Being of Acadian descent, our family is very interested in all things related to our ancestry and our people. I’m sure you remember reading that the Acadians were folks who came over from France and settled in what is now known as Nova Scotia, in the general vicinity of the Gaspereau Valley. They were kicked out in 1755 by the British who demanded that the population swear allegiance to the English King. The Acadians refused; but, then again, they also had refused to swear allegiance to the French King. So, as made famous in Evangeline, a Tale of Acadie by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, the Acadians were deported from their homes. This was called the Expulsion of the Acadians. Some 160 families ended up in Louisiana and from there – and from other sources as well – the Cajun culture took root.
There is a great mingling of cultures in Louisiana. While the term “Cajun” is used to describe these French families who landed in and around New Orleans, there other words associated with the culture of the area, such as Sabine. The Sabine population is multicultural and is located in the Paroisse de la Sabine. With a small population of some 25,000 as of 2010, they nonetheless have a distinct culture made of white, black and first nations descent. Meanwhile, you may also hear the term Redbone used.
In Louisiana, the Redbone cultural group consists mainly of the families of immigrants to the state following the Louisiana Purchase in 1803. These individuals may have ancestral ties to the Melungeons of North Carolina. The term ‘Redbone’ became a pejorative nickname applied by others to these people; however, in the past 30 years the term has begun to be used as the preferred description for some Creole groups, including the Louisiana Redbones.
Ok, so what we get out of this rich mixture of people and cultures is Greeeaaat Fooood…Everything from Louisiana Shrimp Grits to something called Slap Ya Mama Cajun Cornbread. Of course, absolutely identified to the area are Seafood Gumbo and Louisiana Crab Cakes. In recent years, many commercial seafood restaurants have “borrowed” Firecracker Shrimp as a one of their menu favourites. But you will also find Bourbon Chicken and a very distinctive dish named Boudin Balls.
So, we hope that you will open your mind when you come to Salamanders of Kemptville and if you see that we are trying some of these terrifically flavoured dishes on you, give them a whirl. It’s like taking a trip down Louisiana way…Oh, and if you actually get down to visit Louisiana, please bring back a recipe or two.