Tuesday, April 7, 2009

A Brief, Inaccurate History of Jambalaya

  • 14/15th C--New World is discovered
  • 1694--rice arrives in South Carolina, probably originating from Madagascar *
  • 17th C--Spanish and French colonists settle in pre-Louisiana, subsequent generations are known as Creole
  • mid 19th C--rice is cultivated in Southern US *
  • 1849--first occurrence of the term jambalaya in print in English *
  • 1878--Jambalaya appears in The Gulf City Cook Book, by the Ladies of the St. Francis Street Methodist Episcopal Church (South Mobile, Alabama) *
  • Circa 1988--Bill Gunter eats jambalaya in Bruff cafeteria at Tulane University
  • 1992-1993--Armed with Paul Prudomme cookbook, Bill makes use of his bachelor pad kitchen to develop mad jambalaya skills
  • 1994--Bill takes jambalaya to church picnic; Sharon Lamb eats large portion and takes more home
  • 1995-1998--Sharon and Bill (now married) periodically have jambalaya dinner parties, as it's as easy to make jambalaya for 12 as for 2. Okay, it's impossible to make jambalaya for two.
  • 2002-2007--Jambalaya dinners morph into Annual Mardi Gras Food Fest with the addition of more dishes (red beans and rice, crayfish étouffée, boudin rolls and king cake)
  • March 7, 2009--Sharon and Bill host resurrected Mardi Gras party (albeit belated) in Dublin
*see Wikipedia

As I mentioned on the menu, while the terms Cajun and Creole have distinctions for some, most folks use them interchangeably. You can find jambalaya in Dublin, but we haven't tried it. After an unfortunate Cajun chicken wrap incident, I'm wary. Like "Tex-mex," we've found the term Cajun applied to any vaguely spicy dish. Ah well.

The concept of Mardi Gras partying is not well known in Dublin either. Shrove Tuesday is celebrated as Pancake Day. Not a bad thing at all. Although I think we were among the few having American-style pancakes on Pancake Day. Pancakes here usually means crepes. Again, not a bad thing.

Since I knew I wouldn't find Mardi Gras decorations in Dublin, I contacted Heather of Party Imports (really just my awesome friend Heather) and she shipped us a package of masks, beads and other purple, gold and green decorations. Thanks, Heather!

We had eleven people over for a tasty meal of Chicken and Sausage Jambalaya, Shrimp Creole, and Mini-Muffaletta. Bill made the boudin this year, and we made boudin balls rather than boudin rolls. We couldn't find wanton wrappers and spring roll wrappers just aren't the same. The boudin balls were a hit, served with Zatarain's Remoulade. The best remoulade! And of course, Bill made King Cake!


I forgot to take pictures before we ate everything; above is a shot that's trying to pretend the King Cake is still whole, and a picture of our leftover boudin and shrimp creole the next day.

Thanks, Bill for making such a delicious meal for all of us!














Note: Not all our attendees are pictured. Not a good night for my photography skills!

2 comments:

Jered said...

I feel almost famous to have been part of the "2002-2007" part of that timeline!

mom Gunter said...

Oh! I love this post and the pictures are WONDERFUL!!!!!!!!!!!!!