Changing Planet

The Evolution of New Orleans Pralines

It’s no secret that a lot of Louisiana’s famous dishes hail from France. But when the recipes immigrated to Louisiana, a lot of them assimilated to delta terrain.

Pralines are a perfect example of such adaptation.  This French confection of sugar and nuts was originally created with almonds. When the dish settled in America, by way of New Orleans, plentiful pecans took the place of sparse almonds.

New Orleans still prides itself in the production of pecan pralines (not prayleens), while other places in the world have also seen the recipe evolve to fit their location — most notably Belgium where the candy is a decadent chocolate.

You don’t have to be a confectioner to make a mean New Orleans praline.  In fact, my New Orleans family has a delicious pecan praline recipe that I have shared on my blog, The Old Country Blog, a site chronicling old family recipes and lore.

Caroline Gerdes recently graduated from Louisiana State University where she studied journalism and history (her major and minor, respectively). As a native of the Greater New Orleans Area, she decided to explore her own backyard with help from a Young Explorers Grant. Caroline is currently conducting an oral history project about the New Orleans Ninth Ward. She seeks to record the community’s full history — its immigrant beginnings, the development of jazz, the depression and prohibition, desegregation and hurricanes. Caroline’s exploration is also a personal quest as her father and paternal grandparents grew up in the Ninth Ward. Her blogs reflect an inside look at New Orleans life and culture, especially the edible aspects.
  • Raven

    New Orleans authentic cuisines did not come from France. You are clearly misinformed about the original FREEMAN, a term later corrupted FRENCH, and applied to what is today called FRANCE. Everything does not come out of Europe, my friend. I and an indigenous New Orleanian. You know nothing about our history.

About the Blog

Researchers, conservationists, and others share stories, insights and ideas about Our Changing Planet, Wildlife & Wild Spaces, and The Human Journey. More than 50,000 comments have been added to 10,000 posts. Explore the list alongside to dive deeper into some of the most popular categories of the National Geographic Society’s conversation platform Voices.

Opinions are those of the blogger and/or the blogger’s organization, and not necessarily those of the National Geographic Society. Posters of blogs and comments are required to observe National Geographic’s community rules and other terms of service.

Voices director: David Braun (dbraun@ngs.org)

Social Media