Mardi Gras Jambalaya Night
Jambalaya blares through the speakers as everyone gears up for Mardi Gras night. The atmosphere’s light in the kitchen. Not to mistaken light as not intense or not devoted or not focused. But Kate’s off, Ewan’s in charge and the staff is smiling and singing.
The special is spicy jambalaya, which is why someone has taken it upon themselves to find all the possible covers of the song. Ranking’s decided by audible yays or moans.
The atmosphere isn’t lost on Ewan. Kate would have inhibited this. Right? Wrong? He didn’t know, but what he did know was that these people were far happier when she wasn’t there. She might be a brilliant chef, but she was hell to get along with.
While he might be from Scotland, he’d done enough training in New Orleans to understand the layers of a really good jambalaya and make it his own. Certainly, the heat was important, minimally, but thyme, cayenne, and garlic were his weapons. Some wielded smoky paprika, but he wasn’t a fan. Andouille should do the job, if it was good andouille. Oh, and who could forget texture? The last thing you wanted was flaccid rice. Or anything else. Huh. He grins. Wink. Wink.
Sous chef Karen sidles up alongside of him. She’s wearing some floral fragrance that makes him gag with its sweetness. Actually, maybe it’s Karen who makes him want to gag. She isn’t subtle with her intentions. Maybe he and Kate are on the rocks, but Karen would not be Kate’s replacement by a long shot.
“How about a drink later?” she asks. She’s deepened her voice, swells it with a tinge of a southern accent, not her own. Not when she’s from Camden. Someone must have told her it sounds sexy.
“No, I don’t think so,” he says.
Her bottom lip juts out in a pout. “Why not?”
He looks her intently in the eye, hoping she’ll get the message. “Because I’m a married man and I just don’t go for drinks with other women.”
“Your loss,” she says.
He shrugs. Who’s to say? He doesn’t think Karen is a loss. She’s good at her job. That’s all that’s necessary.
“We’re on,” Elise yells.
He nods. Hard focus for the next four hours.
Before I became vegetarian, this was my go-to jambalaya recipe. Very yum.
When I was a little kid, Justin Wilson’s “I guaranteeeeeee” was special. This recipe, to my eye, lacks on herbs or spice. But it’s probably real Cajun.
I will probably never try this recipe, but for those of you who are omnivorous, Paul Prudhomme’s jambalaya looks really good.
And a little musical jambalaya:
First Emmylou Harris and for anyone who knows old country music Rodney Crowell is right there with her.
And surely the original, Hank Williams: