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The controversial origins of Cajun cooking

Who doesn’t love a steaming hot bowl of gumbo on a cool winter’s night?

Cajun food is known for its strong flavours and spice. It relies on spices like bay leaf, bell pepper, black pepper, chilli and cayenne pepper for its characteristic smoky flavour. Our precise blend of cajun spices is a great addition to your kitchen and will make whipping up a hearty creole-inspired dish a breeze.

However heartwarming cajun food is, the story behind the cuisine’s origins is controversial. Surprisingly enough, this cuisine has its origins far north of Louisiana, its common geographical association.

The term ‘cajun’ comes from the phrase ‘les Acadians’, after Acadian, the region of current day Maine, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia where French-speaking inhabitants were forcibly deported from by the British in the late 1700s. They eventually settled in southern Louisiana. Because of the dramatic change in climate, the settlers were not able to cook their traditional recipes. Their adaptation to the new climate became Cajun cuisine.

The new settlers to Louisiana were poor, and as a result, had to rely heavily on the addition of rice to their food. It made a soup or stew ‘stretch’ across the entire family. Another common trait is the addition of a roux, a reflection of the cuisine’s French origins. The addition of a roux to a soup made it thick and creamy. Game animals were traditionally used, and still are in some parts of Louisiana. Cured meats, like spiced andouille sausage, are very common, as well as seafood - which would have been available in abundance by the early settlers.

Over time, various other cultures began to have an influence on Cajun cooking. The native Americans in the area introduced the settlers to local spices and vegetables, like corn and sassafras root. Tomatoes from southern and central America found their way into Cajun cooking, and the influx of slaves from Africa introduced even more variety - most notably okra.

Now that you know a little bit about the origins of Cajun food, why not order our cajun spice blend for your next hearty, healthy dinner? Follow JD Seasonings on Facebook, add us on Twitter and check out our great recipes on Instagram today.