Cane River National Heritage Area hosted a lunch and learn lecture titled, “Smothered, Fried & Baked: A Discussion on Cane River Cooking Traditions with Connie Jones” Friday, Aug. 12 at the Grand Ecore Visitor Center.
A licensed nutritionist and Assistant Professor at NSU, Jones moved to Natchitoches 24 years ago from Wisconsin. Ready to taste just about every food that comes her way, she has an amazing mother-in-law, Dottie May Monette Conant of Cloutierville, who taught her how to make meat pies; 1,200 at a time.
Jones discussed foods and cooking techniques that make Cane River cuisine stand out amongst traditional southern foods.
According to Jones, food is the heart and soul of the family; it’s what keeps it together. Families on Cane River have a vested interest in the history, food and culture, and appreciate their ancestors.
Often recipes are shared orally, so Jones said words can get changed. Her mother-in-law “keels” dough, although Jones suspects the word was originally “knead” and got changed in translation somewhere.
“This is why food in the Cane River region remains so good,” said Jones. “Our recipes have been passed down with a lot of reverence.”