American Southern Cuisine

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South America is unique in its food, customs as well as accent and dialect. The regions inhabitants are from different cultures and racial origins. They settled in the region after they migrated from other parts of the world. The inhabitants comprise of Africans, Spanish, and European immigrants. Each of these immigrants contributed to the development of southern cuisine mode of cooking. The cultures largely influenced the creation of the famous cuisine Jambalaya. This essay is a description of geographical, historical and cultural influence pertaining the American Southern cuisine, a description of Jambalaya and a brief story of a famous chef of the Southern cuisine.

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Geographical Description

South America stretches from the Gulf of Darien in the northwest and extends in the south to the archipelago of Tierra del Fuego. The region is distinct in its food, customs as well as accent and dialect. The Pacific Ocean lies on the southern tip of South America which provides a huge collection of seafood. It is marked by the Ohio River on the northern border and is straddled by Washington D.C, the nations capital. The states in the region are Arkansas, Alabama, Georgia, Florida, Louisiana, Kentucky, Mississippi, Oklahoma, North Carolina, South Carolina, Texas, Tennessee, West Virginia and Virginia.

History of the Region

South America is composed of different cultures that migrated to the region in different ways. Each culture has contributed to the ways of cooking of the southern cuisines. Creoles who originated from French and later socialized with Spanish immigrants in New Orleans area are recognized for their distinctive use of spices. Cajuns are renowned for their unique cooking style. Cajuns were formerly Acadians, French immigrants in Nova Scotia who were chased away by the British. They then made their way to New Orleans. The Creoles and Cajuns settled in New Orleans famous for the traditional rice by the name Jambalaya. As such there are two different Jambalaya traditions which are Cajun and Creole.

Cultural Influence

South America has diverse cultural societies. They comprise of the native cultures of the persons that occupied the continent preceding the arrival of Europeans. The European culture was brought into the region by Spanish, French and Portuguese. The African cultures were as a result of the world slavery. South America has a distinctive cuisine which is largely shaped by its culture. The cuisine takes on Spanish, African and European cultures. The main ingredients in South Americans cuisines were modified and adapted from the newly introduced food from Africa, Spanish, Asia, and Europe. The cultural diversity led to the development of the chief South American cuisine commonly known as Jambalaya.


Jambalaya is a traditional rice whose ingredients vary from sausage, chicken, vegetables, seafood or any combination of the four CITATION Jam16 \l 1033 (Jambalaya, 2016). There are two different Jambalaya traditions, which are Creole and Cajun. By tradition, Cajun Jambalaya comprises of smoked sausage, ham, chicken or game meat and it is prepared without tomatoes. Creole Jambalaya is prepared with tomatoes, and it is chiefly composed of seafood instead of meat. In the American society, dishes of Jambalaya may often appear different. This is because traditions have mingled, copied and modified the ingredients of Jambalaya over time. In addition, most families in the region have also developed Jambalaya recipes of their own.

Famous Jambalaya Chef of Current Time

Chef John Besh was born on May 14, 1968, and grew up in Southern Louisiana (John Besh, 2016). Besh is a former U.S Marine. He had an entrepreneurial spirit, and a result he decided to open nine restaurants in the US. In the recent past, he is recognized as the best new chefs, by food and wine. His leading restaurant, August, was highlighted on the Gourmets Guide to Americas best restaurants and Americas top 50 restaurants. He also won the James Beard Award for the best southern chef in 2006. In 2009, he won Silver Spoon Award for bracing the cooking legacy of New Orleans. He is devoted to local cuisines and ingredients such as jambalaya among many others.


In conclusion, South America has a unique and diverse food culture. The region borders the Pacific Ocean making it easy for the inhabitants to acquire seafood. Its inhabitants comprise of the immigrants from Africa, Spanish, and Europe. The chief famous traditional food is Jambalaya. Jambalaya has two different traditions which are the Creole and Cajun. Both of these Jambalaya cultures are prepared differently. Cajun jambalaya is made of smoked sausage, ham, and chicken and it is prepared without tomatoes. On the other hand, Creole jambalaya is prepared with tomatoes and seafood is used instead of meat. Chef John Besh is a famous chef of the Southern cuisine. He is devoted to local cuisines like Jambalaya among others.


BIBLIOGRAPHY Jambalaya. (2016). New Orleans Online, p. Retrieved March 21, 2016

John Besh. (2016). New Orleans Online. Retrieved March 21, 2016, from

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