The state of Louisiana is angry, and with good reason.
It started with a Facebook post, as many things do now. And no, this has nothing to do with Ed Orgeron.
Food & Wine posted one of those “quickie” food videos that we love/hate. This one just happened to be for “Cajun red beans and rice.” It claims to “bring a taste of the bayou right at home.”
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Where do I start in the deconstruction of this monstrosity? Y’all, everything that comes out of Louisiana does not mean that it’s “Cajun.” Red beans and rice actually, according to most urban folklore and mythology, got its start in New Orleans. And being from New Orleans does not make anything Cajun.
The video also was posted on a Tuesday. Ain’t nobody making red beans and rice on no Tuesdays. This is a Monday staple, and with good reason — back in the day, Monday was “wash day” and people would cook a pot of beans while they did the laundry because they could put the beans on and leave them alone.
As soon as you hit play on the video, the pre-fab “Cajun” music starts up. This form of music is actually known as zydeco. Placing bad zydeco in a video having to do with Louisiana cooking is the equivalent of a harmonica blowing in the background on anything that has to do with Mississippi.
Before we get any further into this video, I did not see a pot of beans soaking anywhere in this production. If you’re not soaking your Camellia beans in your grandmother’s pot that was blessed by Pope John Paul II when he came to New Orleans, then you’re doing it wrong.
The Food & Wine cook decided to add some Andouille sausage at the beginning of the cooking. This is the reason the “rolling eyes” emoji was invented. You don’t put your sausage in at the beginning of the cooking because it will either burn or turn to mush. The beginning of the process is when you add your ham hocks or neck bones. You start cooking your bones and get your base seasoned and then add your beans.
I quit watching the video when the cook mashed the beans with a fork and then added tomatoes. I was done. No way. You mash your beans with a wooden spoon. This is red beans and rice 101. I’m not even going to touch the subject of adding tomatoes into the mix. Hey Food & Wine — What are you cooking? Beans creole? ( I know, right? That’s a funny joke.)
Instead of following the video, you would have been better off buying a can of Blue Runner Creole Red Beans and going to town. See, Food & Wine? Red beans are a Creole dish, not a Cajun dish. Creole cooking was a mixture of French, African and Spanish.
By the way, some of the reactions to the video were pretty awesome.