In the 18th century, the Spaniards governing New Orleans named all residents of European heritage Criollo. The name, which later became Creole, soon began to imply one of refined cultural background with an appreciation for an elegant lifestyle. Today, Creole cookery reflects the full-flavored combination of the best of French, Spanish and African cuisines. Its style, with an emphasis on butter and cream, is more sophisticated than cajun cooking (which uses prodigious amounts of pork fat). Another difference between the two cuisines is that Creole uses more tomatoes and the Cajuns more spices. Both cuisines rely on the culinary "holy trinity" of chopped green peppers, onions and celery, and make generous use of filé powder. Probably the most famous dish of Creole heritage is gumbo.
From The Food Lover's Companion, Fourth edition by Sharon Tyler Herbst and Ron Herbst. Copyright © 2007, 2001, 1995, 1990 by Barron's Educational Series, Inc.