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What’s a Cajun? What’s a Creole?

Way back in the 1600s, French refugees from Europe settled in a part of
northeastern Canada called Acadia. (It’s called Nova Scotia, “New Scotland”,
today.) When England won Nova Scotia in the mid-1700s, the English made the
French settlers disown their allegiance to Catholic France or they had to leave.
Some migrated to Maine, which is why there’s a French influence up there.
Spain controlled Louisiana at that time, and being an enemy of England and
being Catholic, they invited the Acadians move further south. The snobbish
Creoles were too humorless for the Acadians, so the Acadians settled outside of
the city and maintained their New World version of French culture. “Acadia”
got corrupted into “Acajun” by the English, who never made any effort to speak
French correctly. “Acajun” was finally corrupted into “Cajun”.  Cajun food is
spicy and uses local ingredients with a French twist.

The word “creole” comes from the Spanish “criollo”, which was used to
describe a person, white or black, born in the New World who had European
parentage. It was a way of differentiating themselves from the locals. In New
Orleans, Creoles claim an aristocratic lineage because many families have a
French royal who fled the French Revolution, or they have a refugee officer
from Napoleon’s Army. Black Creoles were not slaves – they were always free
men. Like the Cajuns, Creoles tend to be Catholic, but they’re much more
classic in their French language and culture. Creole food is Parisian cuisine with
a New World accent.

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