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Cajun and Creole foods.People in Louisiana take their food seriously. Meal time is a big part of the culture in the deep south. It’s a time for people to pull up a chair and really get to know each other better. The best kinds of people always connect over food that way.

Louisianans also have a lot to be proud of in their food. Cajun and Creole food is some of the most beloved in the whole country.

They’re foods also deeply tied to the history of the people who make it. It’s that very history that shapes what the food is. That same history also defines the difference between Cajun and Creole foods, themselves. So, why do we need an article about the difference between them? Well, they often get confused for one another – much to the chagrin of many a native Louisianan.

Why Do Creole and Cajun Foods Get Confused for One Another?

Firstly, there’s the obvious fact that they come from the same region of the United States. They’re both exports from Louisiana.

Because they come from the same area, they also have many of the same ingredients. Some of those ingredients are rarer in other parts of the United States. By that same token, ingredients that are plentiful in the rest of the country weren’t always available in Louisiana.

People of the area had to create their own unique recipes based on what they had.

They also use a lot of similar recipes with their own Creole and Cajun versions of each. For example, there are both Cajun and Creole versions of Gumbo and Jambalaya – quintessential meals from the Louisiana region.

Another reason they can be confused for one another is that they both are greatly influenced by French cuisine. In fact, the Creole people and Cajun people both have French origins.

Who Were the Creole People?

Between the Cajuns and the Creoles, the Creoles came first. In 1722, the New Orleans area was founded by the French. They weren’t the only ones there, however. Spaniards and Germans also settled the area. With them, they brought slaves from West Africa. And, of course, there were also the Native Americans who were already living in the area.

It was a hot bed of culinary influences.

Despite this being a dark period in history as far as slavery goes, it was also a period whose influences are still apparent today.

Many of these settlers were rich aristocrats who had access to trade that wasn’t available to others in the area. That’s why the Creoles were able to use ingredients others weren’t. That includes things like tomatoes and exotic herbs.

The Creoles also had servants in their household. These servants had extra time to spend making complex and subtle recipes. They also brought with them their own influences that mixed with the other cultures of the time.

The Creoles also predominantly settled into the New Orleans area, rather than the greater Louisiana region around it – thus why Creole food is sometimes called, “city food.”

Who Were the Cajun People?

The Cajuns were first known as the Acadians. In fact, this is where the word ‘Cajun’ evolved from.

Who were the Acadians? People from Acadia, of course. But, where is Acadia? Acadia was a region in the Northeast of North America.

Like New Orleans, Acadia was a French territory.

The Acadians lived in Acadia in relative peace for a time until the French and Indian War. This was the North American theater of the Seven Years’ War.

During the war, British officers grew suspicious of the French Acadians. Through what is now called The Great Expulsion, they drove the Acadians out.

These Acadians fled to surrounding areas with some making their way as far south as Louisiana.

When they got to Louisiana, they weren’t rich and well connected like the French Creoles already living in the area.

Rather, they moved into the surrounding country. While Creole food benefited from maritime trade, the Acadians lived off the land. These are the people who later became known as the Cajuns.

As a result, Cajun food became known as “country food.”

It’s this history that defines the difference between Creole food and Cajun food.

Creole food has more ingredients including non-local ingredients. Cajun food has fewer ingredients and they’re pretty much all local.

Creole food, having been made by servants tends to be more ‘delicate.’ By contrast, Cajun food was made by the families who ate it.

So, there you have it. The difference between Creole and Cajun foods lies in their history.