OUR OPINION: Jambalaya on Bayou Francois

Staff Writer
Gonzales Weekly Citizen

We can’t help it.

When the Jambalaya Festival comes to Gonzales our blood starts pumping faster. We see visions of rows and rows of cast iron pots sitting on wood fires. There is a carnival in the background and music in the air.

Cooks circle the pots, stirring, tossing in carefully measured ingredients and saying their prayers.

All want to be crowned the World Champion Jambalaya Cook, the most coveted award to be won in these parts of the country. They know it takes great skill and a smile from Sister Luck to walk off with the championship trophy.

Some will say that standing around and watching a pot of jambalaya cook for hours is not the most exciting thing in the world to do. We have to agree. Skydiving is more exciting. But here is a little secret. The more times you watch a big pot cookoff, the more exciting it gets.

There are nuances to jambalaya cooking and common ground that all the cooks know, or are in the process of learning. You see a cook growing, progressing each time he competes until he feels that it is his turn and his name is sure to be called. Other times a cook will admit he has done everything he knows how to do to win, and may have even cooked the best pot of jambalaya of his life, and still his name is not called.

It takes great skill to be judged World Champion Jambalaya Cook, but ask any champ and he will tell you that a little luck goes a long way.

Make no mistake, cooking jambalaya on a wood fire is a skill that can be elevated to an art form.

In the championship pot one always finds a simple, everyman dish brought to a culinary level that a gourmet will swoon over.

Cooking drama, camaraderie, outdoor fun. The formula for a jambalaya festival sounds simple, but you won’t find anything like this festival anywhere else except Gonzales in Ascension Parish.

Whether the 42nd Annual Jambalaya Festival is your first visit, or 42nd visit, we know you will enjoy yourself.

See you there.