Today, to many Americans, Cajun and Creole cooking is mistakenly thought of as interchangeable, and while there are indeed some similarities between the two cuisines, there are also pronounced differences between them. Culinary historians have said that Cajun and Creole cooking are two of the three uniquely American cuisines with New Mexican cuisine being the other.
On a low sodium diet but still craving some Big Easy spice and heat? Well you'll find this to be an ideal Cajun Seasoning.
Creole cuisine evolved from the area's more affluent 18th century aristocrat's desire to develop their own majestic cuisine similar to that found in Europe at the time. Most of these were 1st generation French immigrants and of those many were often 2nd sons who stood no chance in inheriting land and wealth from their families back home so they set out to America to stake their claim to wealth and fortune. Many of their original recipes used during this time were from familiar classic French or Spanish cooking techniques that were then fused with local foods to create their own signature cuisine -- Creole cooking.
Cajuns on the other hand, are the descendants of approximately 3,000 French refugees who migrated to the area from Acadia, Canada between 1764 and 1785. They lived outside the city, worked the land and formed a kindred spirit with the German and Spanish immigrants and Native Americans in the area.
As a rule of thumb, Cajun dishes are one-pot creations like gumbos, dirty rice, jambalaya, fried catfish and a spicy smoked sausage called Andouille (pronounced as "ahn-do-wee"). Cajun cooking features simple ingredients and pork fat is a base in many dishes.
They initially referred to themselves as Acadians (pronounced "uh-kay-dee-uh n") and by 1800s the local Anglo population began referring to them as Cajuns.
When they moved down to the Louisiana region they brought their flavor and food preferences with them. Much of these, such as wheat, proved impossible to grown so corn soon became a staple of their diet until it was replaced by rice in the 1920s. They were prolific farmers and grew every kind of legumes and pot herbs. They also cultivated an amazing array of fruit trees – apples (multiple assortments), apricots, figs (3 types), peaches (several), pears and plums (also several variations).
The first written record of Gumbo's occurred in 1803 at the gubernatorial reception in New Orleans (Pierre Clément de Laussat was the 24th Governor of Louisiana and the last under French rule). The dish's exact origins remain murky but there was both a Creole and Cajun version of this dish. The Cajun version was differentiated by its roux base and the use of okra. By the start of the Civil War (1861-1865) Cajun cooks had developed numerous varieties of gumbo.
It wasn't until the early 1900s that seafood became a more significant part of the Cajun diet. Fish consumption was initially limited only to the meatless days of the Lenten season. The introduction of refrigeration (called ice boxes at the time) and the state highway system being built in the 1920s and '30s launched a New Orleans food revolution. The popularity of the Model T coupled with the nation's interest in taking to the road drove numerous tourists down to the Crescent City to sample the local Creole fare (especially seafood).
After WW II (1939-1945) Cajuns were becoming quite fond of beef, rice and gravy dishes. Seafood for the Cajuns had continued to be limited to only during Lent until Louisiana's oil industry took off in the early 1950s. Offshore drilling ignited the area's oil boom which brought much needed jobs and oil royalties, this drew thousands of young Cajun men into the industry and they quickly developed an appreciation for seafood prepared by the rig's galley cooks. These men took their fondness for seafood back home where their bigger paychecks allowed the family more leisure time as well as the means to experiment with seafood dishes in their newly constructed ranch-style homes.
This new found wealth also drove the more affluent Cajuns to dine in the city's restaurants where they preferred their seafood fried. Because frying is such a messy process when they prepared seafood at home they tended to prefer etouffees, fricassees and gravy.
In the 1980s Cajun chef Paul Prudhomme, who was raised by his sharecropper parents on a farm near Opelousas, in Louisiana's Acadian region, single handedly put Cajun cuisine on the national radar as he launched a nationwide culinary tour of the US. Everywhere that he introduced his innovative Cajun dishes thousands of people would wait in line just to get a taste.
This popularity actually led to the subsequent downfall of this majestic style of Cajun cooking. Almost as soon as chef Prudhomme's popularity starting to skyrocket imitators and corporate America were not far behind in trying to get in on a cut of the action. Soon these imitators were producing highly spiced concoctions that did not resemble classic Cajun dishes. The onslaught of imitators reached its peak in the late 1990s. By then New Orleans, always known among locals as a Creole centered city (which actually disdained Cajun cuisine), tried to highjack the cuisine as their own as a further way to fuel their burgeoning tourism machine.
Simultaneously Cajun homes became two income households who started eating out more frequently and became much less likely to engage in creative culinary adventures when at home. So as the younger generations have assumed more financial power in the region, the local culinary landscape has shifted from the home to local restaurants where Cajun food is no longer created by true Cajuns but by chefs with disciplines learned from other cooking traditions. In many ways it's really become a bastardized version of its former self.
Besides making your own dirty rice, gumbo or jambalaya you can use our Cajun Seasoning anywhere else you want some down on the Bayou flavor – on the grill, on your broiled shrimp or maybe you have some fresh crawfish and want to show somebody that isn't from the great state of Louisiana how to "pinch the tail and suck the head"!
Some of our favorite recipes using Salt Free Cajun Seasoning include Crispy Cajun Chicken Wings, Cajun Grilled Sweet Potatoes, Crispy Cajun Chicken and Dirty Vegetarian Farro.
Now for best results we always recommend listening to some New Orleans Jazz whenever using this seasoning.
Has a bit of mild pungent spiciness to it with just a bit of heat.
Hand blended from paprika, garlic, onion, black pepper, thyme, white pepper, oregano, cayenne and sage.
Serving Size1 tsp
Amount Per Serving
% Daily Value*