Eating Our Way through Cajun County

We’re wrapping up a week in a small town in south Louisiana called Abbeville, which we picked because we love the little bit of this state we’ve seen on two drive-throughs and wanted more before our winter stay in Texas. We’re right in Acadiana (a term somehow I’d never heard) aka Cajun Country. 

I tell you what. There is swamp all around here, and it’s humid and buggy even in the winter. I’m sitting as I write this along some small bit of water, a coulee, and I’m swatting at biting flies left and right.  I can’t imagine what it’s like in the summer.

So worth it though, even just from the food angle.

I’ve learned that Creoles in the city cook with tomatoes whereas Cajuns along the bayou add cracklins to the meal (those are oh so much more than pork skins). You can’t walk in the woods here without knocking over a crayfish mound and it’s not even crayfish season. And watch for alligators, turtles, lizards, rodents, anything that’ll live in the warm and wet. 

Like the humid air and the swamp full of life, food here is rich. Grits aren’t even in the same family as the kind I make from a tub with “Quaker” on it (I hear they’re made with cream and I believe it). 

Everything on your plate is meat with gravy or a cream sauce. The reason I’m into this is that it’s all uniquely flavored, really delicious! I do not know the secret, and I kind of want it to stay that way.

Tracy’s been buying local sausage and shrimp from the many small markets here, along with seasoning packets, and making etouffee, jambalaya … today it’s red beans a rice with andouille sausage. I swear, it’s going to take us all winter to lose the weight we’ve gained in Louisiana.

We rode our bikes in Abbeville one day and enjoyed the small neighborhoods, some old, stately houses and a bunch of shacks, all built at least a couple of feet off the wet wet ground.

This one has a large dinosaur in the front yard busy eating a small one. I wish I’d gotten a better picture, but it really seems rude to stop and gawk!

Our campground has gotten mixed reviews from all three os uf.

It’s deep in the woods (good!) but also fairly isolated with no storm shelter (bad when there was a threat of tornadoes!). There are lots of trailers here empty during the day while the owners are out working (good because that means quiet).

But, a bunch of weekend warriors just pulled in and immediately, and I mean immediately, checked their outdoor TVs for channels, pulled out a leaf blower and a couple of loud motorcycles, and tried to trash talk Joe Biden at us. Gawd. (Bad all over).

But the trails are full of life (good), so much that Banjo is freaked out walking along them. Hickory nuts plummet down on us (bad), turtles cross the path, and no one walks them but us, seemingly (good).

I’d like to come back to Louisiana, both for New Orleans and for more Cajun liveliness. I’m not sure Tracy would sit through accordion, but I am game.

Ukulele Segment