Title page for ETD etd-03232007-130307

Type of Document Master's Thesis
Author Huntsman, Mark
URN etd-03232007-130307
Title Les Cuisines Mères: Une Analyse Historique des Racines Francophones de la Gastronomie de la Nouvelle Orléans
Degree Master of Arts (M.A.)
Department French Studies
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Bernard Cerquiglini Committee Chair
Adelaide Russo Committee Member
Helen Regis Committee Member
  • culinary history
  • gastronomy of new orleans
  • haitian influence
  • senegalese influence
  • cultural impact of africa
  • cultural impact of senegal
  • cultural impact of france
  • gastronomic history
  • creole cookery
  • creole cuisine
  • cuisine de la nouvelle
  • cuisine louisianaise
  • histoire culinaire
  • gastronomie
  • gastronomique
  • francophone influence on new orleans
  • cuisine of new orleans
  • french influence on new orleans
  • french influence on louisiana
Date of Defense 2006-11-14
Availability unrestricted
New Orleans’ culinary history is amongst the most rich and storied of any American city, yet very few academic works have addressed this subject. While texts ranging from cookbooks to explorer’s journals offer glimpses into the evolution of the gastronomy of the city, the stories they present are often rife with myth, legend, and misinterpretation. Contemporary and historic authors also paint a misleading picture of the evolutionary processes involved in the creation of the cuisine and gastronomy of New Orleans, presenting a “melting-pot” model that portrays the culinary landscape of the city as a homogenous and over-simplified product of a vague set of contributions from a diverse set of nations, while ignoring the actual disparity in the contributions of these nations, as well as much of the contemporary evidence that links modern culinary and gastronomic practices to their Old World ancestors.

This French-language work proposes that New Orleans’ cuisine and gastronomy as we know it today descends principally from French and West African cuisines, borrowing from a vast array of nations as it underwent various stages of creolization and culinary metamorphosis. Examining the food and foodways found in the restaurants, homes, and festivals of the city, this paper aims to trace the evolutionary process that transformed the dishes, practices, and ideas of the cuisines of francophone nations in Europe, Africa, and the Caribbean into a cuisine often hailed as one of America’s finest. It seeks to identify the various methods of Americanization that have molded the modern culinary landscape of New Orleans and Louisiana, as well as to identify the multitude of vestiges that not only reinforce the historic ties between the food of New Orleans and that of its ancestral nations, but also disprove the assimilationist “melting pot” model. It is also perhaps the first work to analyze the collective influence of the French-speaking nations of the world on the cuisine and gastronomy of New Orleans.

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