Jambalaya and what the name (mythically) means

Jambalaya and what the name (mythically) means

It’s a dish that has many variations and permutations, but it is delicious nevertheless: jambalaya.

An icon of Cajun-Creole cookery, jambalaya is rice dish with a wonderful hodge-podge of ingredients including onions, peppers, tomato, sausage (and meats of just about any kind) and shellfish (often crayfish). 

What the name means is merely myth. Some believe it comes from the French for “ham:” jambon. Others still say it is a silly derivative of a comment made by a waitress in a New Orleans diner: “Jean, balayez!” This, the story goes, was an order to the cook to throw something together for a customer. What the customer heard was “jambalaya.”

That’s highly unlikely, but it’s a good story. The dish itself is even better.

Proof of that is no myth at the popular Lancaster Smokehouse where they prepare jambalaya thus: “The Louisiana Holy Trinity, Chicken, Andouille sausage and Shrimp, with rice in a seafood-tomato broth.”


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