Originally posted by salindgren
I never acquired a taste for Bar-B-Que or Soul Food, per se. I've always been kind of vegetarian, so I can't comment much about ribs and such. I think the line between BBQ & SF is so blurred that no one can separate them.
Where would you place New Orleans cuisine? I mean, I'm pretty sure BBQ would include 'gator tails, right? But what about mudbugs? Are crayfish soul food? I guess they are not BBQ. No sauce involved. What's interesting about both BBQ, as I understand it, and SF, is a kind of childlike blandness, wherein there is NOT a lot of spiciness per se. New Orleans is spicy, but regular SF just is not. And BBQ can be tangy, or whatever, but not hot the way chili is, right? BBQ seems to be based on sugar and smoke. Which is fine. I happen to like something with more bite, but that's just me.
At 51 you truly have lead a sheltered life.
First of all I promise you there is NO LINE between BBQ and SOUL FOOD.
BBQ (smoked meats) are spicy. If it’s not your doing it wrong.
Good BBQ (smoked meats) requires NO SAUCE. It’s a method not a recipe.
More importantly food from New Orleans is spicy and most of it was originally a mixture of French and Poor People’s Food. Soul Food/ Country Food they are interchangeable, is what ever was very readily available and thus cheap, in any particular area. The people in the New Orleans area were of two classes and both lived to eat. The difference between Creole and Cajun cooking is simple. Creoles were rich planters and their kitchens aspired to grande cuisine. Their recipes came from France or Spain as did their chefs. By using classic French techniques with local foodstuffs, they created a whole new cuisine, called Creole cooking.
If you look up Creole in the dictionary you'll find:
3: a person of mixed French or Spanish and black descent speaking a dialect of French or Spanish
4 a: a language evolved from pidginized French that is spoken by blacks in southern Louisiana. How could it not be Soul Food?
On the other hand, the Acadians, pronounced <uh-CADE-ee-uns>, later contracted to Cajun, were a tough (very poor, mixture of whites, blacks, and slaves) used to living under strenuous conditions. They tended to serve strong country food
prepared from locally available ingredients, crab, river shrimp, lake shrimp, oysters, crawfish, freshwater and saltwater fish, plus squirrels, wild turkeys, ducks, frogs, turtles, pork, homemade sausages, beans of all kinds, tomatoes, okra, yams, pecans, oranges and wines, liqueurs and brandy. It was pungent, peppery and practical since it was all cooked in a single pot. Thus Cajun cuisine was born. They were poor, how poor were they? They only had one pot. LOL
Blacks were almost always poor as were many many whites, as per above. So in New Orleans you had farm pigs, rice, mud bugs, seafood, and wild game be it gators, rabbits, deer, fish, wild pigs, and the list goes on and on. People as I touched on earlier, ate what they could shoot, trap, raise, trade for, or could be grown on very small plots of land or in gardens.
In the fall after harvest, people met in villages, or towns and traded what they had an abundance of for what they were short of. When they met they exchanged methods of cooking, or preparing what ever they were presenting for trade. Today we call them recipes.
Smoking foods especially all meats was a way to preserve them, because there were no refrigerators or ice. You had two choices in that period, one was kill and butcher the hog or hogs if you were rich enough to have a couple, and render the fat. As you had big cast iron pots of hog fat you cut and smoked the pork chops and other parts of the hog. After smoking you put a one or two-inch layer of hot fat in the bottom of a wooden barrel and lay the pork chops on top. Then you add more fat and cover the chops and add another layer of pork meat. The process went on and on until you had covered all of your meat in fresh lard. Then you reversed the procedure, as you ate the hog over the next year. It never spoiled and in fact would have tasted much better than today’s pork.
Another way to preserve meat was with smoke, or spices or both. I won’t go into that for now but that is BBQ/smoking, not to be confused with grilling..
Ok like all my post this is way to long and for that I apologize. But allow me to finish this thought and in my usual non-cp manner. At numerous points all over the country white slave owners, and people that had the means of land ownership discovered that slaves, and non- slave poor blacks, cajuns, and other poor white trash, (LMAO) were cooking some great meals using scrap meats, wild game, and what ever they had on hand. So they stole the methods, and recipes, and made them their family favorites. That’s why today you’re having this discussion and are having a hard time differentiating between Soul Food, Country Cooking, and your Aunt Clarie's Cooking. LOL Again I apologize for the length of my post but I always wanted to write a book on this topic.