El Paso Chef Mixes Up A Gumbo of History And Food
Chef Rulis Gonzalez has started a pretty cool video series that combines history lessons with cooking lessons ... "The Chuco Cooking Show".
Rulis, owner and operator of Rulis' International Kitchen, just posted the video featured above about a point in El Paso's history which should appeal to foodies, history buffs and military historians alike as it involves both food and the legendary Buffalo Soldiers. The first African-American units established by the United States Army. (Learn more about them here.)
As Chef Rulis' points out, the nickname "Buffalo Soldiers" was given to these men by the Native Americans and was meant as a great compliment. The Native Americans viewed the Buffalo as almost God-like entities, recognizing not only their strength, bravery and power but also the fact that without them, they themselves could not survive. How they came to apply that name to the Buffalo Soldiers is debatable.
One story holds that the soldiers' dark, curly hair resembled the buffalo's fur. Another says the name stemmed from the ferocity with which the Buffalo Soldiers fought. Something that reminded the Native Americans of the Buffaloes' behavior when defending the herd.
A somewhat ironic honor given that one of the regiments' primary missions was to keep the Native Americans "in check". It's a fascinating story and Rulis goes on to explain how the soldiers, who primarily came from Louisiana, were able to enjoy the "comfort" foods they were used to, like crawdads and catfish, right here in 1800's El Chuco.
Watch the video to hear that story and to learn how to make yourself a seriously tasty cajun treat!