I grew up in Nebraska where Christmas turkey, dressing, gravy, and the trimmings were standard fare. But my family never celebrated in the traditional Nebraska way.
Instead, we drove from Nebraska to Louisiana to spend the holiday with my Cajun relatives in Evangeline Country.
The differences between Nebraska and Louisiana were numerous and striking:
In Louisiana just about everyone spoke Cajun French, not English like they did in Nebraska. While my aunts, uncles, and cousins spoke English, my grandmother only spoke French which meant that every year my siblings and I had to relearn the language we hadn’t used since the previous Christmas.
Holiday food in Louisiana was very different than the food we ate in Nebraska. Making hogs head cheese and pralines took the place of making fruitcake and cookies. The holiday meal was a huge bowl of gumbo and rice instead of a turkey. The gumbo consisted of shellfish and chicken and sausage swimming in a brown roux served over rice. (more…)