Real Cajun Cooking lets you choose from hundreds of authentic Cajun recipes. Learn to easily prepare and cook original Cajun-style family meals with help from south Louisiana's Cajun cook and connoisseur, Jacques Gaspard, who's been preparing great Cajun meals for over 50 years. Create the best gumbos, seafood, jambalaya, stews, salads and deserts – the way they were originally prepared. Besides great original recipes, you will discover a hodgepodge of stories, recordings, music, videos and humorous anecdotes to entertain. So enjoy! Don't forget to tell all of your family and friends about Real Cajun Cooking. They will thank you for it.

Monday, December 26, 2016

Cajun Black-Eyed Peas, Cabbage and Pork Chops - A New Year's Tradition

Black-Eyed Peas


      Ingredients

  • 1 lb. dried black-eyed peas
  • 2 slices of hickory smoked bacon
  • 2 Tbsp onions, minced
  • 2 Tbsp bell pepper, minced
  • 1 tsp garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp Colgin liquid smoke
  • Water
  • Salt and pepper to taste.

As is the case with thousands of other families across America, I also take part in the annual tradition of cooking-up a mess of black-eyed peas and cabbage in an effort to increase my luck for the coming New Year. Heaven knows we are gonna need all we can muster-up.

Contrary to popular belief, black-eyed peas don't have to be soaked over night or for any significant period of time because the peas have a thin skin and are relatively easy to cook.

Over medium (or lower) heat, black-eyed peas can be done in just a few minutes. It's the pot liquor that makes all the difference in how your peas will taste, however.

Think 'minced' and not 'chopped' when it comes to your vegetables. A couple tablespoons of minced onions and bell pepper - and about 1 teaspoon of minced garlic sautéed in the fat from a couple slices of smoked bacon creates a wonderful flavor and delicious taste. And, you can salt and pepper to your own liking.

Using a 2 quart pot begin by adding just enough water to cover the peas and sautéed vegetables by about an inch,  (or by a finger and a half as we say in Cajun speak),  and begin the slow process of cooking them to perfection, while stirring occasionally (around 1 - 1 1/2 hrs.). Keep an eye on the peas because you may have to add a little more water occasionally as they absorb and cook.You will know when they become tender enough by taste-testing.

Set them aside until the boiled cabbage is done.

A pound of dried black-eyed peas, when cooked, should yield between 5 and 6 cups.


Cabbage

Ingredients


  • 1 head of cabbage, leaves separated
  • 3 or 4 pork chops
  • 2 Tbsp oil
  • 1 Tbsp Colgin liquid smoke (hickory)
  • 1 measure DIY Cajun Seasoning
  • Additional salt and pepper (if desired) 

Cooking cabbage (boiled) is also easy to do and the way I prepare my cabbage, by popular demand I might add, is to include 3 or 4 pork chops with it. This is how I prepare my boiled cabbage.

The first thing I do is to season the heck out of the pork chops with one measure of DIY Cajun Seasoning (easy to make - check it out), and fry them up in my cast-iron skillet on medium-high heat in a couple tablespoons of oil.

I fry the chops for a couple minutes on both sides until they are well browned, but I don't cook them all the way because they will finish cooking with the slow-boiling cabbage.

The next thing I do is get my kitchen shears and cut-up the chops into bite size pieces and add this to the boiling cabbage.

If you are using a heavy cast-iron skillet, chances are in your favor that a crust will form at the bottom of the skillet (it usually does when you cook meat fast on high heat).This is a good thing.

We Cajuns call this crusty material the 'gratin' - which is commonly used to compliment and enhance the flavor of various meat gravies.

Here's a little secret: keep the skillet hot but add in about 2 or 3 ice cubes and stir them around the skillet and they will magically loosen the crust (or 'gratin') and will produce a savory bouillon that you can add to the cabbage mixture to enhance the overall flavor.

Once you have liquefied the crust and added it to the stock pot along with the cabbage leaves and cut-up pork chops, you just go about your business of boiling cabbage like you always have (low and slow).  Adding a little salt and black pepper always helps.

I like to also include a tablespoon of Colgin liquid smoke (hickory flavor) and not that other brand. Keep mixing and tumbling the cabbage leaves in the pot occasionally so they don't burn. The only difference with cooking cabbage this way instead of the traditional way is that you now have a delicious pot liquor and a few bites of meat to go with your good luck food.

See there! Your luck is already changing. Enjoy! Happy New Year! Ahheee!!
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Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Cream Cheese Stuffed Chicken Breast

Cream Cheese Stuffed Chicken Breast is an easy meal to prepare and very delicious, too. You can also wrap the stuffed chicken breast with your favorite hickory smoked bacon.

Ingredients

  • 4 chicken cutlets, split
  • 1 (8 oz.) pkg. cream cheese
  • Chives

Coating Mix
  • 1 cup of bread crumbs
  • 1 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp. basil
  • 1/2 tsp. oregano
  • 2 tsp. grated Parmesan cheese
  • salt and pepper to taste

Instructions
  1. lay the 4 cutlets (8 pieces) flattened on wax paper
  2. divide cream cheese into 8 slices
  3. place a slice on each chicken cutlet
  4. sprinkle with chives
  5. roll up and secure with toothpick
  6. roll in coating mix
  7. place in slightly greased baking dish
  8. drizzle with melted butter
  9. shake on Parmesan cheese
  10. bake at 375 degrees F. for 40-50 minutes

Bon Appetite!
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Friday, November 11, 2016

Beefy Cabbage Rolls

This recipe is unlike traditional cabbage rolls recipes because it demonstrates how to prepare them sans les tomate,  (without tomatoes), except toward the end when spaghetti sauce is poured on top.



Ingredients:

  • 1 head of cabbage, large
  • 2 lbs. lean ground beef
  • 1 1/2 cups long grain rice
  • 5 cups beef stock
  • 4 Tbs butter
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1 bell pepper, diced
  • 2 stalks celery, diced
  • 1 measure of DIY Cajun Seasoning
  • 1 measure of DIY Real Beef Onion Soup Mix
  • 1 can spaghetti sauce

I began preparing this meal with a large head of cabbage, cored and trimmed. I like to trim the cabbage down to the 2nd or 3rd leaf layer because this usually illiminates those leaves which are damaged or blemished.

Next, I steamed the intact head of cabbage in a programmable 20 qt. portable oven for 20 minutes at 300 degrees F. until all its leaves were wilted. I would rather steam than boil because of taste.

Before using the portable oven I added about a pint of water to create the steam I needed to wilt the cabbage head. After 20 minutes of steaming I removed the cover and allowed the cabbage to cool.

In a heavy cast iron skillet the vegetables were sautéed in butter until a translucent texture was reached then they were set aside in a bowl for later use.

With the same skillet, the ground beef was fully cooked on medium heat with the DIY Cajun Seasoning.

Next, the previously cooked vegetables, 2 cups of beef stock and the DIY Real Beef Onion Soup Mix were added after which I continued to simmer and stir for about 10 minutes. The cooked meat and vegetables were set aside and allowed to cool, also.

I boiled 1 1/2 cups of uncooked long-grain white rice with 3 cups of beef stock for 20 minutes (on low simmer) and then thoroughly mixed the beef and cooked rice together. I placed a lid on the pot, this time, to keep the mixture warm.

Notice that no tomato products were included in the stuffing. I didn't want to compromise the desired heavy beef flavor I was aiming for.

The leaves were then stuffed with the beef/rice mixture. One large spoonful of mixture (about a cup) was used in each leaf. The cabbage leaf was then tucked-in at the sides and rolled; (for safety reasons I don't use toothpicks).

I layered the rolls starting at the bottom of the slow cooker and while working my way up I positioned each roll with the leaf flap down. At serving time I was careful to remove each roll from the cooker without spilling its contents.

Finally,  much to my chagrin, I poured some spaghetti sauce on top of the rolls. The red color of the sauce was pleasing to the eye and looked similar to traditional cabbage rolls but without interfering with the beefy taste of the filling inside. This is the only time a tomato product is used in this recipe. You don't get as many complaints from the traditionalist this way.

Since the beef/rice mixture was already cooked I confidently set my slow cooker dial on low heat for several hours until my guests arrived. One large head of cabbage yielded around a dozen rolls.

This method takes a little more time to prepare than traditional cabbage rolls. But, if you are a beef lover like I am then you will discover it is well worth the extra effort.

Bon Appetite! ... Enjoy!

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Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Chicken and Shrimp with Broccoli and Cheese Casserole

Chicken and Shrimp with Broccoli and Cheese Casserole wasn't the first name for this recipe. It was originally named "Broccoli and Rice Supreme with Shrimp" and first published on November 17, 2009.

Linda Masters of Hooks, TX. first prepared and served this meal to her husband and me over 20 years ago. It is very delicious and easy to prepare. This recipe should not have been gathering dust in my recipe archives with only 29 views in 3 years. It's so good, it doesn't deserve to be hidden away. So, I have decided to change the title to create more interest.

I asked her if it was alright to share her recipe with the NEW title and she didn't mind. Hope you enjoy it!

Thanks again Linda!

Ingredients

  • 3 cups of cooked long-grain rice
  • 2 cups of broccoli, chopped
  • 2 boneless chicken breast, boiled and chopped
  • 1 cup uncooked shrimp, chopped
  • 1 cup onions, chopped
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 2 (15 oz.) jars of  Cheez Whiz
  • 1 can sliced mushrooms
  • 1 can cream of chicken soup
  • salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

Boil the 2 chicken breast until tender (using just enough water to cover them), then chop into small bite-size pieces and set aside, but reserve the broth for later use.

In a pan, sauté the broccoli and onions in the butter until they are translucent then slowly stir-in the cream of chicken soup and the Cheez Whiz. Blend together thoroughly on low-to-medium heat for a couple minutes then add the chopped uncooked shrimp and chopped already cooked chicken. Stir and mix well.

In a large bowl add the above mixture and 3 cups of cooked long-grain rice. Mix together thoroughly until well blended. If the mixture seems too dry at this point you can resolve the problem by adding a small amount of the reserved chicken broth to moisten it.

Next, pour the entire contents in a large casserole or baking dish (9 ½ x 12 inch) and bake at 350° F. for 1 hour.

6 servings
KT
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Thursday, September 15, 2016

Baked Shrimp with Lemon-Garlic Butter

This Baked Shrimp with Lemon-Garlic Butter recipe is so simple to prepare and VERY delicious, too... especially when using Wild White Gulf of Mexico Shrimp, which are known worldwide for their sweet and succulent flavor.

16/20 Count Wild White Gulf of Mexico Shrimp
I prefer to use a regular cookie tray like a Wilton 15.25" x 10.25" x  1" when preparing this Cajun favorite. It's a perfect pan because it can hold enough cooked shrimp to serve more than just a couple folks at a dinner party (unless, of course, you invite one of my Cajun relatives).

Try it next time when you get the chance. If you are a shrimp lover like me, I know you will absolutely love this delicacy.

Just recently I purchased several pounds of the 16/20 count Wild White Gulf of Mexico Shrimp from my supplier, CajunGrocer, in Lafayette, Louisiana. I am here to tell you cher, that they are the best that money can buy and you don't have to spend a fortune to buy 'em.

Most of the time I try to order my gulf white shrimp with the heads on because believe or not, they are less expensive with the heads on, and I get a much bigger bang for my buck because I use the heads to make a broth, which I then include in special meals like seafood gumbo. It's excellent for other dishes, too -- like etouffee, piquant, and jambalaya.

I also use shrimp broth in some batter/coating recipes for frying catfish nuggets, oysters, and other seafood. When I am finished boiling and extracting all of the flavors from the heads, I bury them in my garden to feed my vegetables. Nothing wasted! It becomes an excellent fertilizer. Everything has been recycled. And, that's good.

One other thing... the larger the better. When I can get the 9-12 count of gulf whites, I get even more use from the shrimp heads because they are large enough, at that size, to contain a fair amount of meat.

I like to call it the rib-eye of large shrimp. Just pry apart the top portion of the heads from the bottom, clip the legs off with kitchen shears, wash under cool running water, dredge them in your favorite tempura batter and deep-fry at 365 degrees F. for about 3 minutes. It tastes amazingly like freshly fried soft shell crab.

If you would like to take a gander at the latest prices on Gulf of Mexico Wild White Shrimp you can visit my favorite supplier by using this link: Cajun Grocer.

Tell them that RealCajunCooking.com/ sent you.

It takes just 2 or 3 days [ground] to get your order delivered to your door. The shipping rates are reasonable. Your shipment is packed in dry ice and these extra-large shrimp are individually quick frozen (IQF) -- which means you can remove as many as you want individually, without having to thaw the entire bag.

It takes about 20 minutes, or so, for IQF shrimp to thaw out. Use cool water. Once they are thoroughly thawed remove the heads from the body and make your shrimp broth before discarding the heads.

The amount of water that you use will determine the strength of the broth.  I also like to add the shrimp shells to my broth preparation because it offers even more overall flavor.

Note: You may want to use just a tiny bit of salt when preparing the broth to help extract the flavors from the heads and shells, but not too much if you plan to use the discarded refuse as fertilizer for your vegetable garden.

Adding too much salt in the preparation of the broth will affect the soil and consequently the growth of your garden plants if you decide to use it as fertilizer.

If you have any questions please leave them in the comment section below and I will be glad to answer them.

Ingredients

  • 2 lbs. of 16/20 count Wild White Gulf of Mexico Shrimp, peeled, deveined and butterflied to the tail (leave tails on)
  • 1/4 lb. melted butter (or 1 stick)
  • 1/4 cup dried oregano or Italian seasoning (your choice)
  • 1 large lemon, squeeze the juice out for later use then cut into thin slices
  • 2 tsp. of Old Bay with Garlic & Herb Seasoning 
  • 1 tsp. salt




Instructions
  1.     combine the melted butter. lemon juice and seasoning into a 2-quart bowl
  2.     whisk all of the ingredients well for a few seconds
  3.     add the peeled shrimp and mix together gently and coating thoroughly
  4.     top the cookie tray with heavy duty aluminum foil
  5.     layer the top of the foil evenly with lemon slices
  6.     add the shrimp on top of the lemon slices until the entire tray is filled
  7.     place tray midway in a  preheated 350-degree oven and cook for 12 -15 min.
Voila!  Simple and delicious! An excellent hors d'oeuvres for your lucky guests.

Bon appetite!... Ummm... C'est Magnifique!
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Gaspard's Cajun Potato Salad

This is a Real Cajun Cooking - Pure and Simple original recipe which makes 12 - 15 servings and takes less than an hour to prepare. Yummy!

Ingredients
Gaspard's Cajun Potato Salad

  • 5 lbs. Russet potatoes, boiled
  • 5 hard boiled eggs
  • 1 medium white onion, finely chopped
  • 1 small bell pepper, finely chopped
  • 2 stalks celery, finely chopped
  • 1 bunch green onions, chopped
  • 3 cups mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup yellow mustard
  • 3 Tbs. dill relish
  • 1 tsp. ground cayenne pepper
  • salt and black pepper to taste
  • 1 tsp. paprika

Instructions

  1. peel, dice, boil and drain the potatoes then set aside
  2. boil, peel and finely chop eggs in a food chopper
  3. finely chop 1 medium white onion
  4. slice each stalk of celery in 4s (lengthwise) and finely chop
  5. chop green onions
  6. add chopped eggs, onions, bell pepper, celery, green onions, relish, mayo, mustard, cayenne pepper, salt and ground black pepper in a bowl and mix together thoroughly.
  7. in a larger bowl add everything together (except the paprika) then toss and mix well until all of the bits of potatoes are thoroughly coated. Try not to mash the potatoes in the process.
  8. level-off the salad and sprinkle paprika on top to add color
  9. set the salad in the refrigerator to cool before serving.
  10. makes 12 – 15 servings

Note: Do not use a blender to chopped your vegetables because it will cause your salad to lose the crunchiness. It is important to take your time to properly chop the onions, bell pepper and celery by hand to produce the perfect potato salad. The chopped pieces should be about the size of a pencil eraser. And, for a bit of extra color and eye-appeal you may want to add a few sprigs of parsley on top for good measure.

Enjoy! Ahheee!!


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Wednesday, August 03, 2016

C'est Magnifique Barbeque Sauce

Ingredients

  • 3 medium onions, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 bottle regular barbecue sauce
  • 1 13.5 oz. bottle catchup
  • 1/2 bottle 57 steak sauce
  • 1 lemon, squeezed
  • 1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
  • 3 stick butter
  • 2 Tbs mustard
Instructions
    Combine all ingredients in a heavy metal saucepan pot. (cast-iron if you have one) Cook over low to medium heat for 1 hour, stirring frequently.

    Tip: to give a hickory smoke flavor to this recipe add a few shakes of Colgin liquid smoke (to taste). "It don't get no better than this."
    KT



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    Sunday, July 03, 2016

    Original Bayou Country 4th of July Meals and Appetizers

    Fourth of July celebrations are immensely popular with the French Acadians (Cajuns) of south Louisiana. This is largely so because they cherish their freedom, too. In fact, Cajuns struggled  for independence from the British Empire long before the first Fourth of July.

    Thus, in the spirit of independence, Cajuns do not always adhere to preparing the traditional foods in celebration of that event, i.e., burgers, hotdogs, barbecues, etc., unless the foods have been "Cajunized" with a variety of traditional spices common to Acadiana.

    Hence, searching for something different and unique to serve your family and friends this 4th of July holiday... something independent of the same old traditional meals... something revolutionary... something with a medley of explosive flavors, should not be a problem. Examine the recipes in the following list of suggestions to learn how easy it is to make these delicious Cajun foods.

    These spicy fried catfish nuggets are positively delicious! There is no doubt your friends will ask for the recipe. Not a problem. Just send them over to RealCajunCooking.com/ where they can learn how to prepare this and other delicious meals, too.

    The following short-list is a small sampling of the many kitchen-tested and original recipes you will discover when you visit our website.

    1. Fried Catfish Nuggets
    2. Bacon-Wrapped Cajun Burgers 
    3. Cajun Dirty Rice (Rice Dressing) 
    4. Homemade Habenero Potato Chips 
    5. Char-grilled Ribeye Steaks
    6. Lemony Fried Catfish Nuggets
    7. 3-Meat Cornbread Dressing
    8. Indoor Smoked Beef Brisket
    9. Slow Cooked Red Beans Over Rice
    10. Cajun Style Deviled Eggs
    Bon appetite! God bless.

    E. Pluribus Unum... ("Out of Many, One") Pray for the freedom fighters.
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    Wednesday, June 29, 2016

    Ancient Discovery of Cajun Technology (Cajun humor)

    New York, New York

    After having dug to a depth of 10 feet last year, New York scientists found traces of copper wire dating back 100 years and came to the conclusion that their ancestors already had a telephone network more than 100 years ago.

    Los Angeles, California

    Not to be out-done by the New Yorkers, in the weeks that followed in southern California, an archaeologist dug to a depth of 20 feet and shortly after the headlines in the LA Times newspaper read: "California archaeologists have found traces of 200 year old copper wire and have concluded that their ancestors already had an advanced high-tech communications network a hundred years earlier than New York." 

    Carencro, Louisiana

    One week later, a local newspaper in south Louisiana reported the following: "After digging as deep as 30 feet in his pasture near Carencro, (Lafayette Parish, Louisiana), T-Boy Boudreaux, a self-taught archaeologist, reported that he found absolutely nothing! T-Boy has therefore concluded that 300 years ago, Cajuns had already gone wireless."

    Thank God for T-Boy.

    Ahheee!!
    KT
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    Thursday, March 17, 2016

    Molly Maguires Irish Beef Stew

    Molly Maguires Irish Beef Stew has always been a favorite of mine during the annual Saint Patrick's Day celebration. I hope you enjoy it as much as we do.



    Ingredients

    Irish Stew
    • 2 lbs. beef chuck, cubed
    • 3 Tbs. all-purpose flour
    • 2 Tbs. olive oil
    • 1 lb. carrots, peeled and cut into chunks
    • 6 med. potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
    • 1 onion, cut into chunks
    • 2 cloves garlic, minced
    • 2 cups beef broth                                               
    • 1 (6 oz.) can tomato paste
    • 1 (12 oz.) can Irish stout beer
    • 1 Tbs. corn starch
    • 3 Tbs. cold water

    Directions

    1. heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat
    2. dredge beef chunks in the all-purpose flour until they are well coated
    3. fry in the hot oil until browned
    4. put carrots, potatoes, onions and garlic in a large slow cooker
    5. layer the browned meat on top of the vegetables
    6. mix together the beef broth and tomato paste
    7. pour into the slow cooker along with the beer
    8. cover and cook on high for 6 hours or on low for 8 hours
    9. during the last hour of cooking (before serving), dissolve the cornstarch in the cold water and stir it into the broth to thicken the stew.
    Makes 6 - 8 servings.

    Irish Punch
    Irish Whiskey Punch  (borrowed from: (World's Best Bars)

    This is the genuine Irish beverage. It is generally made with one-third pure whiskey, two-thirds boiling water, in which the sugar has been dissolved. If lemon punch, the rind is rubbed on the sugar, and a small proportion of juice added before the whiskey is poured in.

    69th Regiment Punch

    Recipe: (In earthen mug.)

    1/2 wine-glass of Irish whiskey.
    1/2 do. do. Scotch do.
    1 tea-spoonful of sugar.
    1 piece of lemon.
    2 wine-glasses of hot water.

    This is a capital punch for a cold night.

    In his 1863 book, Cups and their Customs, George Edwin Roberts paid a loving tribute to Whiskey Punch when he wrote: “This is said to be the most fascinating tipple ever invented; and, to quote the words of Basil Hall, ‘It brightens a man's hopes, crumbles down his difficulties, softens the hostilities of his enemies, and, in fact, induces him for the time being to think generously of all mankind, at the tiptop of which it naturally and good-naturedly places his own dear self.’”

    While virtually every recipe book that mentioned Irish whiskey contained Irish Whiskey Punch, during the early 1800s variations had already cropped up. Oxford Night Caps, first published in the 1820s, and considered the first book devoted entirely to drinks, included this Leander Punch:

    And, for those of us who would like to celebrate St. Patrick's Day in style here are a couple ways to do it: Waterford Irish Lace 10-Inch Bowl  and Godinger Dublin 6-Piece Crystal Whiskey Decanter Set.


    **********************
    Who remembers the 1970 film "The Molly Maguires" starring Sean Connery and Richard Harris? Here is the movie trailer.




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    Wednesday, February 10, 2016

    How to Make Spicy-Hot Cajun Pork Sausage Links (Video)




    To make a delicious and spicy homemade Cajun sausage with a hint of Italian, try this wonderful recipe.

    Ingredients

    • 12 lbs. pork (net) with 20% fat content, cut into pieces small enough for grinder
    • 7 tsp. garlic salt with parsley
    • 7 tsp. fennel seeds (cracked)
    • 7 tsp. crushed red pepper
    • 7 tsp. black pepper
    • 3 tsp. pickling salt (regular will do in a pinch)
    • 3 tsp. ground red pepper
    • half can cold beer (cold water is fine)
    Instructions

    Cut the pork meat into manageable pieces and small enough to pass through your grinder. (We should not run grinders more than 10 minutes before letting the motor cool.) Grind all of the pork one small handful at the time and include a couple pieces of cut-up jalapeno pepper between each handful of meat that you grind to get an even distribution.

    Next, place all of the ground pork and peppers into a larger container. Mix all of the seasonings in about 1/2 can of cold beer or ice-cold water (enough to pour out the seasoning mix evenly over the meat).

    After distributing the seasoning over the ground pork begin mixing. This is the secret. The more you mix everything together -- the better your sausage will taste. Don't skimp on mixing. Mix thoroughly for at least 10 minutes.

    Finally, pass the mixture through your machine once more using the largest cutting plate and sausage attachment and start forming your links. After awhile the length of the links will come to you naturally so don't worry if you get a few of them longer or shorter than the rest. The point is to have fun while you are working knowing you will be treating your family and friends to some of the best tasting homemade sausage links they have every had.

    Enjoy! Ahheee!! (It don't get no better than this.)
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      Wednesday, January 13, 2016

      Gateau de Roi - The King's Cake Story

      This is an excerpt from "Mr. Lake's New Orleans Forum":

      Gateau de Roi

      Twelfth Night or King Cake

      The story of the king cake begins, like the story of Mardi Gras itself, with the pagans. They had a celebration where a young man from the village was chosen to be treated like a king for a whole year. He was not denied during his reign, but after the year was over he became a human sacrifice to the gods. To eliminate this pagan custom, the Christian Church encouraged an observance calling for the preparation of a king cake containing a bean; whoever received the slice with the bean became king for a week and was allowed to choose a queen to reign with him. This took the place of the sacrificial pagan rite.

      The King Cake tradition is believed to have been brought to New Orleans, Louisiana, from France in the 1870's. It evolved from the Twelfth Night or Epiphany pastry made by those early settlers. They added their own touches with the Spanish custom of choosing Twelfth Night royalty.

      In European countries, the coming of the wise men bearing gifts to the Christ Child is celebrated twelve days after Christmas. The celebration, called Epiphany, Little Christmas on the Twelfth Night, is a time of exchanging gifts and feasting. All over the world people gather for festive Twelfth Night celebrations. One of the most popular customs is still the baking of a special cake in honor of the three kings..."A King's Cake" or Gateau de Roi.

      A King Cake's ring shape, too, is significant, as some believe it symbolizes the unity of all Christians, and others believe it aptly resembles a king's crown.

      A dried bean was originally hidden inside the cake but was replaced by coins, peas, pecans, rubber dolls, porcelain dolls, and in recent years plastic dolls. Starting around the 1930s, a tiny naked baby (Frozen Charlotte) was used instead of the bean or pea. The baby can be pink, brown, or golden. Some people believe that the baby represents the baby Jesus because Twelfth Night was when the three kings found the baby in Bethlehem.

      Tradition has it that the person who finds the baby in the king cake is the next queen or king, he or she receives a year of good luck, is treated as royalty for that day and must host the next king cake party.

      King Cake season lasts throughout Mardi Gras from the feast of the Epiphany until Mardi Gras Day.

      The royal colors of purple, green and gold on the cake honors the three kings, Gaspar, Melchior and Balthasar, who visited the Christ child on the Epiphany. Purple represents Justice. Green stands for Faith. Gold signifies Power.

      The three colors appeared in 1872 on a Krewe of Rex carnival flag especially designed for the visiting Grand Duke of Russia. He came to New Orleans just for the carnival, and the universal colors remain his legacy.

      You can visit Mr. Lake's New Orlean's Forum for more outstanding King Cake recipes (including a Mexican King Cake). Thanks Frank!


      Special Note: I couldn't help but notice that the first of the Three Kings was named "Gaspar". Seems as though someone may have forgotten to add the letter "d" at the end of his name.

      Ahheee!! Laisser le bon temps rouller!
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      Thursday, January 07, 2016

      Boudreaux and Dat Doggone Dog! (Cajun humor)

      Boudreaux and his wife Clotille lived on a little farm just outside of the city of Mamou, Louisiana.

      One day Clotille said, "Mais, Boudreaux, you have to get rid of dat dog. All he does is lie under de front porch and turn over da trash cans."

      Boudreaux said, "Okay Cher. I'll get rid of him."

      He put the dog in the pickup, drove down the road a couple of miles, and dumped him out. He drove home and in a few minutes the dog showed up. So he put him back in the truck, drove several more miles and dumped him out.

      After Boudreaux got back home, the dog showed up again.

      Clotille said, "You have to take him out and drive around and around a lot in circles, den dump him out. Dat way he won't know da way home."

      Boudreaux said, "You some smart, Clotille, and dat's why I marry you."

      Boudreaux again took the dog, and drove further out. Then he drove all around and zigzagged in and out the back roads a lot then dumped the dog out.

      He started back home but pulled over and parked and called Clotille on his cell phone.

      "Has dat dog come back yet?"

      Clotille answered, "Yes, he just came in."

      Boudreaux said, "Well, put him up to da phone - I'm lost."     ... Ahheee!!



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