Picks and Pans Review: Cajun Country: Don't Drop the Potato

updated 07/16/1990 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 07/16/1990 AT 01:00 AM EDT

PBS (Fri., July l3, 10 P.M. ET)


When Frenchmen wandered down from Canada to settle in the bayous of Louisiana, assimilating their Indian and black neighbors, they forged the distinctive Cajun culture. This special, part of the American Patchwork series, examines this insular people's history, impenetrable patois, cuisine and music (watch for fiddler Michael Doucet of the band Beausoleil). It's rather amateurishly done, but in its catch-as-catch-can fashion, the program does manage to convey the passion for life these people have. Their rustic roughriding celebration of Mar-di Gras, for instance, makes the bacchanalian college ritual of spring break look like a monastic retreat. (Don 7 Drop the Potato is a Cajun injunction that, in this context, means hold on to tradition.)

By the way, if you really want to catch swamp fever, you'd do better to come back to PBS on Monday night for Lost Man's River: An Everglades Journey with Peter Matthiessen (July 16, 8 P.M. ET), as the writer tramps around and ponders the wettest part of Florida, the setting for his novel, Killing Mister Watson. As for Cajun Country:

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