What is a Creole? The word Creole means many things to many people. It derives from the Latin word “Creare,” meaning “to beget” or “create.” The Webster dictionary says a Creole is a “white person descended from the French or Spanish settlers of Louisiana and the Gulf States and preserving their characteristic speech and culture.”
Creoles, a term first used in the 16th century in Latin America to distinguish the offspring of European settlers from Native Americans, blacks, and later immigrant groups. In colonial America the designally originally applied to the American-born descendants of European-born settlers. The term has since acquired varying meanings in different regions.
In the United States, the state of Louisiana has a diverse Creole population. White Creoles are the French-speaking descendants of early French or Spanish settlers. Black Creoles are generally the French-speaking Louisianians of mixed race, once constituted a separate group, but have now largely assimilated into the black Creole population. These people have their own culture and customs and even a composite language derived from the French. In Latin America the term may refer to people of direct Spanish extraction or just to members of families whose ancestry goes back to the colonial period. In the West Indies the word Creole is used to identify descendants of any European settlers. (Encarta Encyclopedia 226).
The Spanish introduced the word as Criollo, and during Louisiana’s colonial period (1699-1803) the evolving word Creole generally referred to persons of African or European heritage born in the New World. Creoles can mean anything from individuals born in the New Orleans with French and Spanish ancestry to those who ...
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...but is rarely used in Louisiana cooking.
Creoles tend to like their roux a blond or medium type. The Cajuns prefer their roux dark. The preparation of roux is dependent on cooking time, the darker the roux. The blond roux only takes 4 to 5 minutes to cook and the dark roux will take up to 20 to 25 minutes to cook. It all depends on how dark you want it and this is how you base how many minutes it will take. The roux must always be stirred constantly to avoid burning it. Cooking to Creoles and Cajuns is taken very seriously.(Shermn,122)
The Creoles lived an interesting culture, however, the word Creole remains murky, with some individuals (black, white, mixed-race) futilely claiming the right of exclusive use. The Encyclopedia of Southern Culture states, perhaps the “safest” course is to say that a Creole is “anyone who says he is one.”(Encyclopedia,295)
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