Category Archives: Tri-centennial, 1718, 2018, 300th, anniversary, author, writer, speaker, teacher, non-fiction, Bienville, Iberville, Bayou St. John, Natchez, Indians, Native American, Tunica, Bayougoula, Mississippi,

300 Years Ago, 1717: We Got Cows!

Momentous changes were in store for Louisiana in 1717-1718. The old Crozat monopoly was done for and the new Company of the West began to get things done. For the next decade, the Company would run the colony. Although the new company’s rule was not always a panacea, the population continued to grow during the 1720’s and more and more of the Louisiana territory came under French control.

In 1717 the new shape of the colony began to take on more and more focus. Over the next several months, arrangements were being made to recruit Germans (really Alsatians and Lorrainer’s) for Louisiana. On a more somber note, the slave trade was ramping up for transport from West Africa to Louisiana. But these things were planned not actuated for many months. But we are getting ahead of ourselves. Meanwhile from two more or less reliable sources, we learn . . .

Jean Baptiste Bernard de Le Harpe: Summary of his chronicles of 1717:

March, 1717. Two royal vessels arrived at Dauphine Island carrying the new ?transition? government as Crozat’s regime ended and the Company of the West took over Louisiana. Within a few weeks,{towards the end of the month} one of the ships, the Ludlow, was sent to Havana to buy cattle for the colony. They purchased 60 cows, but loose lips sink cows, and the Spanish governor found out about the purchase and removed 45 cows from the ship, leaving the colony with only 15.

August, 1717. “a commercial company was formed in France and named the Company of the West” Also under the August entry: “. . . The colony numbered 700 people and about 400 head of cattle . . .”

From Giraud’s History of French Louisiana, Vol. 2, p. 122.

The new Company of the West “decided that the ships should pick up some cattle at Havana,a scheme that was to come to nothing.”

Here, once again, from the standard academic history and a primary source, testimony is provided that even though times were tough early on for Louisiana, these 700 Europeans did indeed have some food sources. Better than one head of beef cattle per every two colonists provided milk and beef on an on-going basis. and while the French settlers have achieved fame as being lazy and not interested in agriculture, most everybody had a garden and access to the rich bounty of the vast forests (game, nuts, and fruits) and endless waterways of south Louisiana. After all, these 700 people “had to eat” something.

SNEAK PREVIEW: 1717-18 SET UP OF THE TRICENTENNIAL:

{{{{{{Throughout the autumn of 1717, the company began to get organized and at the end of the year, ships sailed to Louisiana and arrived in February of 1718 with what was the kickoff of whole new era for the colony – To Wit:

• The ships landed a fourth company of infantry.
• M. de Boisbriant arrived, commissioned as royal lieutenant of the colony.
• Governor L’Epinay was recalled and Bienville was commissioned a Commandant General (aka governor) of Louisiana.
• M. Hubert was named named director general (the money guy) of Louisiana.
• 60 French immigrants arrived.
• An abortive expedition to St. Joseph’s bay in Florida was attempted but ended in failure.
• Bienville began to scope out “a suitable spot on the banks of the Mississippi” to build a new capital, then sent a group of 50 or so laborers to clear the land where the Bayou St. John portage met the river – 😉 and you’ll never guess what happened then :-0 }}}}}

But these events are really the part of the opening blog entry for next year.

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Culinary History, Xmas Chapter, 1st Draft

As many of my readers may already know, this blog is spinoff of “The 1718 Project”. Today I am trying something new. To date, (since 2010), the main energies of the project have been channelled into the production of a Culinary History of French Colonial Louisiana. The preceding entries have included some recipes and/or other mentions or inclusions from The Petticoat Rebellion (the book’s title), But now I have decided to present a finished chapter, albeit the first draft, (the full recipes will appear in the final published text) to see if it garners any reaction.If you care to, please leave your comments, or e-mail me, and/or visit the project website at http://1718neworleans.com. I would appreciate any and all feedback.

And don’t fret, my 300 Years Ago columns will continue.

PRC Chapter 11:  Suzanne Cooks for Christmas

The wheel of the year has turned once more, and Noël is fast approaching. This is easily my most favorite time of the year. Here in Louisiana, the weather is almost perfect throughout this season. It isn’t as warm as when I was a little girl in the islands, nor as cold, Icy, and snowy as the people from France often describe Noël in their homeland. The pleasant weather, cold enough to brace the blood, but not so cold as to slow down the business and commerce of the city, only serves to create a prosperous and vibrant holiday season.

By now, I have been here long enough to establish the Marigny’s household kitchen and garden as a well run operation. So its only with a glad heart that I sit down at the beginning of December to plan the Christmas season. The first step, of course, is to set the menu. Not just the menu for the main meal, but also all the accompaniments for before and after, as well as foods and treats to keep around the house throughout the festive season. This plan will serve to structure the shopping and food gathering for the next several weeks.

Once the menu is decided and along with the necessary shopping, it is also time now to begin decorating the house for the Yuletide gatherings and festivities. As long as there has been a France, Gallic homes, villages, and towns were hung all about with evergreens gathered from the local forests. People liked to mark these long dark nights with reminders of the greener times to come as the year turns and the days begin once again to lengthen with their local firs, pines, and other green and growing things. Here in Louisiana, the vegetation never really dies off and the pines, oaks, and evergreen shrubs happily give up their branches to decorate our homes. The ancient custom of the Yule Log burning throughout the long Christmas nights is also, for many, a fond memory of the Old Country. Our Rhenish (German) neighbors from upriver even have a custom from their old homes of bringing a whole tree, a smaller one of course, into the house and decorating it with colored ribbons, little keepsakes, and even some candles. These folks from the Rhine valley also had a wonderful custom of lighting bonfires along their rivers and waterways to light up the long solstice nights and some even say it marks the way for St. Nicholas or Pere Noel to pass over and bless their homes and settlements. These also help to light their families’ way to Midnight Mass, after all, this is the “main event” of the Christmas celebrations,

After the Christmas Eve Midnight Mass, all the shopping and decorating would come to purpose as the festivities and feasting commenced and proceeded through the morning meal and throughout the day. Now to begin, I think for the meal after Mass this year we will have:

Baked Glace’ Bananas,
Eggs, scrambled and deviled
Grits & Grillades
Daube Glace’  >>>> Rump Roast, Veal Rump, Pig’s Feet, Salt meat, onions, turnips, garlic, Bay Leaf, Lard, Sherry, Thyme, parsley, Salt, pepper, cayenne

(Note) Suzanne’s post-Midnight Mass Creole breakfast, which was mirrored throughout the colonial creole homes in New Orleans and beyond, later evolved (in Ante-Bellum days) into the Creole Reveillon.
As the great feast day wears on, the celebrations consist of general revelry/and playing pranks, songs, dancing, parades, parties, carol singing, etc. (Today, 2017, we call this goofing- off). Here in New Orleans, a curious custom has also evolved. To beautify and somewhat humanize the new city as it was (and is) being built up, the city fathers decided to plant the streets with orange trees (easily obtained from my home islands). As a consequence, during the Yuletide season, we have oranges all over the place. As such oranges have become an essential part of the New Orleans Christmas scene. Needless to say, orange cakes, orange jam, and stewed oranges are part of the Yule menu. Good children, even in the poorest homes, can usually find an orange or two among their gifts from Pere Noel.

But for me and my kitchen, the climax of every Christmas season is the Christmas dinner. Usually, the Marigny family ( extended to include aunts and uncles, cousins from the country, and other close friends and relatives from around town). The meal is traditionally the sit-down meal with all the trimmings. However, every family had its own traditions, and it may become a day-long buffet, or a picnic in the courtyard (weather permitting). This year, I am cooking my:

Creole Christmas Feast

Brandy Candied Pecans, Brown Sugar Nut Clusters,
Pecans, Walnuts, Brandy, Brown sugar

Oyster Dressing: The Trinity, Garlic, Oil, Bread Crumbs, a pit. or qt. of Oysters

Trout Meuniere: Butter, Flour, Lemon, Parsley, salt-pepper

Chicken Espagnole: Chicken, the Trinity, Garlic, Seasoned flour, bacon grease, ½ cup flour, qt. of chicken stock, salt-pepper-bay leaves- sugar

Orange Cake >>>>>Flour, sugar, eggs, baking soda, OJ

Wine, Coffee, Lemonade, and apres diner, brandy, coffee, tobacco pipes, and fine conversation.
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
HISTORICAL ADDENDA
A Note on French Catholicism

Recently a quote I encountered reading about the Austrian Emperor Franz Josef sets the perfect tone for a consideration of French Catholicism; “He was a good Catholic without thinking much about it.” Never has there been a better or more succinct description of French and/or Louisiana Catholicism.

As France, and the rest of Europe, emerged from the Catholic Middle Ages, society was rocked by the tidal wave of Luther’s Reformation. This is not the place to mark all the horrors, injustice, and tragedy of this ridiculous situation when Christians slaughtered each other because they went to the wrong church. It was little different in the European colonies. In North America, vast distances between the Protestant English, Catholic French and Spanish, and pagan Native Americans minimized this silliness, but it was never far from the surface. Besides, simple survival often trumped philosophical differences. Here in Louisiana, this cultural aspect of life was defined by French reaction to the ground shaking social changes rocking Europe during these centuries. The virtual theocracy of Richelieu’s reign during the 1600’s and the legacy of Marazin’s influence and the “divine’ kingship of Louis XIV’s long rule produced a curious riff on tradition Catholicism known as Gallicanism.

In Early Modern times (1500 – 1800), an ongoing conflict between church and state centered around the appointment of local or regional leaders (e.g. Bishops). The Catholic Church (for better or worse) since the fall of Rome had been the only recognizable form of authority throughout much of Europe. as a result the local bishop in a given region was usually a political as well as a spiritual leader. The Reformation in the 1500’s threw a wrench into this ancient system. Additionally, as Kings and nobility grew in political power, conflict about these episcopal appointments grew more VIOLENT. In France, the 1600’s saw the apex of this episcopal power under the reigns of Richelieu and then Marazin. When Marazin passed on, young Louis XIV shifted his authority to the throne. As part of this general move away from this Roman (papal) influence, a theological movement known as Gallicanism began to take form. But let us let the online Britannica explain in clearer terms than your poor author.

“The most notable champion of parliamentary Gallicanism was the jurist Pierre Pithou, who published his Les Libertés de l’église gallicane in 1594. This book, together with several commentaries on it, was condemned by Rome but continued to be influential well into the 19th century.
The best expression of theological Gallicanism was found in the Four Gallican Articles, approved by the assembly of the clergy of France in 1682. This declaration stated: (1) the pope has supreme spiritual but no secular power; (2) the pope is subject to ecumenical councils; (3) the pope must accept as inviolable immemorial customs of the French Church—e.g., the right of secular rulers to appoint bishops or use revenues of vacant bishoprics; (4) papal infallibility in doctrinal matters presupposes confirmation by the total church. Bishop Jacques-Bénigne Bossuet drafted the declaration in Latin and defended it in a conciliatory preamble. Though the articles were condemned at Rome by Alexander VIII in 1690 and were revoked in France by Louis XIV in 1693, they remained the typical expression of Gallicanism.”

http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/224387/Gallicanism
More details can be found in the Wikipedia article at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gallicanism
In far away, isolated Louisiana, these factors produced an easy-going, common sense approach to religious matters. Most folks did not ponder the philosophical niceties of the Gallican interpretation of their faith. They were too busy trying to stay alive. Besides the Pope, and the King for that matter, were literally thousands of miles away, and even priests were few and far between. It was, to the Catholics of Louisiana, enough to be “a good Catholic without thinking much about it.” Thence, it not a quirk, that customs like Midnight Mass, Mardi Gras, All Saint’s Day, and Catholic schools have anchored themselves along the French Gulf Coast and have become hallmarks of our “Catholic” culture.

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Roast Buffalo on the Fourth of July

Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine blogging about buffalo. So here goes nothing !!!!

This entry will be the first of many installments wherein recipes, meal planning, and cooking will take center stage. Volume Two of the Petticoat Rebellion; A French Colonial Culinary History has been in preparation for some time now. This 1718NewOrleans2018 blog is now the venue for the cooking and recipe information that will be included in the book. And what better day to begin than Independence Day, 2016, and what better dish to serve up on America’s birthday than a Buffalo Roast. For the past many years my family has usually served a roasted then smoked turkey. This year we decided on something different, but still uniquely American.

The context of the recipe and meal is the Natchitoches chapter of Volume Two. Natchitoches, in the words of one historian, “the most important frontier post in the Atlantic World” (of the 1700’s) was also the most western outpost of French Louisiana. Additionally, it was the point of contact between the Spanish and French empires in North America. Natchitoches was the channel – as the eighteenth century progressed – through which flowed much of Louisiana’s livestock trade. Although technically illegal, Spanish cattle and horses, and Native American “wild cattle” or American Bison came into the colonial economy. Thus to showcase this chapter of Louisiana’s culinary development . . .

Acquire a buffalo roast of your choice (we chose an eye of round roast), about 2 or 3 pounds will feed a family of four. Prep for roasting as you would any beef or pork roast.

Tricentennial Method:

Prepare a traditional Louisiana mirepoix or Holy Trinity plus Pope =
One medium bell pepper
One medium onion
1 or 2 stalks of celery
+ 3 or 4 toes of garlic (i.e. The Pope)
Finely chop the vegetables

Into a large iron pot (with cover), coat the bottom with olive oil, and sauté the mirepoix until soft, add some beef stock and slowly warm it all up.

Rub the buffalo roast with an herbal rub of your choice.

Place the roast fat side up into the pot, cover, and put it into an extremely slow oven (280 to 300 degrees) OR an electric slow cooker for several
( 3 or 4) hours.

When the roast it done, for the gravy move the pot to the stove and remove the roast, set aside to rest. The sauce is now essentially a beefy vegetable stew. Add some more stock and cooking flour, bring to a boil, season to taste (salt, pepper, Creole seasoning, etc.) and let boil for 15 to 30 minutes. If desired, slice the roast and add the meat to the gravy.

Serve with potatoes or rice, green beans, and hot bread.

Colonial Method:

Much stays the same, except the cooking. In place of an oven or slow cooker, the Native or colonial cook would be at a fire – either enclosed in a large fireplace or outdoors in a fire pit. The iron pot containing the meat and vegetables would be placed among the hot coals at first for a half-hour to an hour, then moved to a cooler area at the edge of the coals for the remaining several hours. If the inside fireplace had the luxury of an built in brick oven, the pot would have been placed there much like in our modern ovens.

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300 years ago: September 1st, 1715. Death of Louis XIV

Sad news reaches Louisiana this month. Louis Quatorze is dead. Louisiana’s namesake is no more. The Sun King has set on the French Empire. Philippe II, Duke of Orleans, became regent in 1715 for his nephew, the future Louis XV. Philippe ruled France for the next eight years and gave his name to the capital city of the Louisiana colony. The Duke had little to do with the faraway colony, almost immediately granting it to Antoine Crozat and then in 1717 turning it over to John Law’s Mississippi Company, later called the Company of the West, and finally the Company of the Indies. Louisiana was thus a mercantile “for profit” colony until 1731 when it reverted back to the crown. It was largely the economic policies of these companies that led to the appearance and the reality of Louisiana as a generally neglected colony of France.

louis-xiv-of-france

As my researches have shown, while this neglect had an important effect on the politics and economy of the colony, and while, at least in the official records, Louisiana always seems to be starving, it was, in fact, the settlers, the natives, and the slaves who really built the economy of the colony through their own labors with help provided by the vibrant activities of the unofficial smuggling trade and practices that formed the real foundation of French Louisiana and the cuisine that we still enjoy and celebrate today.

Don’t forget, the thesis propounded here may be found in the first volume of my work on French Colonial Culinary History, The Petticoat Rebellion, available on Amazon in print and Kindle as well as a free iBook at the iBookstore. The foundation of the ideas presented are listed in the Bibliography link found at the 1718 Project webpage – www. 1718neworleans.com

Stay tuned to this Facebook page for these Tricentennial moments marking notable events that occurred 300 years ago. And don’t forget the website and Facebook page are designed for collaboration. Let me know what you think.

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Ain’t Technology Grand !?!?

Hello Dear Readers,

This post is simply to inform you that the revised, updated, and latest corrected version of The Petticoat Rebellion (Version 1.3) is now available as a .pdf download from the cookbook page at the The 1718 Project main website (http://1718neworleans.com).

Thanks are due to all my patient readers who have put up with the typos, omissions, and bad grammar in the earlier versions. One of the glories of the electronic age is the ability to consistently make our resources more accurate and useful.

“Ain’t Technology Grand !?!?”

N.O. Historic Marker

The raison d’être of the 1718 Project

And now that Volume 1 is “put to bed”, I think it may be time to begin thinking about and writing about The 1718 Project as a whole once again.

Thank you again for your continued support and encouragement as the Tricentennial grows ever closer.

 

 

 

 

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Self-Publishing and Self-Editing, Part V

Summer is over. It has been one heckuva summer too! it’s time for a few updates to the 1718 Project. Let’s begin with the actual”writing”. Three chapters have been written for volume 2, namely, a chapter on Gov. Vaudreuil’s regime in the 1740s, the backstory chapter about Tante Suzanne and her mother’s heritage from West Africa to San Domingue, to the original capital of Louisiana, Mobile. Finally, a very short chapter on Gerard and Suzanne’s take on coffee, chocolate, and wine. But you will have to wait for these chapters when volume 2 is posted.

Much of the time this summer has been spent on the title of this blog entry. I’ve uploaded volume 1.1 to CreateSpace, it is now in revision and more self-editing. Making no promises, I hope to upload volume 1.2 by the end of October, and have it ready for download as an e-book and also available in a print version. In other news, and with a bit of excitement, Beth and I will be presenting an author’s night at the local library at the beginning of November. The two sessions will be on Thursday November 6, and on Saturday, November 8. In character as Frere Gerard and Tante Suzanne, we will introduce the 1718 Project, The Petticoat Rebellion, and some recipes. The presentation will be enhanced by some actual food.

Here is a recipe that we came up with in the late summer. We made it from scratch, I don’t know if it’s very original. The more I research the history of food in the 18th century and then put that research into practice creating recipes that would have likely been used by our story tellers, Frere Gerard and Tante Suzanne, the more I get this feeling that originality is very hard to achieve. Most of Creole cooking is not rooted in its originality but rather in its variations. After all, there are only 4 or 5 meat choices, somewhat more vegetable choices, combined with 5 or 6 grains, and then enhanced with numerous spices and herbs. In any event, our Orange and Ginger Chicken (which follows) turned out to be a pretty fantastic meal. Hope you enjoy.

Tante Suzanne has come up with a new recipe using only ingredients and spices available in New Orleans in the mid-18th century.

Begin with the juice of four fresh oranges at least 2 tablespoons of fresh ginger, ground or crystallized. Sauté the holy trinity and the pope ( onions, celery, bell peppers and garlic *) in a bit of olive oil for 10 or 15 minutes, chunk up several pieces of boneless chicken (dark or white, as you prefer) add to the sautéed vegetables with about a cup of stock. Let that simmer for about a half hour, Add orange juice, Some pulp, and the ginger, stir well and let that cook at least for a half hour. Cooking time can vary but I wouldn’t go over a total of 1 1/2 to 2 hours. Serve over rice with a nice salad or side –. baby carrots make a nice choice.

* Quantity of each depends on amount of servings desired. For a family of four or five, Tante Suzanne uses one each medium onion and bell pepper, two or three stalks of celery, and five to six cloves (toes) of garlic. Reduce or enlarge the quantity according to your needs. The same idea goes for the amount of chicken.

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Three Blogs in One

http://1718neworleans.com

Self-Publishing and Self-Editing, Part III

St. Joseph’s Day, March 19, 2014. iTunes Producer reads “Uploaded package to the iTunes Store”. We are almost there, in the olden days I could now say my book is at the publishers. But it is not the olden days and while the book is in fact at the publishers that doesn’t mean it will be published in short order. Meanwhile, I am on pins and needles waiting for the OK to come in and for The Petticoat Rebellion to appear in the iBookstore.

So in the meantime, I cannot market, so I am updating the social media pages. I have decided to focus on five venues. First and foremost, the 1718 New Orleans website, then the Facebook page, then the LinkedIn page. In addition to these three, serious work will be undertaken to update and activate more fully the Goodreads page/account and the Project Gutenberg account and whatever they may require for their program. In the midst of all this activity The Petticoat Rebellion also has to be converted from an iBook into an e-book. I will be doing this activity through a very helpful website and publication called Unruly Guides. The centerpiece of this process is an application called Sigil. Never fret, though, this process will be well-documented through this blog. Once the e-book conversion is completed, then submission to Kindle, Smashwords, and Project Gutenberg will be undertaken.

At now, like I don’t have enough to do, research and writing on Volume 2 progresses. To wit…

Doing History

Academic historians spend years pouring over documentary evidence isolating their research data and verifying their information. Unfortunately, this is about where their production levels off. On the scale of Information Architecture, data is followed by information is followed by knowledge is followed by wisdom. It is only in the lecture hall and, hopefully, in the books produced by the historian where said historian can rise to the level of knowledge and wisdom. However, communication in the classroom and sometimes even the books always seems to be bogged down by all the discussion of data and information. Reading histories written in the 1800s and before, then post-Von Ranke in the late 19th and early 20th century, and then continuing on to those written in the later 20th century, a definite pattern can be seen to emerge. Unfortunately, it is a pattern of devolution. The early historians, even going back to Herodotus, communicate at the level of knowledge/wisdom. During much of the 20th century historians communicated at the level of data and hopefully, occasionally, rising to information. Those of us trained in the late 20th century are possibly breaking out of this mold.

Now at the beginning of the 21st. A return can be seen to be re-evolving from the previous “scientific” histories into a more
?enjoyable? type of historical presentation. It is at this juncture where information is being transformed into knowledge that I strive to place my work. For those interested in following the information, the 1718 website has a link to the Project’s bibliography. The iBook/e-book also contains footnotes that links to or references entries in the bibliography. It is my hope that by choosing a mixture of historical fiction (i.e. stories of cooks and cooking in New Orleans during the 18th century); adding the recipes that would be generated by the available foodstuffs and kitchen activities, filling in with actual recipes from 18th-century French cookbooks; and finishing with historical essays that supply factual backgrounds to the stories and recipes; that the combination takes the reader from information to knowledge. I do not go so far as to state that reading these books will lead to wisdom, but I can only hope that my readers see the difference between the fictional and historical entries and take away, not only a knowledge of what this Tricentennial is celebrating but more importantly, a feeling, or an understanding, of what the early settlers of New Orleans and Louisiana had to deal with and SUCCEEDED IN DEALING WITH thereby creating the unique culture that we celebrate today.

To this writer, a retired teacher an active scholar, this is what DOING HISTORY is all about. Enjoy the study, make the recipes, and Bon Appétit. And to La Nouvelle Orleans and it’s culture which created us, Joyeux Anniversaire !!!

Recipe:

One of the glories of Creole Cuisine is its simplicity. Especially in considering 18th Century Creole Cuisine, where official records are quick to chronicle all of the shortages and suffering in the colony, thankfully, there were always enterprising settlers ( and their “creole” descendants) to supply the kitchens and markets of the capital and surrounding settlements (see The Petticoat Rebellion, ch. 18). Where the official colonial records note scarcity and want , private records of the time consistently mark “imported luxuries lavishly spread on carved oak tables: olive oil, brandied fruits, anchovies and invariably, coffee which the Creoles served in spectacular quantities. People ate remarkable amounts of chocolate, considering that it was expensive and hard to come by. . . . a formal dinner {was described} with “many courses”and “many spices”,which was nevertheless followed by desserts”seemingly without end.” Cakes was served at every party;The guests divided up the leftovers and brought them home in their lanterns which might not be needed for light because many parties broke up after dawn.The pastries so generously distributed were not cheap, {wheat} flour was of course in short supply, “ (Vella, pp. 30-32)

This following recipe should be noted for its incredible simplicity. The only extravagant ingredients would be the coconuts and vanilla. The “spice” would have been brought in by smugglers from one of the many ships which traded in the trans-Caribbean Spanish/French/British/Dutch commercial network. Spices, such as vanilla, nutmeg, and cinnamon, made their way to the Gulf and Caribbean from the Pacific ports of Mexico and New Spain (Petticoat Rebellion, ch. 18). And in reality, the following dessert recipe can skip the vanilla without much detriment to its enjoyment. I have no proof, but I would be willing to say, that good old custard, that is the mixture of milk and eggs and sugar or sweetener probably goes back to time immemorial. Creoles throughout the Caribbean, South America, and the Gulf Coast call this variation on custard-Flan.

Tante Suzanne* (See the 11/5/13 blog entry) in preparation for a family feast (like the one described above) and having acquired some coconuts† and vanilla beans from her market sources proceeded to create her Flan as follows:

CARAMEL SAUCE: (first known use of the French word caramel was 1658)
Mix a cup of brown sugar, 1/2 cup of light cream, 4 tablespoons butter, and a pinch of salt in a saucepan over medium-low heat. Cook while whisking gently for 5 to 7 minutes, until it gets thicker. Add 1 tablespoon crushed vanilla seeds and cook another minute to thicken further. Turn off the heat, cool slightly and pour the sauce into a baking dish. Let it cool and thicken some while you mix the custard.

FLAN:
In a heavy saucepan pour 3 pints of milk and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook for about 45 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in 5+ tbsp. sugar and continue simmering 10 to 15 minutes, or until milk has reduced to 3 cups. Strain. To this boiled down (condensed) sugar milk add a pint of coconut milk, some coconut flakes, another pint of of fresh milk, and four or five eggs (depending on size). Mix all of these together very well. Pour the custard slowly over the caramel sauce and bake in a moderate oven for about an hour or so until the custard sets.

† The coconut is not indigenous to tropical America; it was introduced to the Caribbean and the Atlantic coasts of the Americas in the 16th century. By the end of the 17th century the coconut was well established in Jamaica, but did not become an important plantation crop until the middle of the 19th century.

http://jamaica-gleaner.com/gleaner/20061005/eyes/eyes2.html

Whether or not the markets of New Orleans had coconuts in the 1700s is problematic. They were introduced to the Caribbean environment during the 1500s and 1600s, However in San Domingue, {after 1665} “More cattle, and slave agricultural holdings, coffee plantations and spice plantations were implemented, as well as fishing, cultivation of cocoa, coconuts and snuff”.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saint-Domingue

If Tante Suzanne access to them in San Domingue or Louisiana she could have used them in this Flan recipe. They are not technically required for this recipe but if you have a romantic streak in you may want to include them.

http://1718neworleans.com

 

 

 

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