In order to truly understand the significance of the famous food from Louisiana, we first have to understand a little bit about the rich culture that lives in this state.
The territory known as Louisiana once covered the entire middle of what is now the United States. Ownership of this land went back and forth between Spain and France until the United States took possession in 1803, as a part of the Louisiana purchase. What we now know to be Louisiana became an official state just a few years later, in 1812.
In the 17th century, under the leadership of France, many French Canadians, called Acadians, settled in Louisiana. Today we call their descendants Cajuns. The Cajuns gave Louisiana a special language, music, festivals, and food.
Gumbo is Louisiana’s state cuisine. Where Louisiana is a melting pot of culture, gumbo is that melting pot expressed through food. There are about as many variations for gumbo as there are people. The only constant is that gumbo begins with a dark roux and has Cajun seasonings and broth. Some add okra, some don’t. Some add filé powder, some don’t. The meat could include chicken and andouille sausage, or a mix of seafood. Many believe that this wide variation is a result of early-day Cajuns simply using whatever they had on hand. They would make this soup, spoon it over rice, and have a hearty meal.
The Acadians brought beignets with them when they settled in Louisiana. It is now the official Louisiana state donut. While the Acadians brought beignets to Louisiana, it is Cafe Du Monde that made them famous.
This simple coffee stand began serving cafe au laits and beignets back in 1862. Cafe Du Monde now serves over 30,000 beignets a day! Who would have thought something as simple as a puffy square donut covered in powdered sugar would go over so well? I would argue that you haven’t really taken a trip to New Orleans unless you have been to Cafe Du Monde!
Pralines were initially a sugar-coated almond. But when the French brought this recipe to Louisiana, pecans were the nut that was readily available. Over time, the sugar-coated nut was transformed into a sugary candy-cookie. Street vendors began selling these sweet confections on the streets of the French Quarter, and their popularity grew! They are now a sweet treat that you will find all across the southern United States.
For our Louisiana state dinner, we combined the concept of pecan pralines with beignets and made deliciously decadent beignets with pecan praline sauce. Just when you thought beignets couldn’t get any better…
Famous Food From Louisiana Menu
Louisiana State Facts
- Louisiana was the 18th state in the US
- New Orleans is the second-lowest point in the United States, sitting at 8 feet below sea level
- More than 2 million alligators live in the wild in Louisiana
- New Orleans is often called the birthplace of Jazz
- 1.4 million people visit New Orleans each year for the Mardis Gras festival
- Famous people from Louisiana include: Louis Armstrong, Mo Willems, Ellen DeGeneres
If this is the first state dinner you have enjoyed with us, check out our journey from the beginning, starting here.