Cajun Kringle cakes

One day an old Cajun man told his grandchildren this story. “Come over here,” he said, “Set yo’sef down and lemme tell ya da story of da Cajun Kringle.

“It all happen a long time ago. D’ere was a little baker called his ‘sef Alfonse. Dis man was very generous. Every mornin’ he would wake up at 4:00 a.m. an den light his oven and begin da process of makin’ his Kringles. When he would finish baking dem Kringles, he would load dem into his pirogue for the trip down da bayou to begin deliberin’ dem to his family and friends.

“One mornin’ on the bayou, a big gator jumped on his boat and said ‘Gimme all your Kringles.’ Alphonse grabbed his push pole and beat dat gator on his head and told him da Kringles was not for him. Dat night da baker started cookin’ his Kringles early cause he had a large order to deliver. As he look out da corner of his eye, he saw dat gator cryin’ at da window. Being a very compassionate ole man, he made a promise wit dat gator. He said if da gator would pull Alfonse and his pirouge down da bayou to make his Kringle deliveries, Alfonse, he would give a special Kringle to the gator each day. The gator agreed. The next mornin’ all da Cajun families got their Kringles from Alfonse and da gator.

“So legend has it dat all da families along da bayou wait each mornin’ to see Alfonse and his gator bring dem their Cajun Kringles®. So children, remember dat lil ole baker, Alfonse, and his gator every time your family receives a Cajun Kringle.

My informant insisted that I recopy the entire story from the back of one of the Kringle cake packages.  She tells me that she grew up with Kringle cakes and that they were a staple of every Christmas party she went to as a child.  She even actually read me the story with a Cajun accent because she said I needed to hear it as a native Louisianan would tell it!  To her, this story is a part of her childhood that demonstrates the area’s connection with food.  My informant is always telling me about the food in her native town of New Orleans and that nothing around the country can compare to it.  I have to say that I believe her because when I visited the city myself, I was blown away by the deep-seated affair the city has with its food.  Although I didn’t grow up with this story (having been raised in Chicago), when I heard it I immediately felt a connection with the Kringle cake before I tasted it, and since then I’ve always associated the taste with a funny story about an alligator on the bayou.