Authentic Creole Fat Tuesday meal served at Bell Tower Residence Feb. 28
Holy Cross Sister John Marie Simien will once again share her Creole roots through food at the Fat Tuesday Gumbo Supper. The event will be Tuesday, Feb. 28, from 4:30-7 p.m. in Assisi Hall at Bell Tower Residence Assisted Living, 1500 O’Day St. Merrill. Cost is $10, $7 for carry outs. $4 for children under 12.
Sister John Marie grew up in the Mallet Bayou in Louisiana where she lived until she was 20 years old. Her parents only spoke French and she learned English from her older brothers and sisters. She is the second youngest of 15 children.
She learned to cook from her mother and doesn’t follow a recipe. “I learned to cook by taste, that’s how Creole people cook. The food becomes a part of us and our culture.”
Cajun and Creole cooking is a combination of French, West African, Native American, Irish, Italian, German and Spanish foods and spices. “They borrowed from all of the groups that settled in Louisiana,” said Sister John Marie. “Food is not just food. It’s central to the Creole culture and is part of what makes life enjoyable. The Louisianans have a saying, it’s ‘let the good times roll.’ We shouldn’t be afraid to celebrate and no one celebrates without faith in something. The Cajun people came to Louisiana from Canada rather than give up their faith.” Louisiana has many bayous and the food is varied due to an abundance of fishing, farming and hunting.
With the help of Bell Tower Residence Assisted Living kitchen staff, she will make chicken and sausage gumbo, chicken and shrimp gumbo and shrimp creole for the Fat Tuesday meal.
Gumbo is a broth-based dish thickened with roux and seasoned with salt, bay leaf, sassafras and cayenne pepper. It has some type of meat and/or seafood and onion, garlic, red pepper and celery. “It really can have just about anything added to it,” said Sister John Marie. The shrimp creole has a tomato base rather than a broth base. Both dishes are served with rice.
The meal includes French bread, dessert and beverages along with the gumbo and creole dishes.
For more information contact Bell Tower Residence Assisted Living at 715-536-5575.