A few Louisiana political officials delighted in calling “fake food” on President Donald Trump.
But that humorous claim was undermined Friday when Baton Rouge U.S. Sen. Bill Cassidy showed a national audience on Fox Business Network that he had no clue how to make jambalaya, one of Louisiana’s most ubiquitous dishes at festivals, church fairs, fundraisers, and meetings.
White House chefs served what they called jambalaya on top of which they placed a rack of lamb at last week’s state dinner for French President Emmanuel Jean-Michel Frédéric Macron. (Jambalaya evolved out of efforts to recreate paella using local ingredients when the Spanish military arrived in 1763 after winning Louisiana, which they renamed New Spain, as a spoil of war with France.)
If there are any issues on which Republican Cassidy and Democratic Gov. John Bel Edwards can find agreement it’s that however tasty the rice dish, it was indeed “fake jambalaya,” to use the words of Stuart Varney, a Fox commentator who rarely criticizes the president. (Edwards and his wife sat with U.S. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin and his wife at the dinner.)
An Illinois native who moved to Louisiana as a child and grew up about 20 minutes from the Jambalaya Capital of the World, Gonzales, Cassidy told a national audience: “I’m not sure there was a roux within that jambalaya. And as everyone back home knows, first you make a roux, r-o-u-x. And that is upon which you base your jambalaya. I’m not sure I tasted a roux.”
Watch the Fox interview here.
He correctly explained for a chuckling Varney that a roux is made by browning flour in oil. Then Cassidy again said, “You use that as your base to put your rice.”
Actually, what most people back home know is that while roux is used in gumbo, étouffée and many other dishes, it is not used to make jambalaya.