Gumbo Pages

Review by Debbie Mazo

One of the "hottest" food trends for the past few years has been Cajun or Creole cooking, native to the Bayou country in the state of Louisiana. The creation of French and Spanish settlers, it is perhaps best characterized by creamy sauces, fully-flavored with the rich use of herbs and spices. If you plan on cruising down the Mississipi, one of the best sites is the Gumbo Pages, a musical, culinary, and cultural information source about New Orleans and Acadiana or "Cajun Country".

Hosted by New Orleans expatriate Chuck Taggart, this plain and simple site offers a complete tour guide for visitors of La Nouvelle Orleans. In the Gumbo Pages, where you're reminded that alcohol, butter, cream, and big piles of fried seafood are still good for you, you can experience Creole culture and indulge yourself as much as possible. Check out the Music, Culture, and Food of New Orleans where you can find out where to hear great music, where to stay, what to eat, and how to "tawk rite". A rule of thumb to remember when visiting the area is that New Orleanians tend to stress the first syllable of most words, and pronounce certain standard English words in very special ways, awrite!

The Creole and Cajun Recipe Page includes all the essentials for the tongue-searing Creole cuisine of New Orleans and the hearty cooking of Acadiana. Here you'll find some culinary basics such as seasoning blends, stocks, and sauces as well as regional recipes from some of the area's best chefs. Scroll to Gumbos, soups and bisques where you can experiment with Chef John Folse's Corn and Crab Bisque. Or try a local dessert, banana bread pudding with banana rum sauce and whipped cream (a cross between the classic bread pudding and Bananas Foster, the great flaming bananas and ice cream dessert) created by Chef Frank Brigtsen of Brigtsen's Restaurant in uptown New Orleans. As the site recommends, "Do not think about calories or fat ... just eat it!"

For visitors to Acadiana, the Gumbo Page includes a complete guide to Cajun country from restaurants to dance halls to Cajun food and music. This section serves up a growing list of restaurants as well as a link to a Cajun Family Recipe Book with everything from sauces to side dishes. When you're finished checking out the local haunts, don't forget to sign the Gumbo Pages' Guest Book and say hey. If you can't actually get to French Lousiana, the Gumbo Pages is the next best place to be!

Debbie Mazo is a writer and editor based in Vancouver, Canada. She currently specializes in technical and marketing materials, but is also pursuing opportunities in food journalism.


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