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The History Jambalaya

Chicken and Sausage Jambalaya         1978 Award Winning Chicken Jambalaya      

it's pronounced <jahm-buh-LIE-uh> or <jum-buh-LIE-uh

According to the Online Etymology dictionary 1872, from Louisiana Fr., from Prov. jambalaia "stew of rice and fowl."

Jambalaya originated in southern Louisiana by the Cajuns around the bayou where food was scarce, as opposed to the richer part of Louisiana.

The word is said to be a compound word of Jambon from the French meaning ham, and Aya meaning rice in African, as there were many slaves in the Louisiana at the time.

Common belief is that it originated from the Spanish Paella, which has also transformed in the United States to a dish called Spanish Rice. Jambalaya is a bit different many times as it incorporates seafood , ham, link sausage rounds and chicken, although it doesn't have to have all those ingredients.

It can be made (separately or all together) with ham, chicken, sausage, fresh pork, shrimp and oysters, to which is added shortening, rice, onion, garlic, pepper and other seasonings.

Starting with church fairs, which were the largest public gatherings at the turn of the century, Jambalaya emerged from small quantity indoor cooking to become the ideal dish for outdoor cooking over hardwood fire. Big black cast iron pots made preparation so easy and economical for church use that Jambalaya was rapidly adapted for political rallies, weddings, family reunions and other affairs. No fair or political rally around Gonzales Louisiana(Jambalaya capital of the world) is complete without Jambalaya cooking.

The Jambalaya Festival and World Champion Jambalaya Cooking contest is held annually at Gonzales and attracts area cooks who have spent years perfecting the are of cooking and seasoning this Creole delicacy. Gonzales really is the Jambalaya Capital of The World.


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