Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Cajun cuisine, Tuscaloosa tailgating favorites face off

From the back of the Louisiana bayou to the base of Denny Chimes, Louisiana State University will be bringing its traditional Cajun and creole food to The University of Alabama Saturday.

While creole cuisine includes a variety of foods, the most commonly known is gumbo. Gumbo, derived from Southern and Central African Bantu dialects for the word “okra,” first came to Louisiana during the 18th century, according to Its traditional ingredients are brown roux, okra, filé powder, onions, green peppers, tomatoes and seafood, chicken or some other kind of meat.

Trent Verges, director of marketing for Creole Cuisine, which owns eight restaurants in New Orleans, said one of the most popular dishes the restaurants serve is their smoked rabbit gumbo.

“Creole is truly a blend of varying cultures we essentially call a melting pot,” Verges said.

Marissa Leshnov, a sophomore majoring in physics, experienced creole food for the first time over fall break when she traveled down to New Orleans, La. Through the French Quarter and around the city, she said she was overwhelmed by the city’s culture.

“Being in New Orleans is unlike anywhere else in the world. There’s this energy that runs through the city, especially the French Quarter, and you can’t help but want to become a part of it,” Leshnov said.

Leshnov took the opportunity to experiment with some of the different foods she came across while she was in New Orleans. The food was different from what she was used to, she said, but she was pleasantly surprised by its quality.

“I tried gumbo for the first time ever, and it was spicier than I expected it to be. I think it’s definitely an acquired taste,” Leshnov said.

UA alumnus Tyler Cummings said the differences in tailgates between The University of Alabama and LSU are really only apparent in the food.

“Bama tailgates lean towards barbecue, burgers, hot dogs and sausages – I suppose more of the typical game day cuisine,” Cummings said. “Even as a Bama alumnus, I’d have to say LSU has Bama beat hands down on the food at tailgates.”

Taryn Spencer, a sophomore majoring in secondary education and Spanish, said she loves Cajun food and the different experiences it brings to the table.

“I once went to an ‘authentic Cajun’ restaurant on a swamp that would go into the swamp and surrounding forest and kill whatever they could, bring it back and serve it,” Spencer said. “Sometimes it would be normal stuff like fish and rabbit, but then there was also turtle, alligator, squirrel and raccoon. Alligator, though, is surprisingly good.”

Despite the differences in tailgating foods between the two universities, Leshnov said she is looking forward to seeing what LSU brings to their tailgates Saturday.

“I’m excited to try new seafood at the tailgate, especially crawfish,” Leshnov said.


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