Glossary H-N
Written by John Keife

Herbsainte
A liqueur with an anise or licorice flavor.

Hog’s Head Cheese
A gelatinized combination of meats made from boiling the head of a pig and using any meat from other body parts, like feet, that would otherwise go unused. Most of today’s hog’s head cheeses are made from pork roast combined with gelatin and not the pig’s head.

Hush Puppies
A cornbread based mixture, formed into balls and friend until crispy on the outside. Often served as an accompaniment with fried seafood.

Jambalaya (jum-buh-lie’-ya)
A rice dish with any combination of beef, pork, fowl, smoked sausage, ham, or seafood, as well as celery, green peppers and often tomatoes. Jambalaya is the Cajun equivalent to the Spanish paella.

Joie de Vivre (zhwah-duh-veev’-ruh)
A love of life. From French, meaning “joy of living.A feeling of healthy enjoyment of life; exuberance, high spirits.

King Cake
A ring-shaped oval pastry, decorated with colored sugar in the traditional Mardi Gras colors of purple, green, and gold; which represent justice, faith, and power. A small plastic baby is often hidden inside the cake. Tradition requires that the person who gets the baby in their piece must provide the next King Cake.

Lagnaippe (lan-yap’)
A little something extra, gift or small surprise which was always given to the customers after a purchase in the stores of early New Orleans. Often gave great pleasure to the children since the lagniappe was often a piece of candy.

Laissez les bon temps roule’ (lay-za lay)
Let the good times roll. Have a good time.

Levee (leh’-vee)
A dike or embankment, usually made with soil and rocks; used to keep the river, canal, or bayou from overflowing

Loup-Garous (loop-ga-roo’)
An old Cajun belief in goblins, spirits, witches and werewolves that prowl during a full moon and ride on bats; they hold parties at Bayou Goula and dance all night; a sprinkle of salt will destroy a loup-garous.

Mamaloi (mah-mah-lwa’)
A voodoo priestess.

Maque Choux (mahk shoo)
Several vegetables sautéed with corn, tomatoes, and spices.

Mardis Gras
French for Fat Tuesday. A holiday which is celebrated exactly 40 days before Easter Sunday. It is the last party day before the solemn Lenten season. Mardi Gras is also known as carnival last day to eat meat.

Merci (mare-see’)
Just as in European French, it mean “thank you”

Mirepoix (meer’-a-pwa)
A combination of onions, shallots, scallions, leeks, celery, garlic, carrots, mushroom trimmings and tomatoes often used to provide aromatic flavor to a stock. Never use bell pepper, cabbage, or cauliflower in a stock as they tend to overpower and and often render a bitter taste.

Mirliton (mehr-leh-ton’)
A green pear-shaped vegetable from the cucumber family. In Latin groceries they are known as chayotes and other locations, vegetable pears.

Muffulata
A Sicilian bread onto which olive salad, various meats and cheeses are added and made into a tasty meal. Originated by Lupo Salvatore, owner of Central Grocery in New Orleans.

Nutria (nu’-tra)
A large member of the rodent family now found throughout the swamps and marsh of South Louisiana; originally imported from South American to control the unwanted vegetation around the farmland. The very soft fur is used in coats and the meat available to the alligator farmers