Wednesday, May 25, 2005

All things Cajun and why do I love it so?

I do not know when I became a Cajun fanatic. I just loved listening to the music, and I have learned quite a bit about it, have gone to the hinterlands of southern Louisiana twice to find it in real life, and I have bought about 10 CDs which I listen to all the time. Well, a lot. This week I received a book of recipes by Enola Prudhomme, "Low Calorie Cajun Cookin". She is one of 11 children, and sister of the more famous chef Paul Prudhomme. This came about because on one of our trips, leaving Lafayette to go to Eunice, Louisiana to a Saturday night show at the Liberty Music Theatre, I saw her restaurant on the side of the road. Since the web knows and sees all, now I know it is called Enolas and it is in Carenco, Lousiana. I'm not sure the restaurant is still open, I also read that is now closed due to her poor health. Too bad. I seem to always catch on to things when it is too late.

I decided that since I am such a fan of Cajun music and culture, I might as well learn a little about cooking Cajun. This book is great, the recipes are simple, easy to understand, and substitute some of the high fat ingredients so that the food doesn't kill you. I love the hot spicy crawfish and crab recipes, but she even has a good recipe for Rice Krispy Bars. This is not a snobby recipe collection. Her recipes for vegetables look unique and tasty. I can't wait to try them.

On the web I have found the name of a woman who teaches cajun dance here in Boston. I'm going to get in touch with her to see if she can help George and I learn the steps so we can get up and cut a rug the next time we go to Louisiana. It is fast paced music, with a repetitive two step or waltz step and you have to do it just so or make a complete fool of yourself. There is no room for improvisation, this is the real deal Cajun dancing and we need help learning it. George has a little trouble finding the "beat", and we both need a lot of practice. To watch the dancers in Lousiana at Mulates is to watch perfection. They don't make a wrong move, and the lady always dances backward and the steps are precise and fast. The man and the woman hardly move from the waist up as they shuffle around in a circle of dancers, so George commented the last time we were there, that it looked like the men were pushing grocery carts...there is no jumping around like other fast dancing. Our next trip to Louisiana to hear Cajun music is to the Festival Arcadienne in Lafayette next September. I've already booked the room.

On June 9th, here in Boston, we are going to hear Steve Riley and the Mamou Playboys at a place called Jimmy D's. It is a tiny dance floor and hopelessly crowded with dancers who don't have a clue what they are doing, so I don't plan on even trying to dance. It is enough to be in the room and listening to someone who really knows how to play the Cajun accordian.

Fun fun.

See you later aligator!