The Cajun people came from Acadia, Nova Scotia, Canada. Blue collars and simple diets. Living off the land and sea. It’s true that after their Southern migration there were a lot of flavor options that weren’t available in the colder climate of their homeland. It’s also true that the ships sailing into the ports of New Orleans and other cities along the Mississippi River brought spices and additional food cultures from every port of call. The daily diet did change. They switched from lobster to crawfish. A new variety of produce was available. Most of the recipes that stand the test of time were conceived in an old lady’s shanty in the middle of the bayou and consisted of whatever she could get her hands on. She cooked for comfort and the fortification of their hard-working bodies.
I have a hard time talking about Cajun cooking without intertwining Creole methodology because one without the other just doesn’t exist. At some point I’ll try to tie them together for you. The current food culture of the Cajuns and Creoles includes things that are spicy and just as many things that are mild. I wouldn’t have to go far out on a limb to say categorically that Louisiana food is ROBUST. I’m comfortable saying that more Louisiana folks, woman and man alike, per capita, are food savvy at a much more advanced level than people from most places on Earth. Food, music, and culture are in their DNA.
I’m aware that a little heat can and often is added to any savory thing that is cooked and enjoyed in the hot and humid Southern environments. Anything that pushes a little bit of perspiration to your forehead helps you feel cooler when the temperatures soar. Google psychrometry if you don’t believe me.
Herbs & spices are God’s lagniappe (a gift, a little something extra). They are all different and you can use them however you want to. Most Americans can’t imagine what food would be like without salt. My Dad was a huge fan of black pepper. I hope we can all agree that nutmeg has no place in anything.