Jambalaya – History And Fun Facts

Hank Williams

Country star Hank Williams released his recording of “On the Bayou” in July, 1952, and it reached number one on the country charts.  Some of the lyrics are “Jambalaya, Crawfish Pie, File Gumbo … son of a gun, we’ll have big fun on the bayou …”

So what the heck IS Jambalaya?  And what the heck does the name mean?  And what the heck are the origins of this quintessential South Louisiana dish?

Hang on!  I got you covered!  Jambalaya is a spicy, mouthwatering dish that tickles your taste buds.  It is basically a rice dish, mixed with whatever meats you have on hand – chicken, sausage, shrimp, ham – your choice!  Saute the meats, and  chop up some onions, bell pepper and celery.  Saute the vegetables as well, add chicken stock and the rice.  Sprinkle with whatever spices you like.  Recipes are endless – make it your own!

So, where does the name come from?  Glad you asked!  It comes from a local dialect of the Provence area of France.  Being quite historical, it goes all the way back to the year 1837, when the word first appeared in a poem.  It means mish-mash or mix-up, and indeed, that is what you do when you make Jambalaya.

Further origins lie within the immigration patterns of the Spanish, who were in control of the city during their occupation back in 1763-1801.  African immigrants as well played a part by introducing rice to Spain.

I hope you enjoyed learning about Jambalaya.  If you have comments or questions, please feel free to contact me.