Louisiana Traveler: Cochon de lait - KPLC 7 News, Lake Charles, Louisiana

Louisiana Traveler: Cochon de lait


In Hawaii, it's called a Luau.  Here in Louisiana, we call it a cochon de lait.  I recently got the chance visit such an event with a great purpose:  to bring together members of neighborhood.

It's a common sight in Cajun Country.  A suckling pig roasting either on a spit or in a special oven.  The cochon de lait is french for roast pig.  Debby and Jim Davenport have been doing them since the late 1970s.

"It's roasted pig," said Debby.  "There are lots of ways to do it.  You can hang it on a spit and turn it that way.  Some people put it in the ground and wrap it in leaves and cook it in the ground.  We use a Cajun microwave."

The Davenports like to do these for family reunions, camping trips and church gathering.

"What we're trying to do is show folks that these guys and gals that go to these churches, we're just regular people," said Jim, as he watched over three "Cajun Microwave" ovens at First Baptist Church of Sulphur.  "We're just like everybody else.  We like to laugh, joke and eat and have a good time, play games."

After about 8 hours, the pig is removed and carved, ready for eating by the crowds.

"Cochon de lait is unique," said First Baptist Minister of Education Tom Bruce.  "It's different.  Nobody else is doing anything like that, that I know of.  It's our culture.  It's part of our heritage and we want to relate to our community and invite people out to have a good time."

Just in case, Cajun sausage and hot dogs are available for those not wanting roast pig.What's the difference between a cochon de lait and a luau?

"A luau, you have to wear a grass skirt," replied Debby. "And this, you don't.  We don't wear grass skirts."

And whether you're in Hawaii or Louisiana, it's all about socializing.  By the way, the Cochon de Lait Festival is this weekend in Mansura, La.  For more information, go to www.cochondelaitfestival.com.

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