The Local Palate Newsletter
Sign up to recieve news, updates, recipes, cocktails and web exclusives about food culture in the south

Share this article via email


Save 72% off of newsstand price now!

Subscribe to The Local Palate
Shop Marketplace Savor the South Newsletter Tableaux Newsletter Subscribe Digital Edition Customer Service Send a Gift App Store Google Play

Get the latest from the Local Palate, straight to your inbox.

Sign up

Get the latest from the Local Palate, straight to your inbox.

Eatymology of Maque Choux

Eatymology of Maque Choux
By Bob Sherrier | Photos by Elise Poché

n: A corn-based Cajun side dish with roots in Native American foodways

Combining Cajun and Native American influences, maque choux differs from succotash in that it creams its corn and loses the lima beans. But don’t relegate this corn-centric dish as a side only: all it needs is a helping of  boudin, chicken, or shrimp to turn entrée.

First appearing in print in the early twentieth century, the etymological roots of maque choux may appear to derive directly from Spanish and French colonsists, but in all likelihood the name goes back much farther, appropriated from the source of so many of our Southern culinary traditions, the Native Americans. Their name for the dish—long since lost—was probably mispronounced by the Acadians in the late 1700s and then folk etymologized or eggcorned into maque choux, roughly translated to the French “mock cabbage.” While traditional maque choux recipes call for cooking in bacon grease and a double scraping of the corn cob (first to release the kernels and second to “milk” the cob for extra creaminess), nowadays oil and butter have predominantly replaced the grease and canned creamed corn has replaced the double scraping, but we don’t condone this canned shortcut. Whatever the roots of its name, the crucial component of a successful maque choux has remained constant throughout the centuries: fresh sweet local corn, hand-scraped and hand-pulped, a pile of veritable golden nuggets that to this day reference the hospitality of a nation and the generosity of its native peoples.


Corn and Tasso Maque Choux
From chef Gillian Clark of Kitchen on George in Mobile, Alabama

Maque Choux
From chef Molly McCook of Ellerbe Fine Foods in Fort Worth, Texas

Mentioned in this post: