Cajun Cooking, Not a Montana Thing

Instead of going to the Family Forestry Expo on Mother’s Day, we went on Saturday. It was lots of fun, albeit a repetition of last years events.

It was the 20th anniversary of the expo and cake was served to all who attended. I thought it was special because it was cold and resembled doberge cake. Doberge cake is one of those New Orleans delicacies that I miss since moving up here to Montana. Coming from a city renowned for its food, my opinion can be pretty tough on the lackluster fare found around here.

If I want so called “good” food I have to make it myself and sometimes it’s hard to find the ingredients in the local supermarkets. (Finding Garlic Tabasco on the shelves of Smith’s last week was a thrill, and I bought two bottles.)

A few of the ways my cooking has changed is that my gumbo is made with frozen shrimp instead of fresh, I make my own olive salad for muffalletas, and my creole red beans are no longer seasoned with pickle meat, but with a local imitation of andouille sausage.

So although I love Montana, the food sucks.

Here’s a quick list, off of the top of my head, of southern, cajun, and New Orleans style foods that cannot be found here in Northwestern Montana:

  • Boiled crayfish…I’ve joined a crayfish group on Facebook. That way I can see pictures of the crustaceans in cyberspace, and drool.


  • Snowballs…sure they sell shave ice, but no comparison to the finely shaved ice or 30 choice of flavors as offered at snowball stands in New Orleans.


  • French bread…only store made. Not the perfect, crisp Reising’s kind used for making poboys.


  • Po-boys…the only Po-boy bread you’ll find here is in the bakery department. It’s a kind of pistolette packaged under the name of po-boy. There are no roast beef or shrimp po-boy sandwiches unless you make them yourself.


  • Fresh pastries…Bakeries here call doughnuts, pastries. I think grocery stores have their eclairs shipped in from New York City.


  • Crabs…I mean the blue kind. Not in a can or from the Pacific Ocean.


  • Popeye’s chicken…too spicy for Northern palates?


  • Seafood restaurantsdefinitely not something that is understood here. I can think of one place that sells Italian, Chicken, and Seafood. Don’t think you’ll find a fresh seafood platter there!


  • Hubig Pies


  • Elmers candies


  • Manual’s hot tamales


  • Coffee and Chicory…I have a standard order with Community to ship 2 packages a month.


My mouth is watering and I’m sure I could think of more to add to this list, but it’s time to go for now. Let me know if you want my olive salad recipe!


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