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What is Créole?

February 15, 2010

I always question this term when I am cooking. Recently, I have been working on créole spaghetti, créole rice and créole ratatouille for Vegan in the Sun cookbook and I kept trying to define creole and I could not. I knew it was a mix of many cultures such as Spanish, French and African and America and some parts of the Caribbean but what are the major factors that define creole?

When I look at the dishes that are créole one common theme running through them is that these places that the  dishes originated from had some dealing with France in the past or present. Many of the dishes have tomato bases and sometimes have a sweet undertone and brown sugar is used to create a caramel as a base of many of the meals.Herbs are more heavily relied on in this cuisine and lastly it is mildly spicy.

A brief history lesson would take you back to the time when the slaves were brought to the New World and they brought their food with them. As time went by the cooking techniques of the French and Spanish were integrated into their existing cooking practices. Maybe that is it but I cannot be too sure.

Countries that many Creole dishes originate from are the Gulf coast states like Louisiana,Mississippi and Alabama to name a few and the French West Indies like Guadeloupe and Martinique also some English-speaking Caribbean islands like Dominica and St. Lucia.

As I search for a true definition of creole and creole food enjoy my latest offerings, a créole ratatouille made with varied vegetables from the old world and the new world and sweetened with brown sugar and heated with undertones of Scotch Bonnet peppers.Creole rattatouille is made as a street food sometimes in the French West Indies and used to top rice dishes. I did not need this dish as I am experiencing weather  of a great summer but it was hearty and filling and flavourful.

Maybe that too is a definition of créole.

When you hear créole what is the first things that come to your mind?

Until next post

I apologize to the blogs I have not visited in a month. I have 9 hour workdays with the book and I have been really drained to stop by. Testing is starting to slow down and this would allow me to visit all of the blogs I am accustomed visiting soon.

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4 Comments leave one →
  1. February 16, 2010 12:22 am

    This looks great. Is this going to be in the book? We also call our local food creole but to be honest I never really stopped to think about what defines creole food. I do know that when I travel to the US I identify and love cajun food the most. It’s different but still reminds me of our local food. You have given me food for thought:-)

    • Taymer permalink*
      February 16, 2010 8:50 am

      Yes it is going into the book. It is a wonderful flavourful Ratatouille that reminds me of home when I eat it because I used different vegetables inside. Yes we say creole but we never have a clear definition in our mind. The liquid goes away after a few hours and goes into the veg. I took mine out fresh from cooking to shoot it as I was losing light I will send u the recipe later today to try it out since u would have access to everything inside

  2. February 16, 2010 12:33 pm

    oh yaay! This is one that I can easily try as it fits easily into my weekly rotation of meals. I do an oven roasted ratatoille which is great but it would be fantastic to have another version as it’s such a tasty way to include veggies in your meal.

  3. February 16, 2010 6:18 pm

    I love the flavors of Creole food. I always think of Louisiana when someone talks about Creole food. Also I grew up believing that people who were Creole were those who’s descendents were from France or Spain and were born in Louisiana.

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