The first time I tried to make my mama’s jambalya, it went horribly wrong. No matter what I did, I couldn’t get the rice to cook. It remained al dente, and rice is not a thing that is ever good “to the bite.” In desperation, I packed up the entire pot and drove over to Mama and Daddy’s house (they thankfully lived in town at the time) and plunked it on the stove. “Fix it,” I demanded.
Turns out I’d misread my mother’s handwritten recipe and hadn’t added enough water. Or I’d added too much rice. Whichever. I learned forever the rice to liquid ratio and never committed that culinary faux pas again.
Mama’s recipe is actually Grandma’s recipe. I do make jambalaya other ways, but this is the way I had it growing up and it always makes me feel a bit nostalgic. It means the world to me that I have this recipe written out in Mama’s handwriting for now and for always. When I asked her why the rice needed to be rinsed three times, she said, “I don’t know. That’s the way Mama did it.”