Big Jones Does Mardi Gras 1950s Style

We get the feeling that the more Big Jones chef Paul Fehribach digs into historical recipes, the less he wants to just throw the usual Cajun clichés together and call them his Mardi Gras specials. So starting last Friday night and through February 26th, he’s serving what he calls a “Cajun Country Ramble, c. 1955,” featuring traditional foods from the countryside (and not just the French Quarter). You may not think of 1955 as some golden age of lost cuisine, but he has an explanation for why this time period and this food.

What I’ve set out to do here is create a meal you might have encountered in a Cajun country Mardi Gras celebration back when it was still very isolated and long before the rest of the country had even heard of the word “Cajun,” on the cusp of the Federal-Aid Highway Act of 1956, which would bring roads and bridges to all parts of the country and would gradually lead to the absorption of such remote areas into larger society.

As the South becomes more Americanized and America becomes more Southern, we invite you to join us for a meal remembering a bygone place and time. Laissez les bons temps rouler!

The week before Mardi Gras, he’ll add some of the more expected dishes to the menu, but for now we think this is a cool exploration of Mardi Gras beyond the things that became celebrated up north in the 1970s and 1980s when Cajun food— or at least blackening spices— went national. Here’s the menu:

A Cajun Country Ramble, ca. 1955
Available daily 5 pm-9pm, February 3rd-26th

Crawfish and Pork Boudin Balls
Cracklin’s and Cornbread
Sunday File Gumbo - chicken, sausage, ham, catfish, crawfish, crab…
Creamy Potato Salad
Alligator & Andouille Sauce Piquante
Arkansas Delta rice with butter
King Cake
$25 per person, family-style. Total table participation requested.

Big Jones Does Mardi Gras 1950s Style