Wednesday, April 29, 2015

SETX, Lies and BBQ

A recent article in the local (Beaumont) newspaper is so full of shit - for one, it treats the best barbecue restaurant in Southeast Texas, JB's in Orange, as a footnote, and it claims that BBQ fans can't find good smoked BBQ in Southeast Texas, which is completely untrue. These so-called BBQ "expert"s say - “You’re not gonna get a lot of smoke" in SETX barbecue. "In Central Texas, it’s all about the smoke" "If you want Central Texas ’cue, go to Central Texas" - First of all, JB's in Orange has been smoking BBQ for more than 40 years. Secondly, believe it or not, Orange is still considered part of Southeast Texas, so we don't have to go anywhere else. And finally, who the hell calls BBQ "cue" anyway?

Creole Coffee

How to make Creole Coffee: 1/2 oz. Kahlua, 1/2 oz. Baileys Irish Cream, 1/2 oz. Rittenhouse rye 100 proof, 1/2 oz. grain alcohol, Hot or cold coffee, Brandied whipped cream, Orange peel. - Using the back of a bar spoon, gently layer the liquor into a shot glass – Kahlua first, then Baileys, Rittenhouse rye and, finally, the grain alcohol. Apply a flame to the surface of the layered alcohol and let flame for one minute. Smother the flame, twist the orange peel over the glass. Fill a thick-walled glass with hot (or chilled coffee) and quickly pour the liquors into the coffee. Stir with a long spoon, top with brandied whipped cream and garnish with the orange peel. Where to get Creole Coffee: Ethel's Creole Kitchen, 1615 Sulgrave Ave., Mount Washington 410-664-2971

Because of racism, some people will call themselves "Cajun" when they are actually Creole.

"Cajunism operates on a Canadian and French identity; many Louisianians who have no Canadian ancestry will dig hard to find one to validate their Cajunit√©, too. When the genealogy proves unsuccessful, they parade around claiming to be “culturally” Cajun, anything to avoid being Creole. In their minds, Canada and France are where Whites live and come from, which makes Cajun an implicitly white ethno-racial identity." - "That leaves the remaining “Francophones” in Louisiana to continue identifying as Creoles (or, French Creoles, Spanish Creoles, or Black Creoles), making Creole, therefore, an explicitly black/mixed/other ethnic identity. Still, some Whites, in disgust, will whisper to you: "We used to call ourselves Creoles before this Cajun stuff” - or “They call themselves Cajuns, but they're all Creoles." - Christophe Landry -

Stop Calling Creole Culture "Cajun" - It's Not The Same Thang Part 3

Finally, the first "Cajuns" left Eastern Canada and came down to Louisiana in 1764. By that time the Creole people, culture, food and customs were well established. The "Cajuns," who were farmers, settled in the area west of New Orleans that would become Lafayette. And the rural Creoles of Southwest Louisiana taught the "Cajuns" how to hunt and fish in the bayous, and how to make Gumbo, Jambalaya, Bread Pudding, and everything else in between. Additional note: Following the Haitian Revolution of 1791, people from Haiti, the West Indies, Jamaica and the Caribbean also came to New Orleans, bringing even more diverse influences to Creole food and customs. Additional note: Part of the problem is that way too many people - including cooks and restaurant owners - identify themselves as "Cajun" when many times their families are actually descended from Creoles. And that's a whole 'nuther rant.

Stop Calling Creole Culture "Cajun" - It's Not The Same Thang Part 2

The first Africans, both slaves and freemen, came to New Orleans in 1720. From African cooks we get the co-creation and name of the classic Creole dish known as GUMBO - early 19th century: from the Angolan word kingombo "okra." In other words, Creoles invented Gumbo, not "Cajuns." African cooks also contributed new ideas to French dishes such as Etouffee, resulting in the Creole classics Shrimp Etouffee and Crawfish Etouffee. Other Europeans, including Germans, Italians, Swiss, English, Irish, Scottish, Scandinavian and so on, began arriving in New Orleans in 1722. From the Germans, we got potato salad as a side for Gumbo, French/German collaborations on Andouille sausage, French/German collaborations on Boudain and the creation of fried potatoes sold in the French Market that became known as "French Fried Potatoes" and "Creole Potato Chips." From the English, we got battered/fried fish and bread pudding. From the Italians we got loaves of bread sold in the French Market that became known as "French Bread" (German bakers did the same) - as well as the creation of the classic Muffuletta sandwich. And more. All of that is Creole, not "Cajun." The first Spanish came to New Orleans in 1763, bringing more culinary influences, including a popular culinary French/Spanish collaboration called Jambalaya. Again, Creole, not "Cajun."

Stop Calling Creole Culture "Cajun" - It's Not The Same Thang Part 1

Another local newspaper article about regional food/customs and another local newspaper writer misidentifying Creole as "Cajun." It's enough to make me spit-take my Cafe Du Monde Coffee with Chicory. Quick history lesson for foodies: France established the French Colony of Louisiana in 1682. The term "Creole" (meaning from the colony) was first used by French settlers to distinguish between anyone born in Louisiana and someone born "from away." Therefore, everyone born in the French colony (whether they were originally from France or not) would become known as Creole. Meanwhile, the "Cajuns" were the French-speaking farmers who settled in Acadia, Eastern Canada in and around the same time period. In short, Creole means Louisiana while "Cajun" means CANADA.

The Media's On-Going Cajun-Instead-Of-Creole Problem

Just shot off an e-mail to the Chicago Tribune after reading its article on the "secret African roots of Cajun cuisine" ... sigh - while the headline used the phrase Creole cuisine, which is correct, the story itself used "Cajun" in place of Creole, which of course if wrong, which I pointed out in my e-mail - explaining to them that Creole and "Cajun" are not the same thing. Funny how so many people talk about "Cajun" cuisine but rarely ever talk about the kinds of things that "Cajuns" actually cooked up in Acadia - whole pigs roasted with vegetables and whole chickens boiled in pots with vegetables. They didn't cook crawfish, gumbo, etouffee, or jambalaya until they came down South and met the Louisiana Creoles. And lot of people call Boudain (Boudin) "Cajun" when in fact Boudain comes from a lot of other cultures too including French, Belgian, German, Austrian and of course, Louisiana Creole. Same goes for Andouille sausage, which is French/German in origin, not Acadian. Even dirty rice was originally a Louisiana Creole creation before it was "Cajun."

Brent's Picks KBTV FOX 4 Southeast Texas Live April 29 Edition

Brent is back with the best in new releases and personal picks for KBTV FOX 4's Southeast Texas Live starting at 3 p.m. today - with new music from Josh Groban and Eric Clapton, new DVDs include Paddington and Inherent Vice, and new books from Beaumont's own Jamie Brickhouse and more!

Thursday, April 23, 2015

If You Love Crawfish, Thank A Creole

If You Love Crawfish, Thank A Creole This month's edition of Louisiana Life points out a fun little historical fact about our ever-popular regional culinary delight, the crawfish - that contrary to popular belief, Creoles started the mudbug tradition, not the Cajuns. (Like I've been saying). In "The Versatile Crawfish," Stanley Dry writes that the crawfish has a long and storied history in French cuisine, and early French Creole settlers brought their taste for the crustacean with them to Louisiana. "Crawfish bisque, in particular, became a prominent feature of the Creole cuisine that evolved in New Orleans," Dry says. "But it was a harder sell for the Acadian (Cajun) refugees who settled in south Louisiana. They had no tradition of eating crawfish." In fact, according to "Stir The Pot: The History Of Cajun Cuisine," by Marcelle Bienvenu, Carl Brasseaux and Ryan Brasseaux, crawfish did not play a role in the Cajun diet until the mid-20th century. That's the 1950s folks.
So the next time someday talks about eatin' crawfish as "Cajun," don't believe the hype. It's Creole.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Brent's Picks KBTV FOX 4 Southeast Texas Live April 23 Edition

Brent is back with the best in new releases and personal picks for KBTV FOX 4's Southeast Texas Live starting at 3 p.m. Thursday April 22 - with recently discovered musical treasures from the Buena Vista Social Club, arresting 80's influenced modern pop/rock from the Night Terrors Of 1927, Liam Neeson's Fugitive-style actioner "Tak3n," the re-release of the original "Star Wars" trilogy on disc and digital formats, world-famous Austin-based Franklin Barbecue's first-ever cookbook, Anne Rice's return to the erotic re-telling of Sleeping Beauty and more!

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Brent's Picks KBTV FOX 4 Southeast Texas Live Tax Day Edition

After Brent finishes filing his taxes, he'll bring the best in new releases and personal picks to KBTV FOX 4's Southeast Texas Live starting at 3 p.m. today - with new CDs from country icons Dwight Yoakam and Hank Williams III - new DVDs including Tim Burton's Big Eyes and the animated feature Batman Vs Robin - new books on heroes and heroines - and more!

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Brent's Picks - KBTV FOX 4 Southeast Texas Live - April 9

Brent is back with the best of this week's new releases and personal picks for KBTV FOX 4's Southeast Texas Live starting at 3 p.m. today - with new music from soul man Boz Scaggs and Disney's Princesses - new DVD releases include Wild and a special offer on Game Of Thrones - and new books include Bill O'Reilly's Legends & Lies The Real West, Disney's Before Tomorrowland and more!

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Brent's Picks - April Fool Edition

It's no joke - Brent is back with the best in new releases for KBTV FOX 4's Southeast Texas Live starting at 3 p.m. TODAY - with new music from Ludacris, Ringo Starr and Darius Rucker - new DVD from action icon Jason Statham - new books from Trisha Yearwood, Sherrilyn Kenyon and more!