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The Creole Cooking of Carribean

Updated on March 30, 2011

June 28 (Monday) World Cuisines -Fusion or Creole

Talk about Creole Cooking in Carribean, it can be acclaimed as enjoying the best of all the continents in the world; with signature dishes borrowed, improved and fused into a new cuisine they can call their own. That's how most of the African slaves did when they were brought to foreign land, in Central America and the Bay Areas (Louisiana, etc.) in the USA. Leftover foods from the kitchens of their rich owners, these immigrants from Africa, with their humble beginnings, stood the test of slavery and the times as well to become known as the cradle of what we call now, fusion cuisine.

The colonizers like the Spaniards, British and French; with the influences of American Indians and Chinese settlers and businessmen plus their African roots, the negro slaves and their families, when freed, made their own niches in their new places, also creating distinctive cuisine of their own.

Among the countries that have dominant African settlers in the Carribean are Jamaica, Bahamas, Trinidad & Tobago, Barbados, Haiti and the Netherland West Indies, like St. Estatius (we've always been there for bunkering), St. Kitts & Nevis, Monseratt, Grenada Islands, among others. Spanish-speaking African islanders settled in Dominican Republic, Cuba,Costa Rica, Aruba, Antigua, Belize, to mention a few. French-speaking settlers and British influenced African people are spread in Cayman Islands, British Virgin Islands and other islands.

You can sample the spicy and hot Jamaican jerk, or the Callaloo soup (made from okra and other vegetables) or the goat stew. The distinct Creole cooking features tomato-based stew and meat puree being mixed to varied dishes.

Spices and herbs that are common in the area are lime, allspice or pimiento, nutmeg, garlic, cinnamon and ginger.

Rice dishes are mostly eaten with sauces (just like in Africa) and coconut milk is commonly added to popular dishes for a more savory taste. Beans are cooked in variation from island to island.

Seafood dishes are common in the islands; featuring Indian influences and the use of curry powder. You can also have a bite of conch (fritters made from chopped meat, seasoning and flour batter that is deep-fried) in Barbados and the Bahamas.

With all these diversities in food preparation, you can really enjoy your vacation if you want to choose one of the island getaway.

Chef Carolyn Shelton's Creole Cooking Show

The differences between Creole & Cajun Cooking in the USA

Both streams of African settlers in the USA are mostly-French speaking people. I was often confused with these two kinds of cooking. When we're in New Orleans, most of the charterer's representatives speak French language. I asked them about the Creole cooking. Some were grateful that I asked and told me the differences between the creole and cajun cooking in the bay areas of Louisiana. With the help of the net, I clearly understood the distinct characteristics of the two.

Creole versus Cajun

  • Creole cooking uses butter and cream while Cajun cooks prefer pork fat.
  • Creole chefs are said to use more tomatoes than do Cajuns.
  • Cajun cooking, across the board, is more spicy than Creole.
  • Creole food tends to be associated with elegant restaurants and hotels, while Cajun food is simple, and “down home.”
  • As a result, Cajun-influenced food (sometimes a very poor reproduction) is available all over the United States while Creole food remains primarily a New Orleans specialty (except for “shrimp Creole,” found on many menus across the country).

Some of the ingredients are often incorporated with the two styles in cooking.

  • Both cuisines prefer the “holy trinity” of chopped onions, green peppers, and celery to the classic French “mirepoix” of onions, carrots and celery.
  • Both cuisines glorify the thick soupy stew gumbo, thickened either with filé powder (a product of ground dried sassafras leaves, a distinct Native American contribution to the cuisines) or okra (a mucilaginous vegetable of African origin popular throughout the south), but rarely both.
  • Both cuisines base dishes and sauces on a roux: a fat slowly thickened by addition of flour.
  • Because of the geographic proximity, the cuisines often employ similar ingredients: rice, shrimp and crab, oysters, crawfish, pork, beans, turkeys.

So, if you happen to visit and try eating at one of the buffet restaurants in New Orleans or nearby areas serving both Creole and Cajun cuisines, feel free to ask how it is cooked. 'There's no harm in asking questions about the way your ordered food is prepared.

Bon apetit!

Carribean Urban Cooking with Chef Creole (Live on NBC)

Creole cooking in the Philippines

 Aside from different catering and culinary schools offering classes on different kinds of World Cuisines, like Creole cooking, the premiere island destination in the Philippines, is no doubt Boracay.

Most of the restaurants serve creole dishes that are good for the inhabitants and the tourists. Many of the owners will truly attest that what they serve is authentic (who knows?) Creole or the like.

Well, a wise hubber, like me will always consult what we have written here, so that we can really identify the true characteristics of Creole cooking. You can also suggest in a simple way (not to offend them) what you want in Creole dishes.

Most of the restaurants will prepare what you've ordered or you can ask to lessen the ingredients for health reasons.



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    • travel_man1971 profile image

      Ireno Alcala 7 years ago from Bicol, Philippines

      Yes, they have spicy dishes that are typical among islanders, like us.

    • earthbound1974 profile image

      earthbound1974 7 years ago from Bicol, Philippines

      This is great. Creole cooking is somewhat akin to some of Filipino dishes.

    • travel_man1971 profile image

      Ireno Alcala 7 years ago from Bicol, Philippines

      Thanks, Hezekiah. Fusion cuisine is the answer for you. Enjoy preparing Creole cuisine at Asian setting. Bon apetit!

    • Hezekiah profile image

      Hezekiah 7 years ago from Japan

      Good info there. I have Jamaican/St. Kitts background and Japanese spouse/child. Would be nice to integrate this into some of the Asian foods.

    • travel_man1971 profile image

      Ireno Alcala 7 years ago from Bicol, Philippines

      Thanks , Sandy. It also tastes very good, the Creole foods.

    • travel_man1971 profile image

      Ireno Alcala 7 years ago from Bicol, Philippines

      We owe it to them, sailor. We, Filipinos, always adopt to every good things that we receive everyday, including the introduction of Creole cooking in the archipelago.

    • Sandyspider profile image

      Sandy Mertens 7 years ago from Wisconsin, USA

      OH...This sounds really good.

    • thesailor profile image

      thesailor 7 years ago from Seven Seas

      Way to go, travel man. Creole cooking is now being incorporated in Philippine cuisine.