A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006. Now a Popeyes fast food restaurant on Google Maps.

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Entry from May 05, 2008
Maque Chou (Maque Choux; Maquechou; Maquechoux)

Entry in progress—B.P.

Wikipedia: Maque choux
Maque choux (pronounced: “mock shoe") is a traditional dish of southern Louisiana. It is thought to be an amalgam of Acadian French (Cajun) and Native American cultural influence, and the name is likely to derive from the French interpretation of the Native American name.

It is a simple dish that fundamentally contains corn, green bell pepper, tomatoes, onion, and sometimes garlic and celery. The ingredients are first braised in a pot. Historically bacon grease was used for this, although this is now more often substituted with various combinations of oil, butter, or cream. The vegetables are then left to simmer until they reach a juicy, saturated consistency, with chicken stock or water added as necessary. The dish is finished with salt and a combination of red and black pepper, and some cooks include hot sauce and a bit of sugar for greater complexity.

Maque choux is usually served as an accompaniment; however, it can also act as a base for a main meal and use focal ingredients such as bite-sized portions of chicken or crawfish.

Cajun Dictionary of Louisiana Foods
Maque Choux: (mok shoo)
Traditional dish of Southern Louisiana. It contains corn, green bell pepper, tomatoes, and onion. Traditionally, these ingredients were cooked with bacon grease, although this is now more often substituted with various combinations of oil, butter, or cream. The dish is seasoned with salt and red or black pepper.

(Dictionary of American Regional English)
maque chou(x) n [LaFr; per of AmInd origin] LA
A dish whose principal ingredient is sweet corn; see quots.
[1931 Read LA French 143, Maquechou...A dish made of young corn cut from the cob and smothered with onions. Such is the meaning assigned to maquechou by most of my informants. Some of my friends, however, insist that maquechou is a thick soup in which corn is the principal ingredient. Finally some Acadians make maquechou of cabbage and give the name moque-chou, “mock cabbage."]
1983 Reinecke Coll. 12 LA, Maquechou...[maksu]—a dish of young corn smothered with onions. La. Fr. (from Indian?) Fairly common among Cajuns.
1985 NYT Mag. 1 Sept 37/2, Around New Orleans, every Cajun family quarrels over the best way to make the creamed corn they call “maque choux.”
1986 Pederson LAGS Concordance 1 inf. cLA, Maque choux—boiled corn, bell peppers, seasoning; (Sweet corn) 1 inf. cLA, Maque choux—cooked corn, cutfrom cob and fried; 1 inf. ewLA, Maque choux.

(Oxford English Dictionary)
maque choux, n.
Forms: 19- maquechou, 19- maque choux, 19- mocquechou. [Origin uncertain. Prob. < Louisiana French, app. ult < French moquer MOCK v. + chou cabbage (see COLE n.1), although this may be a folk etymology. Cf.: 1969 M. LAND New Orleans Cuisine ix. 132 Some natives believe that this succulent stew was brought to Louisiana by the Spanish, and that the name originated with the Spanish name ‘machica’ which was a dish of toasted corn meal sweetened with sugar and spices. Others think the name came from the word ‘maigrichou’ which means ‘a thin child’ as this dish was originally more soup than stew. The ‘Cajuns’ of Louisiana have their own interpretation making it a dish cooked with cabbage and calling it ‘mogue-chou’ or ‘mock cabbage’.]
A Cajun dish of creamed corn and other vegetables, esp. onion, peppers, and tomato.
1931 W. A. READ Louisiana-French 143 A dish made of young corn cut from the cob and smothered with onions. Such is the meaning assigned to maquechou by most of my informants. Some of my friends, however, insist that maquechou is a thick soup in which corn is the principal ingredient.
1969 M. LAND New Orleans Cuisine ix. 132 One of the most popular traditional dishes of south Louisiana is Mocquechou... The original dish was made of fresh scraped corn and tomatoes, simmered with water and butter.
1984 P. PRUDHOMME Prudhomme’s Louisiana Kitchen viii. 234 Every Cajun family has its own recipe for Corn Maque Choux.
1993 Homemaker’s Mag. Jan.-Feb. 56/2 Maque Choux (Creamy Corn and Vegetables)..onion..garlic..diced sweet green and red pepper..corn kernels..cream-style corn..tomato, chopped.

17 January 1963, Big Spring (TX) Daily Herald, “Influences in Southern Cooking Art,” pg. 6B, col. 5:
From the kitchens of the Negro cooks came the gumbo, etouffee, bisque, mock shu, rich pastries, hot sauces and rich gravies poured over fluffy white rice. 

Google Books
Louisiana Lagniapp Cookbook:
World’s Largest Cajun Cookbook

by Mercedes Vidrine
Baton Rouge, LA: Claitor’s Publishing Division
Pg. 68:
4 cups fresh corn
1 medium size onion, chopped
2 fresh tomatoes, chopped
2 tablespoons butter
1/4 medium size bell pepper, chopped
salt and pepper to taste

Cut corn from cobs and have ready.
Chop onion and bell pepper in a bowl and have ready.
Chop tomatoes into another bowl and have ready.
Melt the butter in a heavy iron pot. Add the onions and bell pepper and saute until wilted. Add corn. Cook and stir over medium heat for about five minutes. Add tomatoes and seasoning to taste.
Cover and simmer for twenty minutes, removing the cover often to stir. If mixture becomes too dry, add a fourth cup of water. Serve over rice cooked in a separate pot.
Mrs. C. J. Saloom

27 January 1981, Syracuse (NY) Herald-Journal, pg. D1, col. 4:
12 ears corn
One half cup cooking oil
One medium bell pepper, chopped fine
Two large onions, chopped fine
Four cloves garlic, chopped fine
Salt, cayenne pepper, black pepper to taste
One egg yolk
One half cup sugar
One cup milk

Cut and scrape corn from cobs into a large bowl. Put cooking oil, corn, bell pepper, onions, garlic, black pepper, cayenne pepper and salt in a large pot and cook down, stirring continuously so it will not stick.

About 15 minutes before the corn is cooked, mix egg yolk, sugar and milk in a small bowl and heat. Add beaten mixture to corn; cook until thickened.

18 February 1983, New York (NY) Times, “Texarkana” restaurant review by Mimi Sheraton, pg. C26:
Maquechou, a Cajun-Indian combination of corn, tomatoes, green peppers and onion, is a welcome addition to the vegetable menu.

11 May 1983, New York (NY) Times, “Cajun Cooking” by Marian Burros, pg. C8:
Enola Prudhomme’s Maquechou
Kernels from 8 ears of corn
1/4 pound butter
1 large thinly sliced onion
1/2 of a green pepper, finely chopped
Salt and black pepper to taste
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
1 egg yolk
1 cup milk or less
1 teaspoon sugar or less.
1. Heat butter in large skillet; saute kernels for 2 minutes.
2. Add onion and green pepper and cook over medium-high heat until onion is soft, 5 to 7 minutes. Season with salt, pepper and cayenne.
3. Beat yolk with milk and sugar; add to corn; stir and cook 2 or 3 minutes, until mixture thickens slightly.
Yield: 8 servings.

28 July 1984, New York (NY) Times, “De Gustibus (A Cajun Dish)” by Marian Burros, pg. 48:
I was recently introduced to a Cajun corn dish called maque-chou that calls for kernels from eight ears of corn sauteed in four tablespoons of hot butter. Two thinly sliced onions and finely chopped green pepper with freshly ground black pepper and a bit of cayenne are added and cooked until the onions are soft. Then a mixture of beaten egg yolk and about three-quarters of a cup of milk are stirred in, the dish cooked until the mixture thickens slightly.

19 August 1984, New York (NY) Times, “In Praise of Authentic Maque Choux” (letter), pg. E18:
Maque choux (probably meaning imitation cabbage) is stewed corn and tomatoes. “Le Livre de la Cusine de Lafayette,” published in 1967 by les bonnes femmes of that lovely city in the heart of Cajun country, gives the following recipe:

“Maque Choux—Clean 8 ears of corn thoroughly and cut lengthwise 1/4 inch from top; scrape corn with side of blade to get juice. Mix with 1/2 c. onion, 1/4 chopped bell pepper, 1/2 c. peeled and chopped tomatoes, 1 tsp. sugar and salt and pepper to taste. Pour in 1/2 c. hot grease—reduce fire to low. Cook 3/4 hour, covered. Stir occasionally. Serves 4 to 6. Mrs. P. J. Blanchet Jr.”

In the same section of this excellent book of recipes there is a recipe for corn casserole that is very similar to the one in The Times of July 28. I hope your readers have a chance to enjoy the authentic maque choux as much as I and my family have.
Coral Gables, Fla., Aug. 3, 1984.

The Texas Cowboy Cookbook
by Robb Walsh
New York, NY: Broadway Books
Pg. 114:
Maque Choux
Pronounced “mock shoe,” this spicy version of Indian succotash became popular in Cajun Louisiana. The word “maque” comes from the Choctaw Indian word for corn. Choux is French for cabbage, In East Texas, this dish is often confusingly called “corn pone.”
12 ears fresh corn, husked
3 tablespoons bacon grease
1 large onion, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
3 fresh jalapeños, chopped
2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
2 teaspoons salt

Cut the corn kernels off each cob into a bowl. Then scrape each cob with the back of the knife, catching the “corn milk: in the bowl.

In a Dutch oven, heat the bacon grease over medium heat. Add the onion, bell pepper, and jalapeños and cook for 3 to 5 minutes, until soft. Add the corn and liquid, black pepper, and salt. Cook over low heat for 20 to 25 minutes, stirring as needed to keep the corn from sticking. Serve hot.

Posted by Barry Popik
Texas (Lone Star State Dictionary) • (1) Comments • Monday, May 05, 2008 • Permalink