Jam-ba-la-yah, Jombalyeah (1875)

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Mon Mar 12 22:34:57 UTC 2007

More worthwhiles article from NewsBank. There are many spelling for
"jambalaya," and I'll keep looking.
4 July 1875, New-Orleans Times, supplement, pg. 2:
--NOTE.--"Jam-ba-laya" is a favorite dish of the regular old Creole  cuisine.
It is composed first, of rice; then, large red beans; then, rice again;
then, smoked sausages; then more rice; then, ham; then, red peppers; rice again;
then chicken; more rice; then oysters; condiments _a discretion_; boil all
together--and eat. You'll be happy.
Maj. Wharton, of the Orleanian, has adopted the above title for his column
of odd paragraphs, and has given the recipe to indicate the characters of the
literary dish to be served up as an _olla prodrida_ (sic).
We have seen it spelled in French _jumbliade_; but the dish is of Indian
origin; nearly all of the old travelers describe it. It was originally made of
_zizania aquatica_, or wild rice, one of the native cereals of America, and of
several varieties of beans or _frijoles_ as the Mexican Indians call them.
The above spelling is a bold effort in the phonetic direction, but does not
quite come up to the popular pronunciation; we would spell it
To show that the Orleanian's recipe is not a fixed one, but that it is
variable to suit circumstances we will give our first introduction to this noted
In January, 1844, a party of twelve or fourteen of us had camped on Grand
River for several weeks hunting in the swamps of Western Louisiana; one half the
 party were Creoles, the other Americans with two mulattos who though slaves,
 stood on their hunter's rights and social equality and would cook only when
it  came to their turns in regular rotation.
it came out turn to cook and jombalyeeyah was voted as the next dish. It  was
night, and the dish must be ready before the day light. Under the
instruction of an experienced creole, we began preparations at once, to make a  dish we
had never heard of before.
A half gallon of washed rice was put into the largest camp kittle, and with
sufficient water to set to boiling, after a while, slices of fat pickled pork
were put in, at intervals, half fried pieces of bear meat, venison and ham
were  dropped in and well stirred; then a loggerhead turtle, and by and by three
owls,  tow wild ducks, a half dozen squirrels and five or six small cat fish
with  broken biscuit were put in, with an abundance of garlic onions, rd and
bleck  pepper, salt and leaves of sweet bay, for a high seasoning. A piece of
alligator  tail had been subscribed by one of the party but was indignantly
After thorough cooking the dish was served at early dawn, just as three
visitors, who came down the river in a skiff, were called in to take breakfast.
We have received many compliments in our day, but none were ever more deserved
or more grateful to our feelings, than the manner in which our first
jam-ba-ly-ee-yah was gobbled up and praised by those hungry hunters, without  regard
to race, color or previous conditions.
As the host of the day, we served all to their hearts' or stomachs'
contents, and then thought to try our own teeth on some owl, but found that it  had
all disappeared--not a vestige of three owls left.
30 September 1975, New-Orleans Times, pg. 8:
All these dishes resemble the celebrated Louisiana  Jombalyeah.
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