It’s Fat Tuesday – whoop!
Mardi Gras wasn’t as celebrated in my part of Canada that I can recall ~ I mean, we watched TV coverage of festivities from far-away places like New Orleans and such, but I had no experience with the Cajun culture, except for certain songs played at weddings. I’ll come back to that.
All of that changed when I met a man who became the best boss I ever had (no seriously, ever). He was (and is) highly intelligent, incredibly educated and a self-described “Crazy Cajun” from Lafayette, Louisiana. When he landed at our company’s world headquarters in southern CT, well let’s just say he shook things up a little. In meetings he’d say things like, “that dog don’t hunt.” Once, I grinned at him and replied (after the meeting of course), “that dog doesn’t even rise up off the porch!” I never saw a man laugh as hard as he did and that was it – we had an instant connection. He was a breath of fresh air – especially to those of us so used to a stiff and stoic corporate culture. As the new year dawned and he made a deal (of course he did!) with our company Chef for a Mardi Gras party, I knew right then that this was someone who was not only easily respected but easily liked because he was just so much fun.
File gumbo. Crawfish & crab Etouffee. And of course, Zydeco music.
When I was a wee girl and we’d get to attend family weddings, certain songs would be played and those songs had a French origin. I think they were called “Chatisses” but I have yet to find a link to share with you. All I know is that when the accordion or the fiddle started, we’d tap a toe, grab a partner and dance, dance, dance. So it was really no surprise when I learned that the Acadia region of Canada and northern USA where Cajuns trace their origin was in areas where Nova Scotia (and other Maritime provinces) as well as parts of Quebec and northern Maine are now. In Louisiana, Cajuns developed their distinct dialect, Cajun French, and a lively culture devoted to family, music and cuisine.
It’s no wonder he and I always got along: He’s my brother from another mother!
How about you? Have you ever danced to Zydeco? Eaten fresh-made Etouffee? Met someone from a place far away who just felt like they were known to you?
Happy Mardi Gras!