“We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time.”
T. S. Eliot

Far-flung corners of the world with unique culinary cultures have always pulled at me in ways that add richness to my life.  Some many years ago my travels led me to Aix-en-Provence in southern France where I discovered the connection between food and art.  Over the course of that short visit, I found that the people of Provence do not just view food as sustenance, they celebrate a reverence for its cultural importance.  It is a market-focused region that revels in its connection to growers, processors, and culinary artisans.  It struck me as a stunningly visual convergence of style and taste that blend deliciously.  Years later it struck me again; it’s just like my home.

Acadiana.

That culturally rich region of southwest Louisiana steeped in French tradition and a generational love for food, art, and music.  I’ve discovered that my years of living in Lafayette have placed me smack dab in the center of an exciting Cajun and Creole culinary landscape.  Acadiana is peppered with amazing stories of colorful people and unique products the rest of the world has yet to sample.

I live, work, and play here with my incredible wife Roxanne, our talented daughter Lauren, and our curious dog Molly.  My writing and photographs reflect our love of life in Louisiana and our passion for good food shared with great friends.

Welcome to our Acadiana Table.

George Graham writes about Cajun cooking along with Cajun recipes.
Roxanne, Lauren, George and Molly. (photo credit: Carlos Lerma Photography)

 

Frequently Asked Questions

What / where is Acadiana?

It is a region, a lifestyle, a state of mind.  Acadiana, located in southwest Louisiana, is the area surrounding Lafayette, where I live.  The spirit of Acadiana weaves throughout the many towns that stretch south all the way to the Gulf.  It’s Cajun country and the heart and soul of the French Acadians in America.

What is Cajun cooking?  What is Creole cooking?  And, what the heck is the difference?

I avoid this question as much as possible.  It is the subject of much debate.  The answer I like most is one you will find when someone is avoiding the discussion: A Creole feeds one family with three chickens, and a Cajun feeds three families with one chicken.  The point is that Creole cooking is more associated with citified New Orleans culture of European cooking by servants of African descent–butter-rich sauces and tomato-based dishes.  Cajun is rural South Louisiana–country food that is less fuss and more taste.

Truth be told, in Acadiana those two worlds have blended together to blur the lines of distinction and create a whole new genre of cooking steeped in rural authenticity.

Now, if you want a more scholarly answer then please read my story here.

Are you a chef?

No, you will never hear me refer to myself as a chef–I have way too much respect and jealous admiration for the profession.  I am a cook and a self-taught one at that.  I’ve owned a restaurant, but no, not a chef.  I’ve cooked on Food Network TV, but still, not a chef.  Perhaps one day, when I don a toque and fire up the burners, sharpen my 10-inch chef’s knife and toil away for a fourteen-hour double shift in quiet obscurity, maybe then I can proudly call myself a chef.

How did you learn to cook?

Curiosity.  No really, I’ve always been intrigued by the art and science of food.  I grew up in a small-town Louisiana restaurant family, and my father was one of the best cooks I’ve ever known.  For me, he made it okay for a boy to want to stir a pot.  Learning to cook is a matter of trial and error.  You have to burn a roux before you learn to make a roux.  Every kitchen disaster is the path to delicious discovery.

How do you come up with your recipes?

Most all my recipes are unique interpretations of completely different recipes.  This is the fundamental platform for learning how to cook.  I challenge myself to think differently about the tried and true traditional dishes by reinterpreting them into Cajun or Creole versions.  If I see a good recipe, I will experiment with variations of ingredients and wind up with a unique hybrid.  In fact, many of my Louisiana-inspired recipes begin with unrelated ethnic dishes that evolve with the flavors and spices of Acadiana.  From time to time, I will feature a specific recipe of a friend or chef for which I will credit them prominently.  And if you like, please feel free to adapt my recipes and make them into your own versions.  I will be most flattered.

You use a lot of alcohol in your recipes.  What’s the deal?

It’s all about the flavor that remains as the alcohol content burns off.  Cooking with alcohol is classic French and classic Cajun and Creole as well.  The only difference is here along the bayou we usually drink the alcohol while cooking.

Your recipes list a lot of ingredients that I can’t find outside of Louisiana.  What to do?

Just as in any ethnic recipe, to make an authentic Cajun or Creole dish it is important that you source key ingredients.  I have included links to CajunGrocer.com and other online vendors.  And as a last resort, you can substitute ingredients.  Believe me, I once made gumbo for a crowd at the Sundance Film Festival; just try to find andouille sausage in Park City, Utah.

If I send you a recipe, photo or product, will you feature it on Acadiana Table?

Yes, no, maybe.  If it’s good, I’m interested.  If it’s really good, I will use it.  If it’s delicious and delectable, I will eat it.  Nothing guaranteed.  Nothing returned.

Do you write all this stuff?

Yessiree!  Like it or not, this is my life and my opinion about it.  That’s what is so great about blogging–total freedom to express your viewpoint.  And if your view is different, then you should write a blog, too.  As my good friend Aaron Neville says in song, “tell it like it is.”

What food writers do you follow?

That’s easy, Marcelle Bienvenu.  No one, I mean no one, knows more about Cajun and Creole food lore than Marcelle.  She lives it and is surrounded by it every day, and she can articulate it in words like no one else.  She is James Beard-nominated, along with co-author and food writer Judy Walker, for a post-Katrina cookbook Cooking up a Storm that literally saved New Orleans’ recipe heritage, but her first cookbook Who’s Your Mama, Are You Catholic and Can You Make a Roux? is actually my favorite.

No, I mean what writers on the national scene?  

Anthony Bourdain.  Until his untimely passing in 2018, he wrote about our Cajun culture with passion.  His talent was in cutting to the core and sucking out the marrow of a story with words that ooze truth.  In 2011, with his Travel Channel crew in tow, Bourdain came to Acadiana and in one 30-minute segment of No Reservations, he clearly defined Cajun culinary culture.  Rest in peace, my friend.

Do you take your own food photos and what equipment do you use?

Yes, all of them, unless I clearly credit another photographer.  Check my photography page for more details.

Have you written a cookbook, and can I buy it?

Yes, and yes.  Acadiana Table: Cajun and Creole Home Cooking from the Heart of Louisiana debuted in October, 2016, and is available in bookstores everywhere or online.  And if you would like an autographed copy of my cookbook, then visit our shop site.  Published by Boston-based Harvard Common Press, it is a 320-page hardcover collection of stories, recipes, and photographs that reflect my passion for Cajun and Creole culinary culture.  Most of the 125 recipes and over 180 full-color photographs do not appear on the blog.

What makes your cookbook different?

More than a recipe book, it is a kitchen-table conversation about a subject—Cajun and Creole food—that is misunderstood by many, and loved by many more.  It’s a deep dive into a mysterious foodway with every tasty bite a discovery and the sole reason to dig deeper into the story of this fascinating culinary world. If you like taking culinary chances and enjoy a sense of adventure, then this book will play to your passion for creative cooking.  To read media critics reviews of the book, go to the press page, and if you’d like to know what actual readers think of the book go to the reader reviews here.

I’m traveling to New Orleans, but why should I go to Lafayette?

Think Paris and Provence, San Francisco and Napa.  New Orleans is a must-see city, but to discover the real essence of French Cajun and Creole culture, you need to take a two-hour drive to Acadiana.  Oh, and bring an appetite and an ice chest–large ones.

Where should I locate my stay when I come to Acadiana?

Lafayette.  It is the central point to discover all of Acadiana.  It has good hotels, a vibrant downtown and a cool arts scene.  It is also its culinary capital. Named the “Best Food City in the USA” in the Rand McNally/USA TODAY Best of the Road® Rally, Lafayette has more great restaurants per capita than most any place in America.  Additionally, and for good reason, Southern Living magazine named Lafayette, the “Tastiest Town in the South.”

Do you have restaurant tips for when I travel to Acadiana?

Generally speaking, if I write about it, it is worth a stop.  But, like most adventures, you should come without an agenda.  Explore the backroads and find where the locals eat.  Stop for quick bites along the way.  If you need a heading, be sure to go online and visit Lafayette Convention and Visitors Commission.

Hey George, did you know you had a run-on sentence on page four and a typo on page six?

Yep, you win the prize.  I secretly hide subtle grammar errors in all my posts just to see if you’re paying attention.  Seriously, I’m out here all alone with no editor or proofer.  If something bothers you, let me know so I can fix it.  Most constructive input is well taken and appreciated.

Where can I get authentic Cajun and Creole food outside of Louisiana?

You can’t.

47 comments on „About / FAQ”

  1. Through your creativity with art and food and love of our culture, I have learned to appreciate the uniqueness of Acadiana. This is a beautiful way for you to share your passion and bring light to the place we call home.

  2. I too adore aix en provence and try to visit as often as possible. Am market driven as well. Recently returned form a press trip to your Acadia-Lafayette, and had an amazing time. The people and food are just wonderful. Glad to have found your blog. Beautiful photos! Best-Susan

  3. I’m from Calcasieu Parrish. I’ve been living abroad and now the Midwest for many years. Thanks for reminding how much I love and miss Louisiana.

  4. A friend of mine from Breaux Bridge pointed me in the direction of your blog as she is passionate about her ‘new’ home and area … she also knows how much I love experimenting with new recipes … and there the first post I read is on the humble turnip … turnips are the unsung hero taught to me by my late mom and have become my secret weapon in unexpected ways … in Irish stew and even a few bolognaise recipe’s for sure but much much more … and now I will give them pride of plate with your take … so of course I had to sign up for your newsletter. Figure, even though I live in Cape Town South Africa … I can fly the Cajun flag!

  5. You have a wonderful site. I am not a big cook, but I greatly enjoy your site. Beautiful and mouthwatering! I live with an obsessive healthy diet husband, so my meals are quite boring. I will have to try some of your fabulous healthier ones. You bring back memories of my Mom’s great cooking. I will share your blog on to my brother who loves to cook. Thanks so much for passing on our great Acadiana recipes, and producing so many great new ones! Blessings, Debbie Schumacher

  6. Just found your wonderful blog in my love for food blogs I am definitely going to follow yours
    We are planning on being in the area moving on to Natchez in 3 May
    I know it is hard for you to recommend exact places but maybe you could help us
    Narrow it down..we never stay in brand name hotels, motels….also a place or two for dinner
    We are foodies from San Francisco and are avoiding New Orleans! Help! And thanks
    Alice

    1. Hey Alice –
      So glad to help you. Lots to do and see in Acadiana. You will find many great ideas on the Faces and Places pages on Acadiana Table. As for hotels and/or Bed and Breakfast options in the region, please take a look online at the Lafayette CVB website. And as far as food goes, you can’t go wrong with any of the great places mentioned on Acadiana Table. Have a great trip.
      George

  7. We also grew up in Bogalusa eating Capo’s po boys. We are still searching for that elusive recipe. We’ve come close but the search goes on.

  8. Mr. Graham,

    I feel the discovery of your site is akin to being called home on “the mother ship”. While I am a Chicago native, I too have traveled extensively and find Acadian / Cajun / Creole to be my favorite cuisine in the world. Your photography and obviously, accompanying recipes will keep me glued to the Internet long after the dinner dishes have been put away.

    Thank you, from this burgeoning fat man.

  9. “Where can I get authentic Cajun and Creole food outside of Louisiana?”

    “You can’t.”

    Perfect response! My family is from Louisiana. I was born in Ayovelles Parish but have lived in the Washington, D.C., area nearly all my life. Your answer is so true.

    Happily, I still make the gumbos, etouffees, dirty rice and more that my mother cooked. How I miss boudin, though.

    I enjoy your blog–thanks!

    1. Hey Marilyn-
      Great to hear from a bayou girl living in DC. You’ll never duplicate Louisiana food in restaurants there, but give the restaurant Acadiana (901 New York Ave NW in Washington, DC) a try. They try hard to duplicate things like crawfish étouffée, chicken and andouille gumbo, and po-boys (they even bring in Leidenheimer bread from New Orleans.) I cannot vouch for the authenticity, but their focus on sourcing Louisiana ingredients is admirable. Let our other readers from the DC area know if you have a positive experience. Best, George

  10. My father’s family built and ran the Moresi foundry in Jeanerette,down the road from the Yellow Bowl. Just found your website today.

  11. Here’s a good question to add to your FAQ’s:
    My dad wants to know, “Hey George, how did you get a wife that purdy?”
    Haha
    (I do hope you have a good sense of humor.)

  12. I received my Acadiana Table cookbook yesterday, I was up past midnight looking through it. LOVE, LOVE, LOVE!!!! Thank you for being true to our heritage and way of life here in Louisiana. I do not buy many cookbooks, but when I do I make sure they are as authentic to our culture as possible. I hope there are other cookbooks in your future. I will be on the look out.

  13. Mr. Graham,
    I stumbled across your Beer-Boiled Peanut recipe on Pinterest and have spent the last hour captivated in your website. Great writing! Your passion, wit, and recipe descriptions are wonderful. Thank you for sharing.

  14. I have tried lots of your recipes, and they are all delicious!! I’ve sent some of them to my son, Jason who resides in Ft. Collins, CO—he loves to cook! He was in awe!! So, I had him get onto your email list. He’s loves receiving your recipes. My daughter in Baton Rouge cooks by your recipes also. Keep sending!!

  15. George,
    If I come to Lafayette, can I meet you? Do you have a store front or headquarters where I can make purchases and perhaps meet the family? Steve Hebert

    1. Hey Steve – We don’t have a store front just yet, but are working on it. Watch for upcoming book signings and Rox’s Roux samplings, and please stop by and say hello. I would enjoy talking about Cajun cooking with you. All the best.

  16. George, I prepared your Deer Sausage and Shrimp Jambalaya yesterday for my son’s birthday dinner. What a success this was! In the past, I used various recipes only as a guide, but on this one I followed your directions to a “T”. You failed to suggest the size of pot to be used, and I was very concerned about an overflow. After I got everything finally mixed there was not much space for rice expansion but it was perfect. I used a 10 quart cast iron pot that has been in the family ever since I made my first roux. I made sure I used Gulf Shrimp. The Farm-Raised Shrimp simply do not have the flavor Gulf Shrimp have. The colored bell peppers added a beautiful coloring to the pot. Thanks a million for your great effort in sharing the “secrets” of Cajun Cooking. Steve Hebert

  17. I used to buy boudin rouge (noir?) at Babineau’s on the rare occasion I had the opportunity to visit the area, but they closed as I am sure you know.
    I live in North Carolina and trips through the area are rare treats, and I have not been able to find a good place to but boudin rouge. Any suggestions? Is it at all possible there is a reliable processor selling by internet? I used the link to Earl’s in your paper on boudin stuffed pork loin but it does not appear they offer the product even on site. While I am taking your eyeballs and time, do you have a suggestion where I might be able to buy crawfish bisque online. I have had success picking the fat from boiled live crawfish (from Fruge) but I would like to be able to thaw a can and heat that.

    1. Hey Dreighton – You are correct in that Blood Boudin is scarce these days. There is one source Bourgeois Meat Market in Thibodaux, Louisiana that does sell it online at this link. They are a very reputable Cajun retailer and are listed on our Faces and Places page here on Acadiana Table. As for packaged crawfish bisque, I do not know a source, and would suspect that the reason is that there is no substitute for freshly made bisque. If you can source Louisiana crawfish tails along with a jar of Rox’s Roux, you can make a dark, rich crawfish bisque following the simple directions in my Acadiana Table cookbook. All the best.

    1. Kelly- Yes, in Louisiana we are in all The Fresh Market stores in Lafayette, Baton Rouge, Mandeville, New Orleans and Metairie, and in Lafayette, we are in a number of stores–all with our Rox’s Roux product. And of course, you can buy all our products online in our store here on the website. All the best.

  18. Hi George, in doing a recipe search today for a pork bones soup, I discovered Rox’s Roux (which I ordered and am anxiously awaiting!) and your website. My heritage is French Acadian by way of Nova Scotia, but I also have been to Louisiana and love the culture . Do you happen to have or know of any crossover type recipes incorporating both Northern and Southern influences? Quite different styles, but I’m trying hard to keep my family traditions alive! Either way, thank you and Rox for the inspiration!

    1. Hey Trish- Great to hear from our northern neighbor. There are many crossover influences between French Canada and Louisiana, but I personally do not have any recipes to share with you. I did have the opportunity to cook with the executive director of Ducks Unlimited Canada and sample a terrific wild rice jambalaya, but I do not have the recipe. If I run across one, I will certainly send it your way. All the best, and stay warm this winter with plenty of gumbo made with Rox’s Roux.

  19. Your roux arrived in Larkspur, CO today. At long last, I’ve admitted to homemade roux defeat in high altitude! I can’t wait to try yours and your recipes. Y’all are too adorable. Thank you!

  20. Hey buddy, stumbled upon this on a bored Saturday night as I await a shrimp boil tomorrow. Cheap shrimp in the mountains of New Mexico during Lent you know. As I’ve read, my mouth has watered, I’ve laughed and I’ve read parts to my Georgia born wife. Growing up in a long term Lafayette family, my Papa has a plaque at booth 2 at Judice Inn, reading about Delcambre (did many trips with Papa) just solidified my love for my original home. Thanks for the trip, and I look forward to reading your posts in the future!

    Ps. Even though I grew up with a lot of the Prudommes (Carencro) and worked for John Folse, Marcelle is my fave as well!

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