You guys have Cathy and I being totally unfamiliar with this food curious we did a little Google'n
originates from Louisiana's rural, low-lying swamp
country where crawfish
(aka "mudbugs"), shrimp
and other wild meats
were readily available. Any variety or combination of meats, including chicken
may be used to make jambalaya. The Gulf Coast
area's geographical basin
, and Louisiana
) also provided an exceptionally nutritive soil
and conducive environment in which rice flourished. Thus the combination of the two foods was quite natural.
The first printed reference to "jambalaya" occurred in 1872
, and the 1900
edition of "The Picayune's Creole Cook Book" called it a "Spanish-Creole dish." Jambalaya is also very similar to the Spanish
The origin of the name "jambalaya" is uncertain, and there are many theories surrounding its etymology
. Prominent among them is the combination of the French
"jambon" meaning ham, the French article "à la" meaning "in the style of" and "ya", thought by some to be of West African
origin meaning rice, though "ya-ya" is also an old Creole patois phase meaning "everybody's talking at once."
Alternate etymologies of the word point to the combining of the Creole words "Jhamba" (gift) and "laya" (rice). The name came from the plantation slave meals, which were often a pot of rice (or rice and beans). The slaves considered it a treat to find a "gift" of some meat (normally a left over from the owners meal or a table scrap) in with the rice. This is the current etymology being taught by the St. Louis School of Cooking.
The Dictionary of American Food and Drink offers this creative old wives' tale
about the origin of the word "jambalaya": Late one evening a traveling gentleman stopped by a New Orleans inn
which had little food remaining from the evening meal. The traveller instructed the cook "Jean, balayez!" or "Jean, sweep something together!" in the local dialect. The guest pronounced the resulting hodge-podge dish as "Jean balayez."
, Louisiana Governer John J. McKeithen proclaimed Gonzales, Louisiana
the Jambalaya Capital of the World. Every Spring
, the annual Jambalaya Festival
is held in Gonzales.
Jambalaya is also used as a main dish in many MREs
(Meals, Ready-to-Eat) for the military.
I hope to find out what we've been missing