7Spice Cajun Seafood Restaurant, Houston

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The History of Cajun Seafood

Cajun cooking is an integral part of the American foodscape, but the history of Cajun seafood is full of historical influences that have shaped the cuisine into what it is today. These dishes tend to have a unique flair for spice and flavor that make them a popular dining choice today.

Early Cajun Influences

The history of Cajun seafood can be traced all the way back to the early colonial days of the 17th century. Many people from Europe endured an arduous journey across the Atlantic Ocean so they could settle in the northeastern part of North America, called the Maritime Provinces.

However, those plans eventually changed. In 1755, these immigrant families refused to offer their allegiance to the British Crown. As a result, they were essentially deported to the southern part of North America, more specifically known as present day southern Louisiana.

This group of people was comprised largely of individuals from France who originally immigrated to Acadia (present day Canada). The Acadians that relocated to the South mixed with an existing melting pot of cultures that ranged from Native Americans to Italians and almost everything in between. Comprehensively, this newly formed group of cultures became known as the Cajuns.

One of the biggest misconceptions about the early Cajun influences is that they were the same as Creole influences, but the two cultures are actually quite different.

The Creoles largely came from France as did the Cajuns, but they viewed themselves as upper class aristocrats compared to the Cajuns in terms of social hierarchy. And while the Creoles did use spice in their dishes, they also relied on more unusual ingredients such as tomatoes and butter. It is for this reason that Cajun food is often viewed as more country or rural and Creole food is seen as more citified or urban.

The collective history of Cajun seafood throughout the decades is what makes some of America’s most beloved dishes what they are today.

The Cajun Cuisine Shift

When living in the Maritime Provinces before being asked to swear allegiance to the British crown, the Acadians lived on fresh seafood from the Atlantic like salmon, cod, and lobster. But moving closer to what is now called the Gulf of Mexico, required a bit of a change in learning how to incorporate other freshwater and saltwater foods, including:

  • Alligator
  • Oysters
  • Catfish
  • Crabs
  • Crawfish
  • Flounder
  • Oysters
  • Redfish
  • Red Snapper
  • Seatrout
  • Shrimp

With long travels across the Atlantic and eventually down to what is now southern Louisiana, Cajun people had few supplies on hand, which led them to make meals in a single pot using whatever ingredients were readily available to them, such as those listed above. These were frequently paired with vegetables such as onion, celery, and bell pepper as well as rice, which gave way to dishes like gumbo and jambalaya.

A Profile of Cajun Crab Legs

While crabs were something that could have been found and eaten in the Maritime Provinces in early colonial days, they would have been decidedly lacking in the flavor and spice that Cajuns are now renowned for.

Although the traditional methods of baking, steaming, or boiling crab legs may still be the same, it is the Cajun spices that transform the dish into a delicious burst of heat and spice. This Cajun version of crab has become so popular with Americans that it is offered across the country.

Still, many say that to get true Cajun crab legs, you just can’t beat enjoying it in its place of origin along the Louisiana or neighboring Texas coast. But to find out for yourself, you may just have to take the challenge!

The Cultural Impact of Cajun Cuisine

Since their exile to the South, Cajun culture has incorporated their meals into a way of celebrating family, friends, and community with delicious nourishment.

It is commonplace for people in cities from southeast Texas extending all the way to the coast of Florida to host seafood boils for a summer weekend activity. Just as in the old days, a seafood boil brings together loved ones to celebrate life over a hearty meal that warms the heart and nourishes the body.

These seafood boils come with a special outdoor vibe that includes newspaper tablecloths and enjoying the finger foods that get poured on top, like crawfish, potatoes, corn, and more. These gatherings often include music and time around the table enjoying everyone’s company.

You Can Still Enjoy Cajun Cuisine Even If You Don’t Know How to Cook It

If the history of Cajun seafood has you craving some delicious Cajun food, but you are missing the know-how or the time to cook it, consider ordering out from an authentic Cajun restaurant like 7Spice Cajun Seafood in Texas.

With locations across the greater Houston area, this is the easiest and most convenient way to get your fix of crab legs, shrimp, catfish, tilapia, chicken, sausage, gumbo, etouffee, hush puppies, Boudin balls, rice, coleslaw, corn, garlic toast, and a variety of mouthwatering dipping sauces straight from the restaurant and directly to your dinner table.

The history of Cajun seafood is interesting and full of flavor. If your family is craving real Cajun cuisine that is fresh, fast and convenient, consider ordering from 7Spice Cajun Seafood and make tonight’s dinner a memorable event that will fill your belly and warm your soul.