Native Americans were catching and eating crawfish for years before the Acadians arrived, although some legends tell of the northeastern lobster following the Acadians to Louisiana and shrinking in size over the long journey. The Acadians took quite well to the local crawfish, and they became a major part of Cajun culture.
Crawfish- or mudbugs, as they are called since the popular species in Louisiana burrow into the wet ground of the freshwater bayous- can be boiled whole with spices and vegetables or the tender meat can be featured in a variety of Cajun cuisine from étouffée to meat pies. Every spring when crawfish are in season, Louisiana families like the Walkers spend their afternoons gathered around picnic tables, picking crawfish. They spread the old newspaper across long tables where they dump a giant pot of steaming crawfish along with boiled potatoes, garlic cloves, corn on the cob, whole mushrooms, and onions.
Some of the Walker’s fondest memories involve farming crawfish themselves. One of TW’s clients had a crawfish pond. When TW’s brother, Bob, was coming to Ville Platte for Easter with his family, TW asked his client if the kids could come by and pick up crawfish with the hand nets. “Mais, cher, don’t worry about that,” TW’s client said using the Cajun term of endearment. “I’ll tell my guy not to make his run on Saturday morning, and y’all can pick up all the traps.”
TW couldn’t believe this generous offer. He loaded up the whole family, and they headed to the ponds. “Jack and Joe were just waist-high then,” recalls TW. “We pulled them behind us in a boat and waded through the water with our hip boots on, even Mama Jen. I think we came up with over 250 pounds of crawfish.”
A good rule of thumb is three pounds of crawfish per person, which means the walkers hit the motherlode. “We got to be crawfish farmers for the day,” Jack remembers fondly.
TW’s client invited them back year after year. As Jack and Joe got older they wore snake-proof boots and started pulling the boats through the muddy water for the younger kids to ride. “It was always a good weekend says TW.”It brought all the family together.”
The Walkers took all those crawfish back to the Bayou Chicot house and cooked them in the backyard under the twinkle lights TW stung from the trees. “We ate for two hours, Cajun french music blaring in the background,” says Bob. “Living in Mississippi, I wanted my kids to experience the way I grew up.”
Today when the Walkers eat crawfish, they all remember those Easter weekends. They pop off the head and suck the juices, peel off the shell, and pop the meat in their mouths. The Slap Ya Mama seasoning tingles their lips just perfectly, and they’re taken right back to those Easter weekends way back when.
The quintessential Cajun meal- find a reason to celebrate and enjoy. Pop off the head and suck the juices, peel off the shell and pop the meat in your mouth.
In a large bucket or cooler, place live crawfish, 3 cups salt, and water to cover. Let stand for 30 minutes, discarding any crawfish that float to the top (which indicates crawfish are dead). Rinse crawfish thoroughly using cold water.
In a large outdoor 60-gallon pot with a crawfish basket, place 2 bags Slap Ya Mama Cajun Seafood Boil, lemons(squeezing juices), and remaining 3 cups salt. Fill halfway with water, and bring to a boil over high heat on a heavy-duty outdoor burner. Add potatoes, corn, and garlic; bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes.
Egg Pocking is a tournament-style battle for the strongest hard-boiled Easter egg.
How to Play: First, you and your competitor grab a hard-boiled egg. Hold the thickest part of the egg in your fist(as pictured). Then count to three and lightly tap your opponent’s egg without cracking your own egg. Continue tapping eggs until one cracks. The round ends as soon as the first egg cracks, the winner will then advance to the next round. The game repeats until there is one person left. That person becomes the winner of the Egg Pocking Competition.
What do you win? Prizes can range from bragging rights for the year, cash, candy, or even first place in line for food.
The game is simple, but the competition gets serious! Some take it so seriously that they secretly switch out their eggs for a stronger duck egg.
Give it a crack, and let us know what you think of this Cajun tradition!
History of Egg Pocking?
Egg Pocking began back in Ancient Greece. The game was called tsougrisma, which translates to clinking together. They would dye their eggs red to symbolize the blood of Christ, and the cracking of the egg symbolized the resurrection of Christ. From Ancient Greece, the game slowly spread around the globe, immersing itself in many cultures.
Like many Cajun traditions, Egg Pocking made its way over to Louisiana by the French. Pocking comes from the french word Pâques, which translates to Easter. Once spelled egg paquing, but through time, it has simplified to what we know today, egg pocking.
Today many families spend time decorating eggs for the game, while others leave theirs plain. No matter how the eggs look, Egg Pocking will always bring people together to celebrate a new origin of life. This tradition is going nowhere and will pass on to many more generations!
Save your eggs and make Mama’s Cajun Deviled Eggs!
If you love deviled eggs as much as we do, you’re going to love this concoction. Slap Ya Mama is proud to present our deviled eggs recipe complete with our special hot blend and hot sauce for unparalleled flavor.
With a knife, carefully half each egg, remove yolk to a large bowl and set egg whites aside. In the large bowl, combine yolks, mayonnaise, relish, mustard and Slap Ya Mama Pepper Sauce. With a fork mash yolks and mix well until ingredients are smooth. Spoon fill each egg halve with yolk mixture, top with a pinch of paprika, a few sprinkles of Slap Ya Mama Hot Blend Seasoning and finish with a little bacon on the top of each. Serve and enjoy!
From the 1500s to the 1700s, European countries played a game of hot potato in the New World. Territory changed hands quickly, but for a time, France occupied much of Canada and Middle America, England ruled much of the East Coast, and Spain claimed Florida and much of the Southwest, from Louisiana to California and Mexico.
In the early 1600s, country folk from western France began making life for themselves in Acadia–which’s in today’s Novia Scotia, Canada. As the French settlers adapted to the New World, they became known as the Acadians. In 1713, the area swapped from French to British hands when the Treaty of Utrecht was signed. The treaty meant the Acadians were now subjects of the British monarchy and were expected to worship at the Church of England. The faithful Acadians refused to pledge fealty to either the British crown or Anglican religion and rebelled. In 1755, the British governor decided to solve the problem of unruly Acadians by forcibly dispersing them in Le Grand Derangement. The Acadian refugees were scattered across the British territories and colonies, and many lost their lives.
Exiled Acadians wandered the New World looking for a home. Preferring to follow a Catholic King, many traveled to the Spanish territory of Louisiana, just west of French New Orleans and 2,000 miles from their Canadian home. Spain allowed refugees to settle in their territory, so more Acadians flocked there in hopes of reuniting with their families and communities in the Louisiana countryside. These Acadians adapted to their new homes and became known as Cajuns.
The most famous Acadian refugee is Evangeline, the heroine of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s poem of the same name. Evangeline was separated from her love, Gabriel, in the expulsion and searched her entire life for him across the New World, until they finally reunited as he died in her arms. Of the 22 parishes in Louisiana’s Cajun Country, one is named Evangeline, and Ville Platte is the parish seat.
In the 1700s, Spain’s El Camino Real de Los Texas linked the territory with Texas and Mexico City. Because the Acadians were unwanted Exiles themselves, they met strangers with open arms and warm hospitality. Their frequently traveled trail fostered relationships among Native Americans and Irish, Spanish, and French immigrants, creating a rich gumbo of cultures and distinctive dialects.
In this part of the country, English names are far less common like Leblanc, Landry, Hebert (pronounced A-bair), Boudreaux, and Fontenot. Locals mix french right in with their English, and in many schools, French-language immersion begins in kindergarten.
Cajuns are known for zydeco music, played with the accordion, washboard, guitar, and violin, and swamp pop, which combines R&B, country/western, and traditional French Louisiana music. In the 1950s and ’60s, legendary producer Floyd Soileau recorded several swamp pop hits at his Ville Platte studio, which the state later proclaimed the Swamp Pop Capital of the World.
But Cajuns are most famous for their food, which should not be confused with Creole cuisine. While the two have their similarities, they possess defining differences. Cajuns hail from French Canada and live in Louisiana Rural areas, while creoles live in New Orleans and are a mix of Spanish, French, Caribbean, and African American ancestry. Thus, Creole food is considered city food, while Cajun food is more simple, country-style food.
Typical Cajun food includes chicken and sausage gumbo, deep-fried pork cracklins, crawfish etouffee, jambalaya, and boudin (sausage stuffed with rice, green onions, and seasonings). With every bite, this delectable culture is relished and preserved.
Serving customers in the family store’s deli, Jennifer was disappointed in their store-bought seasoning. She went home and complained to TW, and they went to work making their own. “We went to the store and got all kinds of different seasonings, and we started mixing it at home until it was something we wanted,” says Jennifer. “Really all we put in it was salt, black pepper, red pepper, and garlic. We got the proportions like we wanted–not too salty- and put it in an old pickle jar.” Then she enlisted her sons for help. Jack and Joe who were 15 and 13 at the time, rolled the jar back and forth in the house’s only carpeted room until the mixture was perfectly combined.
The Walkers started using the seasoning in the deli, and soon customers wanted to buy it. “So we got jars from the dollar store,” says Jennifer. “They had little handles and shakers. The boys made labels off the computer that said ” Slap Your Mama, Bayou Chicot, Louisiana,’ since that is where we lived at the time. We put them on the counter and sold them for a dollar, and people kept buying them.”
Soon, the Walkers had to buy in bulk. They went to Targil Seasoning & Butcher Supplies in the nearby town of Opelousas and made 25 pounds of their seasoning. They sold out of that, too. Their customers and friends were using it like salt and pepper on everything from popcorn, French fries, and scrambled eggs to their favorite Cajun foods. They encouraged the Walkers to sell to a larger audience, but in order to do so, they’d need to create a barcode and get the product approved. “We got to the point where we asked each other, ‘Are we gonna do this for real?” Jennifer says.
Their product had been perfected, but they first had to settle on the name. TW, an attorney, and Southern gentleman said they couldn’t name it Slap Your Mama, “cause little old ladies are gonna get mad.” Jennifer insisted that it was the name that would sell their product, but she wanted to make one change first.
“We’re going to change it to Slap Ya Mama because it’s much more inviting and fun to say,” says Jennifer. TW compromised, and certainly not wanting to offend his own mother he included the following story on every product; “In 1956, Wilda Marie Fontenot Walker gave birth to the creator of this award-winning seasoning blend. Every time she uses it, she receives a loving slap on the back and a kiss on the cheek, thanking her for another great-tasting Cajun dish.”
With that, the walkers were ready for business. They ordered 200 cases with the revised Slap Ya Mama and they debuted their new product at Ville Platte’s Smoked Meat Festival. They sold 18 cases that weekend, and the following Monday, Jennifer loaded the rest into her little Nissan 280 ZX sports car and went door-to-door from grocery stores to convenience stores. Her area soon expanded to Lafayette and Alexandria, and TW bought her a minivan to fit more product. If a store manager said bo, Jeniffer gave them a case for free, and insisted in her sweet Cajun accent, that they just see what their customers thought. Sure enough, stores sold out, and here calling her to order 10 cases at a time.
“A lot of people buy it because of the name, but they buy that second can because of the flavor,” says TW’s brother Bob. At the time, Bob was selling Slap Ya Mama products at East Mississippi Community College where he worked- the only place east of the Mississippi you could find it at the time.
Meanwhile, Jack and Joe had finished high school and were packing their bags for LSU, 90 minutes away in Baton Rouge. “When we took off to go to college, Slap Ya Mama was in its premature stages,” says Joe. “We had no idea what the potential would be, where it was going to go, and if we could see our future in it.”
A few years after the Dot-Com Boom, Jack and Joe created a website for the company and started taking online orders. Between classes, their studies, college parties, and their part-time jobs at a local restaurant, they packaged and shipped Slap Ya Mama Seasoning. “We drove to Ville Platte once a week during college to pick up the product and bring it back,” recalls Jack. “We had two closets in our downstairs living room stocked full with Slap Ya Mama. You’d walk in the door and would smell the spices. We hired our roommate to work for us, and our friends walked around campus and wore Slap Ya Mama t-shirts.” Unaware of the exceptional entrepreneurs in her midst, a neighbor thought they were selling some sort of illegal substances through UPS. “Just a whole bunch of seasoning they assured her.
“Once we got to where we were going to graduate, more and more packages were going out the door,” says Joe. “we saw the potential in it and thought, ‘Wow we really started something, and it’s growing.”‘
In 2007, the boys moved back home to Ville Platte to run the family business. Jeniffer had connected with a distributor who had gotten their product into Texas, Arkansas, and all over Louisiana, and their footprint was rapidly expanding. Jack and Joe loaded their suitcases and attended international food shows, sharing their homegrown brand with the world.
Today, Slap Ya Mama is sold throughout the United States, Australia, Canada, Mexico, and Panama. The Walkers are running an impressive global business with just 10 employees, and the family remains heavily involved. Joe and his wife, Tana, take care of distribution and bookkeeping from Ville Platte, while Jack manages the marketing and advertising from his office in New Orleans. Although TW is officially retired from the practice of law and the family business, he continues to help with legal matters, real estate deals, and contracts. Targil, just up the highway, still makes many of the Slap Ya Mama seasoning products.
Jennifer and TW get their family together often to cook and test new products in their outdoor kitchen in Ville Platte, relying on the advice of their most loyal and enthusiastic customers–their close friends and family, including their own mamas.
Preheat oven to 365° F. Peel and cut potatoes into ½ inch thick cuboid slices. Place chopsticks on opposite sides of the potato slice. Using the chopsticks to stop your knife cut shallow horizontal cuts. Flip potato and make shallow diagonal cuts.
Bring water to a boil. Toss cut potatoes into the boiling water and cook for 5 minutes. Take potatoes out and place them on a non-stick pan.
In a bowl combine, oil, butter, parsley, and 2 tbsp of Slap Ya Mama Seasoning. Mix well and paint the butter mixture onto the potatoes. Sprinkle more Slap to taste.
Bake for 30 minutes. Sprinkle on cheese, and cook for about 5 more minutes until the cheese is melted.
Top potatoes with sour cream, bacon, green onions. Finish with a sprinkle of Slap Ya Mama Cajun Seasoning!
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.
Looking for a great game-time snack? Buffalo Chicken & Cheese Pockets are the way to go! These air-fried pockets are the perfect finger foods, to snack on! This recipe was cooked by our wonderful Slap Krewe member Angie or otherwise known as @dastylishfoodie15. For more of Angie's recipes check out her website!
2Wewalka Classic European Style Pizza dough (14.1 oz )
Round Biscuit or Cookie cutter to cut out the dough 3 1/2 – 4 inches
Boneless/ Skinless Chicken thighs 1.65 lbs
Fresh Parsley (garnish, optional)
Set the oven to Broil (500 degrees). Rinse the chicken. Pat dry.Season the chicken with Slap Ya mama hot blend on both sides. Set aside. Add chicken to baking pan.
Place the chicken in the oven. Broil for 8-10 minutes or until internal temperature is 165 degrees. Remove the chicken from the oven. Set aside. Preheat the air fryer.
Add 3 chicken thighs to a bowl. Shred with two forks. Add 1/3 cup of Buffalo sauce to the shredded chicken. Stir. Set aside.
Unroll the pizza dough on a cutting board. *My recommendation is don’t take the dough out until you are almost ready for it. It’s easier to manage.*Use a round cutter to cut the dough into round pieces. Use a little flour on your hand, this will make it easy to manage dough.
Add cheese to one piece of the round dough. Top with shredded chicken about 1/2 tbsp each or more depending on size. Add a little more cheese on top.
Add a top piece of dough. Use a fork to pinch the dough together. Repeat until you run out of dough or chicken. Set air fryer on bread setting, 350 degrees for 5 – 6 minutes. Cooking times may vary. Carefully remove from the Air Fryer.
Plate the Buffalo chicken & cheese pockets. Drizzle with Ranch Dressing. Add chopped parsley.
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.
Mix all ingredients in a small saucepan and bring to a bubble. In a separate bowl, add corn starch & mix with 3/4 c of sauce mixture until corn starch is dissolved. Add to Saucepan and stir; bring to a bubble, then remove from heat
1 lb of Fresh NC Shrimp toss in House of Autry Seafood Breading seasoned with Slap Ya Mama Original Blend - season to your liking. Fry to desired crispiness. Toss in Hot Honey Garlic Sauce
Layer tortilla Shrimp, Blue Cheese Crumble, Green Onions, & Blue Cheese Dressing
First season the pork chop with Slap Ya Mama original blend dry seasoning on both sides
Fire up the outdoor grill to medium-high heat, or use a grill pan inside and coat lightly with organic canola oil and then heat a grill pan to med-high heat
Grill Chop to medium doneness (slightly pink insides, with an internal temp of 145-150° F when removed from grill). Cook longer if preferred, to your desired level of doneness. Remove chop from heat and let rest 5 minutes
Drizzle Slap Ya Mama Buffalo Wing Sauce all over the Pork Chop, as much as you like! Pile on top the chop the celery sticks and then a nice sprinkling of blue cheese crumbles. Enjoy immediately!! Soooo good!!