The Story of the Real Cajun Mardi Gras and The Walkers Experience
Mardi Gras- or Carnival- is celebrated in many cities worldwide with strong Catholic ties. Although legend tells of French explorers Pierre Le Moyne d’Iberville and Sieur de Bienville hosting America’s first Mardi Gras celebration near present-day New Orleans in 1699, historical record says it was first celebrated in the 1700s in present-day Mobile, Alabama, the capital of the French Louisiana Territory. Today, communities along the gulf coast from Texas to Florida celebrate Mardi Gras season. Each area prides itself on its own unique customs, from parades, costumes, and formal balls to special food and libations.
Mardi Gras season begins on January 6th, called Epiphany or Twelfth Night, the fay the three kings reached baby Jesus in Bethlehem. To mark the occasion, local bakeries make a flaky, oval-shaped pastry called a king cake. Inside each king cake is a plastic baby that signifies the baby Jesus. The person who finds the baby in their slice has to host next year’s mardi gras party and provide the king cake. The Carnival Season culminated on Fat Tuesday (“Mardi Gras” in French), the day before Ash Wednesday, and the Christain Lent. On Fat Tuesday and the weeks leading up to it, Catholics- and many Protestants- eat and drink whatever they wish before giving up meat and other luxuries during the Lenten season of sacrifice and repentance.
Just 10 miles from Ville Platte is the small town of Mamou (pronounced Mah-moo), which hosts one of the traditional Cajun Mardi Gras Celebration in the United States. The Courir de Mardi Gras (Fat Tuesday run) dayed back to the fête de la quémande (feast of begging), of medieval France. Mamou revelers on horseback go door to door begging for ingredients to make a communal pot of gumbo. Dressed in simple costumes made of colorful scraps of fabric and donning a mask and capuchon (cone-shaped hat), men sing ballads in French. One home might provide a bell pepper, well and other provides an onion or celery stick or even a live chicken.
“The Capitaine leads close to 200 men on horseback, and they dance on their horses,” says Jennifer. “they get permission to go on farmers’ lands to chase their chickens. The captured chickens are used in the gumbo. Behind them are trailers of men, women, and children throwing loot to the crowd, everyone having a good time.”
Afterward, the fun goes on at Fred’s, a famous Cajun French Music lounge in Mamou that opens every Saturday Morning for the locals to dance. “Fred’s Lounge was the first bar I went to in my life,” says Jack. “I think Joe and I were 8 and 10 years old, maybe younger. But it was just so cold and the only place we could go.”
After the Mardi Gras fun, the walkers invite their friends back to their Ville Platte house to warm up over a big pot of chicken and sausage gumbo–the true Cajun way of making gumbo, without tomatoes, okra, or seafood.
“New Orleans does things on a much grander scale with elaborate floats and balls,” says Jack. “But Cajuns are more simplistic. We do the traditional Mardi Gras here. It’s a big to-do because of all the people who get together.”
Mama’s Chicken & Sausage Gumbo
Looking to experience some of Louisiana’s finest dishes? Try Slap Ya Mama’s Chicken & Sausage Gumbo recipe. Delivering unparalleled Louisiana Cajun flavor from our home in Ville Platte, LA. After trying our recipe, you’ll love it so much you’ll want to come on down to visit us at our home.Gumbo is one of those authentic dishes whose roots are deeply ingrained in Louisiana’s culture and people. There are many variations of gumbo all over Louisiana and each variation is authentic and delicious in its own right. With Ville Platte being located in south-central Louisiana, we didn’t have consistent access to seafood or many other ingredients you might find in other gumbos. We instead made a gumbo with the ingredients that are most abundant in our area, such as chicken and pork. For that reason we traditionally prepare a Chicken & Sausage Gumbo with a dark roux. During the cold winter months a very large pot of gumbo was often made and we would eat on it for a couple of days. We had no complaints of eating leftovers when it came to gumbo because it actually gets better with time.This winter, try preparing a chicken & sausage gumbo. Make a large pot of it so you can eat on it for days and keep the smiles coming from all that get to enjoy it.
In a 10-12 quart pot over high heat, fill ½ way with water and bring to a boil. Add ¾ jar of roux, boil until roux is completely dissolved, stirring occasionally. Reduce to medium heat; add sausage, onions, bell peppers, garlic and 2 tbsp of Slap Ya Mama Original Blend Seasoning. Boil for 15 minutes. With the remaining ½ tbsp. of Slap Ya Mama Original Blend Seasoning, season chicken and add to pot. Add water to pot until it is almost full. Bring to a boil and boil for 1 hour. With 10 minutes remaining of the hour boil, add parsley and green onions. Reduce low heat. Serve over rice, add a few dashes of Slap Ya Mama Pepper Sauce and enjoy!
If you are having trouble finding Roux or Smoked Pork Sausage, try Teet’s Food Store of Ville Platte, Louisiana.
Étouffée, pronounced “eh-too-fey”, has been deeply rooted in Louisiana culinary history since the 1920s. Initially, it was only popular with Cajuns who lived along the bayous of South Louisiana and was later introduced in restaurants around the Breaux Bridge area in the 1950s. It wasn’t until the 1980s that a server from the very popular New Orleans restaurant, Galatoires, brought the dish to his boss and asked him to give it a try. His boss enjoyed it so much, Galatoires added it to their menu and from then on, étouffée was solidified in Louisiana History as one of our greatest dishes. Today, ètouffée is a familiar dish around the country but is most commonly found in South Louisiana.
What is Étouffée?
Did you know Étouffée derives from the French verb etouffer, which means “smothered”? In simple terms, crawfish étouffée could be described as smothered crawfish! In more detail, ètouffée is a seasoned dish where shellfish are simmered with the holy trinity in a sauce made out of roux and served over rice.
There are many variations of étouffée, from the protein used to the thickness of the stew, and the level of spiciness. While all variations are delicious, here in Louisiana, étouffée is most commonly made with crawfish or shrimp. Many who don’t have access to shellfish have used chicken as a substitute. For us, we don’t mind if it’s thick or a little thinner, what matters is that our ètouffèe is full of flavor and seasoned with Slap!
Feel like being a Cajun Chef Make Mama’s Crawfish Étouffée from scratch?
garnish: chopped fresh parsley, chopped green onion
In a large Dutch oven, heat 1/4 cup butter over medium heat. Add onion, bell pepper, celery, and tomato; cook until tender. Add garlic; cook for 2 minutes. Add crawfish, and stir to combine. Add stock; bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat, simmer until liquid is reduced by half, 15 to 20 minutes. Add Slap Ya Mama Original Blend Cajun Seasoning and Slap Ya Mama Hot Sauce. Taste, and adjust seasonings if necessary.
Cut remaining 3/4 cup butter into cubes. Remove pan from heat; fold in cubed butter, stirring until a creamy sauce forms. Serve over hot cooked rice. Garnish with parsley and green onion, if desired.
Save time with Slap Ya Mama’s Cajun Étouffée Sauce!
Mama’s Cajun Étouffée Sauce is an authentic down-home etouffée base that is so much like our grandmother’s, you’d swear we have Wilda Marie in the back cooking up batches by the tons…from scratch. Here at Slap Ya Mama, we really like to use it with crawfish but if you can’t get crawfish you can use shrimp or chicken. All you have to do is add water and your protein of choice. Serve it over rice or pasta, an amazing and incredibly fast Cajun meal that can feed the family. One jar serves approximately 4-5 people.
It is time for The Slap Ya Mama & BBQGuys VIRTUAL COOK-OFF! Share your Slap Ya Mama dish with us for the chance to win your share of $3,640 of cash and prizes!
Our top 10 dishes will all win prizes in accordance with your rank. After The Slap Ya Mama and BBQGuys Team decides the top ten dishes it will be up to the public to vote on the best dish! During the public vote, we will be selecting random voters to win some Slap Ya Mama products.
How to Enter:
1. Cook your favorite dish using Slap Ya Mama
2. Take a picture of your dish, be sure to include the Slap product used in the picture
3. Follow/Like @SlapYaMama and @BBQGuys on Instagram and/or Facebook
4. Post your dish to Facebook or Instagram. Have the recipe you used included in the caption. Be sure to Tag Us @SlapYaMama and hashtag #SlapxBBQGuysCookoff
5. Entries must be submitted by October 10th, 2021 at 11:59 PM central time.
Places & Prizes:
-First Place: $1,000 cash, Victory Gas Grill from BBQGuys ($999.99 value) Slap Ya Mama Prize Box, Recipe Featured in our Slap Ya Mama Newsletter
-Second Place: $250 cash, USA Premium Cuts Assortment from BBQGuys ($269.99 value), Slap Ya Mama Prize Box, Recipe Featured in Slap Ya Mama Newsletter
-Third Place: USA Premium Cuts Burger Battle Box from BBQGuys ($109.99 value), Slap Ya Mama Prize box, a recipe featured in Slap Ya Mama Newsletter
-4th-6th Place: Seasoning Canisters, Cajun FishFry,1 lb Cajun Seafood Boil, Hot Sauces, Bloody Mary Mix, Slap Ya Mama Apron
-7th-10th Place: Hot Sauces, Seasoning Canisters
*More information on the prizes below*
Virtual Cook-off Schedule
September 27th, 2021
Virtual Cook-off Announced
Virtual Cook-off announced on Slap Ya Mama’s social media.
October 10th, 2021
All entries must be submitted by September 10th at 11:50 pm CST.
October 14th, 2021
Top 10 Announced
The Slap Ya Mama and BBQGuys team will vote to determine the top 10. We will then announce the top 10 on Slap Ya Mama’s social media. Public voting will begin then.
October 21st, 2021
Voting Ends at 11:59 pm CST.
October 22nd, 2021
The winners will be announced on Slap Ya Mama’s Social Media!
Thank you to BBQGuys for partnering with us, on this year’s Virtual Cook-off!
Rules & Regulations
How to Enter: The Campaign must be entered by uploading an Instagram or Facebook post with a follow, tag, and #SlapxBBQGuysCookoff. The entry must fulfill all Campaign requirements, as specified, to be eligible to win a prize. Entries that are incomplete or do not adhere to the rules or specifications may be disqualified at the sole discretion of Slap Ya Mama Louisiana Food Products.
You may enter only once. You must provide the information requested. You may not enter more times than indicated by using multiple email addresses, identities, or devices in an attempt to circumvent the rules. If You use fraudulent methods or otherwise attempt to circumvent the rules, your submission may be removed from eligibility at the sole discretion of Slap Ya Mama Louisiana Food Products.
Campaign Period: Entries will be accepted online starting on September 27th, 2021, and ending October 10th, 2021, at 11:59 pm CT. The Winner will be announced on October 22nd, 2021. The odds of winning depend on the number of eligible entries received.
By entering this contest, You represent and warrant that your entry is an original work of authorship, and does not violate any third party’s proprietary or intellectual property rights. If your entry infringes upon the intellectual property right of another, You will be disqualified at the sole discretion of Slap Ya Mama.
By entering this contest you understand that Slap Ya Mama, anyone acting on behalf of Slap Ya Mama or its respective licensees, successors, and assigns will have the right, where permitted by law, without any further notice, review, or consent to print, publish, broadcast, distribute, and use, in any media now known or hereafter in perpetuity and throughout the world, your entry, including, without limitation, the entry and winner’s name, picture, image or statements about the Contest, news, publicity, advertising, public relations and promotional purposes without any further compensation.
The Contest is only open to residents of the United States and Territories and is void where prohibited by law.
Sponsor: The Sponsor of the Giveaway is Slap Ya Mama Louisiana Food Products and BBQGuys
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