Learn About Local Food Traditions in Honor of Atchafalaya National Heritage Area Month
Monday October 08, 2018 03:50 pm - Posted By Items of Interest
In continuation of Atchafalaya National Heritage Area month, Terrebonne Parish celebrates the distinctive regional food traditions of the Atchafalaya area, a result of the blending of cultures for over 300 years. To fully appreciate the food traditions within the Atchafalaya National Heritage Area, one must remember that both Cajun and Creole cooking are products of years and years of continuous sharing and borrowing among the region’s many cultural groups.
Many different cultures contribute to Louisiana food such as the French, Spanish, African, German, Caribbean, and Native American. Each contributing their culture to make a melting pot of nationally known food dishes. One of the most popular dishes Louisiana is known for is gumbo.
The word gumbo is derived from the word nkombo, the Bantu word for okra. The okra plant is an African favorite, while filé, a seasoning made from ground sassafras leaves, is Native American. Both are staple ingredients for a Louisiana gumbo. The origin of gumbo, usually defined as a soup-like dish featuring two or more meats or seafood and served with rice, is often attributed to the French bouillabaisse, but the strong preference for soups in Africa reinforced the tradition.
The Atchafalaya National Heritage Area location highlight this week is the Bluebonnet Swamp Nature Center in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. The Bluebonnet Swamp is a 103-acre facility dedicated to conservation, education, recreation, and tourism. It houses an award-winning, 9500-square-foot building filled with live animal exhibits, photographic presentations of the site’s flora and fauna, natural artifact and mineral displays, and a sizeable, vintage waterfowl decoy carving collection. There are also mile long gravel paths and boardwalks that link varied habitats, such as the cypress-tupelo swamp, beech-magnolia, and hardwood forests. To visit the Bluebonnet Swamp Nature Center or to find out more information, visit brec.org.