B.
C. rice has been documented in some history books as a source of food as well as tradition. As people might have guessed the cultivation of rice began in china and its surrounding areas it then spread throughout Southern Europe and even some of North Africa. Rice then was brought to the new world from Europe. From Portugal it was brought into Brazil and from spain to central and South America. Rice can be taken to so many parts of the world due to its versatility. Rice can grow in the harshest conditions it was able to grow in the desert conditions of Saudi Arabia, also in the wetland deltas of Southeast asia in the flooded rice plants which people are most familiar with. Rice being able to grow in this wide spectrum of climates is the reason rice is the most widely eaten foods of the world.
Rice is so important to us because it is used is so many of our dishes like red beans in rice, crawfish etouffee, jambalaya, and you guessed it gumbo. Rice is a big crop for New Orleans because if you have not noticed we eat it just about every day. We even eat rice by itself with a little butter that just shows how filing it is and how without it what would we do. I think rice should be praised and the very first person is the world who found rice should get and award.New orleans is known for putting its own twist to things as far as spices and other ingredients our heritage is so wonderful we came up with the dish Dirty Rice.
There is a dish that involves the amazing crop rice that new orleans came up with on its own and it is called dirty rice. What exactly is dirty rice? Dirty rice is a traditional cuisine invented by Creole a dish made from the rice which gets its “dirty” color from being cooked with small pieces of chicken liver or giblets, green bell pepper, celery, and onion and spiced with cayenne and black pepper. Parsley and chopped green onions are common garnishes for the dish. Dirty rice is most common in the Creole regions of southern Louisiana; however, it can also be found in other areas of the american south. Dirty rice is a centuries old soul food classic created by african americans. Sadly most of the history and origin of dirty rice was hidden from history which means it can not be accurately recorded. Consequently, much has become lost in translation as have many other african americans contributions.
Some place its origin in the coastal states of the Louisiana Bayou and some say in the Carolina Low Country. Dirty rice is yet another creative dish designed to stick to your ribs and cure your hunger. African americans are also coming up with dishes such as the ones listed above without regular white rice how could have african americans made dirty rice. This further proves my point of learning the history of our wonderful state. Our state has a lot to offer not to many countries can say they had this much help creating some of the best foods on the planet. Red beans and rice is one of the most delectable dishes there is in my opinion and ofc there is some background around this dish as well. When it comes to the traditional favorite red beans and rice most of the dish is originated from Louisiana. However, There is a whole lot more than meets the eye with this traditional dish.
The bean plant that is used for the beans did originate in America, but was actually native to West Africa. The plant was introduced to America when African slaves were forced by the Spanish to move to Louisiana during the New World era. Since the crop was the easiest to grow in the harsh swamps of the land, it quickly became important to both African slaves and the Louisianans.
Back then food eventually grew scrace and the well known dish became a household staple in almost every home just because of its inexpensive cost. The dish included and assortment of herbs and spices which made the meal more enjoyable. In addition it may not look like it but the dish is high in protein, iron and vitamin B.
This dish is all around great because it is a hot meal and it gives u the nutrition you need to make it through the day. At the time back then health was not really the objective. Food was food.
Sometimes if there was meat available to throw in or leftovers such as a ham bone or maybe even a pork chop or sausage that was thrown in the pot as well. Even today people are accustomed to eating red beans and rice with some type of meat. I am sure everybody knows that red beans and rice are eaten on Mondays.
But do you know why that is? It all started from a typical Louisiana house wife doing daily chores. In the 19th century, Monday was laundry day in the city and without washing machines the ladies had to clean every single piece of clothing by hand. Imagine how brutal that would be. So u could imagine they did not have enough time to cook. They needed something that could simmer and slow cook while they did the laundry and there came the idea of red beans and rice on Mondays.When u think of seafood in Louisiana what is the first thing that comes to mind? When i think of seafood in Louisiana i think of crawfish. Dating back to the native Americans and the early European settlers, crawfish has always been and inherent part of Louisiana culture . Crawfish was abundant in the swamps and marshes across south Louisiana, crawfish were a favorite food for early residents.
Decades later, crawfish season in Louisiana is till exciting, with crawfish bold and backyard parties and traditional time some people know and love. In 1972 Louisiana elected the first Cajun governor, Edwin Edwards, whose campaign slogan was “Cajun Power”! That slogan occasionally appeared with a clenched fist, similar to the black power symbol except the first gripped a crawfish. In 1983 crawfish was designated the Louisiana state crustacean making Louisiana the first state to have a state crustacean; only Maryland Oregon have followed the trend. Still today many rice farmers grow their own crawfish along side there rice crops. The muddy ponds rice is grown in are a perfect environment for crawfish.
Demand for has grown so high that crawfish farming is now required for meeting consumer needs. I would say crawfish is like a little gold mine. Most importantly, the little mudbugs have become inextricably woven into our culture and traditions. They are iconic.
During spring they are something people can not live without. When i come to Luisiana I come for a couple things to see family, explore and most of all the beignets. Beignets is a square of fried dough eaten hot sprinkled with powdered sugar.
According to the food historian Cathy kaufman, it is said to believe beignets were first introduced into the Mediterranean area of France by the Spaniards in the MIddle Ages. There are documents stating from that time period refer to deep fried balls of dough as pets de nonne, which were also referred to as “Spanish beignets”. The origins of the word beignet are likewise unknown. But some say it might have came from the celtic word “bigne” which means to raise. The exact origin of the pastury is debatable but it is known that the French colonist of the eighteenth century are responsible for introducing the deep fried dish to New Orleans. Some even believe it was the Ursuline nuns of France who brought the recipe with them when they came to Louisiana in 1727.
The original beignets were filled with fruit. The restaurant most often associated with beignets is the Cafe Du Monde, located on Decatur Street in the French Quarter just across from Jackson Square.In conclusion all of these dishes that I talked about were given to us with some type of help from other cultures. Without them we would be nothing in the food industry and we could not have thought to have all these flavors and foods at our disposal. It is just good to thank the people who came before us and know a little more about the foods you eat much of it was because of them and they should be acknowledged sometimes.