About the Cities of Super Bowl 2010: New Orleans

Saints Win(Brees & Favre) Photo by David J. Phillip AP

It is quite convenient for the Multi Cultural Cooking Network that the New Orléans Saints will be in the Big Super Bowl dance versus the Indianapolis Colts.  Why? New Orléans is legendary for food so it makes our jobs easier.  The list of foods of New Orléans are as long as the Menu items at Bubba Gump. – Crystal A. Johnson, MCCN Editor

Food History of New Orleans, A Very Multi Cultural Story

The Cajun and Creole foods of the city and south Louisiana are living examples of people adapting to their new surroundings and neighbors. Creoles are descendants of wealthy Europeans sent to establish New Orleans. Their taste tended to be richer with sauces and roux from the French, sausages from the Germans, spices and rice from the Spanish, and desserts and pastries from the Italians. These European descendants often intermarried or employed Africans from the West Indies or Africa who contributed spices, slow cooking methods, beans and rice, and the use of the tomato. Africans brought with them a vegetable used to thicken and flavor soups. We call this vegetable “okra,” but the Africans called it “gumbo,” giving the famous soup its thickness and name. Native Americans introduced the settlers to local vegetables and spices, including sassafras for file and bay leaf.  Read More:  The Food of New Orleans

Food History from the Institute for New Orleans History and Culture at Gywnedd Mercy College

Copeland’s Restaurants: A Taste of New Orleans

Good food is good food, whether it’s the “she-she pooh-pooh” quarter-sized portions or the “heavin’ up the eats with a shovel” variety. Nevertheless, it can get iffy when you go to chain restaurants, where the fish is bland and the pasta has no personality. Thankfully, this is not the case with Copeland’s of New Orleans.

Copeland’s is located in Arkansas, Georgia, Texas, Maryland, Oklahoma, Florida and of course Louisiana. MCCN’s visit was to their Columbia, Maryland location. Centrally located near The Mall in Columbia, upon driving up to the restaurant you might think you’re about to enter a 1980’s pop club with the florescent lights beaming at optimal brightness, but hold on…entering the restaurant is a completely different story. The classic dark wood and dim surroundings are serene and cozy for a very comfortable dining experience.

Time to order…what to do? What to do? Let’s stall ’em by placing our appetizer order. “We’ll have an order of your Creole Calamari please! ” That’ll give us a few minutes to figure something out. Meanwhile, the hot buttered biscuits on the table seem to know each one of our names. And with each bite we remember more and more who they are…”Grandma how did you get in there?”

The calamari arrives and the tasting begins. “Uummh!” says one…”Uummh” goes another. All are pleased ! The calamari is seasoned, lightly dusted, crispy fried and served with Creole Remoulade Vinaigrette or marinara sauce. Both are good, but the Creole Remoulade has a spicy kick that should not be missed.

Three women – three orders, and two of them involve catfish. Plate #1 was the Crab -Stuffed Catfish Bordelaise, which was an 8 oz. fillet of catfish stuffed with crabmeat stuffing, seasoned and broiled then topped with garlic butter then served with Corn Macque Choux and steamed vegetables. Not your run of the mill combination of fish topped with crabmeat, these two complimented each other so well that eating them separately is an injustice. The portion was generous and the reception was pure satisfaction.

Plate #2 involved some nerves of steel…some adventurous eating on the partakers part. A discussion

eggplant, Copeland's Restaurant, Copeland's of New Orleans, angel hair pasta

Copeland's of New Orleans in Columbia, Maryland

had just taken place about eggplant. Sentiments of never really being satisfied with ordering eggplant or eating it in general. Somehow, some way, the partaker trudged past her own trepidation, probably letting herself be inspired by the picture on the menu, and ordered the Eggplant Pirogue.  Her faith would be rewarded with a very enthusiastic thumbs up for this flavorful dish. Also a healthy serving, this eggplant dish served over angel hair pasta is smothered in au gratin sauce with shrimp and crab claws.

Plate #3 is an order of Catfish Acadiana and boy did  those Cajuns really get it right! Golden fried catfish with creamy shrimp butter sauce.  It’s usually served with steamed vegetables and Copeland’s Red Hot Potatoes, but this partaker indulged herself with a double dose of starch – red beans and rice and the mashed sweet potatoes. The red beans and rice were standardly good, but the mashed sweet potatoes are buttery sweetness at its best. Yes, you will need a sweet tooth for this dish; It is something to write home about. Dear Mom: Next time you visit, we’re going to go to Copeland’s of New Orleans!

Article by Monica Johnson

Rhythm and Food: Interview with Zydeco Musician from Princess and the Frog

terance simien
Terrance Simien is a Zydeco musician who performs on the Princess and the frog soundtrack.  The music called  Zydeco has been around for over 300 years.  When asked, “How do music and food go together?”  The  Lafayette, LA native shares the correlation between music and food in New Orleans.  Bottom line, he expresses that with out music and food New Orleans would not have tourism.  Stating, “They both bring people to Louisiana.” As for his favorite dish, gumbo containing shrimp, crab claws, sausage and more qualifies as his top pick.   ne of the top talents in zydeco music with a long family history in Louisiana,
Simien is a grammy award winner and featured performer on The Princess and the Frog soundtrack, due for release on November 24th. Simien’s energetic accordion lights up the song, “I’m Gonna Take You There” (written by Randy Newman). An accordion playing firefly named Ray performs the action on screen, beckoning his companion to join him “down the bayou.”
gumbo from Buds Cafe
(Featured in photoGumbo from Buds Cafe in San Diego)
Simien is creole and cites that his ethnicity is quite multi-cultural.  He is of French, African, Spanish, Native American & German descent.  Furthermore, he expressed his joy about the first Disney movie featuring an African Princess taking place in his home state and how tremendous this is to the people of the state of Louisiana.
*His next show is on December 5th at festival in Charlottesville, VA.
Article co-written by Erika L. Holmes and Crystal A. Johnson