How caught up to you get in word definitions?  Do you feel the need to correct people?  Do you let it slide because it really doesn’t matter in the grand scheme of things?  Do you deliberately say things improperly just to see if your “friend” will correct you?  (This is one of my favorite games to play….you’ve been warned)

I say a lot of things wrong. (Stop looking surprised….or feigning a look of surprise.)   I either pronounce words wrong or say them in the wrong context.  (I just looked up context because I wasn’t confidence that it was the correct word.)  I sometimes just have trouble saying certain words and other times it is just a habit of saying the word wrong.  Like the words idea and ideal…I had a great idea for this blog but was afraid I’d flub up the ideal.  (Typing out words is much easier.)

I try not correct people but every now and then I find myself doing it especially when it comes to cooking or food terms.  I realize it is obnoxious but it just flies out of my mouth before I can stop myself.

One that comes to mind is bruschetta.  Most of us consider bruschetta a toasty thing with tomatoes and basil.  Wrong.  Technically, bruschetta is a grilled piece of bread with garlic, olive oil and salt.  You can put whatever you want on top of the bruschetta…tomatoes, eggplant, hummus, anchovies…the list goes on but it will still be a bruschetta.

This is a really fun situation to be in if we are out to eat together and the server says today’s special says the special appetizer is “bruschetta.”  My response usually is “What do you mean by that?”  And the response is usually an eye roll…by my dining companion.

This all came to mind this week when I made a “Cajun” dinner but didn’t know if it was a gumbo or was it a jambalaya….I honestly didn’t know what to call it.  I’m sure if I called it a gumbo, I’d get an email telling me it wasn’t a gumbo and if I called it jambalaya someone would tell me what I missed to officially call it a jambalaya.

I couldn’t risk it.  I had to learn the difference between gumbo and jambalaya…if not for myself but for the sake of mankind!!(That was little dramatic but given the way some people react to improper enunciations….I felt it was necessary!)

But it isn’t that simple because apparently, there are different types of jambalaya and different types of gumbos!!  (I guess it is like asking someone about chili…. the answers are endless.)  Both have veggies and protein but some include tomatoes and other regions wouldn’t hear of such things.  Both included a stock but it seems some regions make it differently depending on the base.

So what I learned is that I’m not sure I can come up with an answer besides a generalization that they are both popular dishes in Louisiana and made differently depending on where the chef is from or how he/she trained.  (It also made me think of spaghetti sauce….everyone makes it differently!)

The easy way to recognize the difference is that jambalaya is more of a casserole with a rice base (like a Cajun paella) and a gumbo is like a stew with okra and served WITH rice.

I made dinner the other day…and I thought it was a gumbo but it wasn’t.  Then I thought it was a jambalaya but it wasn’t that either.  Maybe I had to play it safe and just call it a Creole soup….would that be okay?

Creole Soup

10 ounces andouille sausage (removed from the casing)

1 red pepper, chopped (You could use green but I am not a fan of green)

1 small yellow onion, chopped

3 stalks of celery, diced

3 cloves of garlic, minced

1 tsp of “Cajun” seasoning

2 pounds roasted tomatoes, chopped

4 cups chicken broth

½ cup cooked long grain rice

Olive oil

Optional: cornbread


In a Dutch Oven, brown up andouille sausage.  Drain and set aside.

In the pot, swirl in about 1 Tbsp olive oil.

Cook onion, pepper and celery until soft but not mushy.

Add garlic and cook another minute.

Sprinkle with seasoning and cook another minute.

Add the tomatoes, broth and reserved sausage.

Simmer for about 20 minutes.

Right before serving add the cooked rice.

Serve in a big bowl with a little cornbread to sop up the juices.