When outsiders think of Louisiana foodways, Cajun and Creole classics like gumbo, po’ boys, etouffee, and jambalaya immediately leap to mind. Often passed over are the equally significant culinary traditions of northern Louisiana.
With that in mind, Chef Hardette Harris of Bossier City began taking steps to make sure North Louisiana’s culinary contributions are on the record – literally.
House Concurrent Resolution No. 88, which was enrolled and signed by the Speaker of the Louisiana House of Representatives and the President of the Louisiana State Senate on May 4, 2015, recognizes the culinary uniqueness of northern Louisiana and designates its official meal.
“We want to show the world ‘this is what we eat,’” Hardette said. “If we’re not proud of our local food traditions, why would anyone else think that they are exciting?”
The official meal of northern Louisiana includes iconic dishes like mini Natchitoches meat pies, fried catfish, purple hull peas, and hot water cornbread. Desserts include sweet potato pie, peach cobbler, and several others. The official beverage is sweet tea.
Through her business, Pure Louisiana Soul™ Food Tours, Tastings and Demos, Hardette is currently developing tastings of traditional northern Louisiana cuisine, which she plans to market to locals, as well as to Shreveport-Bossier visitors.
“I hope that our local chefs will join our fabulous home cooks in serving these dishes and others with the same pride and enthusiasm that our cousins have down south when they offer up a hearty bowl of red beans and rice or a smoking hot seafood platter,” Hardette said.
Chef Harris will host a tasting and cooking demo at 11 a.m on Saturday, June 27, at Shreveport Little Theatre. Tickets are now available for the event, which will highlight many of the foods named as components of the official meal. Tickets may be purchased at www.foodtourslouisiana.com.