How to Speak
Here are a few common
Cajun words, and their English translations.
A spicy country sausage used in Gumbo and other Cajun dishes.
Delicious sweet doughnuts, square-shaped and minus the hole,
lavishly sprinkled with powdered sugar. Sometimes served with
cafe au lait (coffee with chicory and milk).
A thick, cream or milk-based shellfish soup, usually made with
crawfish, shrimp or oysters.
Bon Appetite! (bon a-pet-tite')
Good appetite - or "Enjoy!"
A community butchering which involves several families
contributing the animal(s) --usually pigs -- to be
slaughtered. Each family helps to process the different cuts
of meat, like sausage, ham, boudin, chaudin, chops, and head
cheese. Each family gets to take home their share of the
yield. This process was done in late fall to provide meat
throughout the cold months.
Hot, spicy pork mixed with onions, cooked rice, herbs, and
stuffed in sausage casing.
French for "stuffed", it is the name of a Cajun card game
which requires the loser of a hand to stuff the pot with
Cafe au Lait (kah-fay-oh-lay)
Coffee with steamed milk.
Slang for Acadians, the French-speaking people who migrated to
South Louisiana from Nova Scotia in the eighteenth century.
Cajuns were happily removed from city life preferring a rustic
life along the bayous. The term now applies to the people, the
culture, and the cooking.
A hot pepper that is dried and used to season many Louisiana
A fool, from the French
A popular breakfast food, made by frying cornmeal and topping
it with milk and/or cane syrup.
A succulent, tangy tomato-based sauce. A smothered dish
usually made with crawfish or shrimp. Crawfish and Shrimp
etouffees are New Orleans and Cajun country specialties.
Fais do do (fay-doe-doe)
The name for a party where traditional Cajun dance is
performed. This phrase literally means "to make sleep,"
although the parties are the liveliest of occasions with food,
music, and dancing..
Ground sassafras leaves used to season, among other things,
A stew made by browning then removing meat from the pan,
making a roux with the pan drippings, and then returning meat
to simmer in the thick gravy.
A thick, robust roux-based soup sometimes thickened with okra
or file'. There are thousands of variations, such as shrimp or
seafood gumbo, chicken or duck gumbo, okra and file' gumbo.
Louisiana chefs "sweep up the kitchen" and toss just about
everything into the pot. A rice dish with any combination of
beef, pork, fowl, smoked sausage, ham, or seafood, as well as
celery, green peppers and often tomatoes.
Joie de Vivre (zhwa-d-veev)
An attitude towards life
This word is Cajun for "something extra," like the extra donut
in a baker's dozen. An unexpected nice surprise.
Laissez les bon temps rouler (lay-zay lay bon ton rule-ay)
Let the good times roll!
Maque Chou (mock-shoo)
A dish made by scraping young corn off the cob and smothering
the kernels in tomatoes, onion, and spices.
Mardi Gras (mardi graw)
Commonly known as Fat Tuesday, it is the day before Ash
Wednesday, the first day of the Roman Catholic season of Lent.
It's also the day of the Biggest Party on Earth!
Pain Perdu (pan-pear-doo)
Means "lost bread"; a breakfast treat made by soaking stale
bread in an egg batter, then frying and topping with cane
syrup or powdered sugar.
A Cajun canoe.
The sweetest of sweets, this New Orleans tradition is a candy
patty made of sugar, cream and pecans.
Base of gumbos or stews, made of flour and oil mixture.
Strips of spiced pork or beef which are smoked like jerky and
used to flavor many dishes; a sort of Cajun pepperoni.