Cajun Foodways / Edition 1

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Cajun food has become a popular "ethnic" food throughout America during the last decade. This fascinating book explores the significance of Cajun cookery on its home turf in south Louisiana, a region marked by startling juxtapositions of the new and the old, the nationally standard and the locally unique.

Neither a cookbook nor a restaurant guide, Cajun Foodways gives interpretation to the meaning of traditional Cajun food from the perspective of folklife studies and cultural anthropology. The author takes into account the modern regional popular culture in examining traditional foodways of the Cajuns.

Cajuns' attention to their own traditional foodways is more than merely nostalgia or a clever marketing ploy to lure tourists and sell local products. The symbolic power of Cajun food is deeply rooted in Cajuns' ethnic identity, especially their attachments to their natural environment and their love of being with people.

Foodways are an effective symbol for what it means to be a Cajun today. The reader interested in food and in cooking will find much appeal in this book, for it illustrates a new way to think about how and why people eat as they do.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
This well-focused study of ``the relationship between Cajun food and Cajun ethnic identity'' reveals the still-strong link between Cajuns and their natural environment. Although this link is important for the preparation of all Cajun foods, like boudin and gumbo, it is epitomized in crawfish. In one chapter, ``The Meaning of Crawfish,'' Gutierrez shows how the outdoor ``crawfish boil'' of dozens of pounds of live crustaceans for family and friends validates the ``Cajuns' belief in their environmental competence.'' It also promotes a sense of unity among participants as they eat from a communal serving place. In addition, it demands intimacy between diners and their food, as they break open the crawfish body and either gnaw or suck on it for its meat, fats, and juices. As immigrants assimilated into American culture and the country moved away from an agrarian ideal, so the links between food, land and culture wore thin, leaving only vestiges like church-sponsored ham and oyster roasts or Maryland crab feasts. Like many ethnographic studies, this book captures the last or most distinctive representative of a once more common practice. As such, it is a useful, well-researched contribution to food and ethnic history. Illustrations not seen by PW. (Aug.)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780878055630
  • Publisher: University Press of Mississippi
  • Publication date: 8/1/1992
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 176
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.41 (d)

Table of Contents

Introduction: Louisiana's Cajuns 3
1 What Goes into Cajun Food 34
2 Cajun Cooking 51
3 Cooks and Kitchens 69
4 Cajuns and Crawfish 77
5 Catching, Cooking, and Eating Crawfish 83
6 The Meaning of Crawfish 96
7 Boucheries, Mardi Gras, and Community Festivals 110
8 Cajun Food and Ethnic Identity 121
Bibliography 139
Index 147
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