A Little Food History

New Orleans Food History

By University of New Orleans

History of many of the classic foods of New Orleans, especially its street & working class foods.

Locations for Tour

1. Praline or “Pecan Candy” Vendors

Pralines are thought to have originated in seventeenth-century France when the chef of César, duc de Choiseul, Comte du Plessis-Praslin coated almonds with sugar. While sugared nuts were already enjoyed throughout the world, the candy termed…

2. Street Food Vendors

Food vendors made their way into every neighborhood of the city. Interviews recorded by filmmaker Karen Snyder with elderly New Orleanians in the early 1980s captured stories of commercial life on the city streets in the 1910s and 20s. Over-ripe…

3. Muffaletta Sandwich

The muffaletta is one of New Orleans’ most iconic and identifiable dishes. Made on large rounds of sesame bread and layered with olive salad, genoa salami, ham, mortadella, provolone and Swiss cheese, the muffaletta is clearly Italian in spirit and…

4. Po-Boy Sandwich, Martin Brothers

As with many culinary innovations, the poor boy or po-boy sandwich has attracted many legends regarding its origins. However, documentary evidence confirms that stories about one particular restaurant were right. Bennie and Clovis Martin left…

5. Margaret’s Steam and Mechanical Bakery

Margaret Haughery entered the baking business after lending a friend a few hundred dollars to start a bakery. His business did not go well, and she took over the bakery in order to save her investment. Her baked goods were soon known throughout New…

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