While Louisiana eaters were pleased to see jambalaya on the menu for President Donald Trump’s first state dinner, at least a few of them questioned the appropriateness of making the iconic New Orleans dish with Carolina Gold rice.
A rack of spring lamb and Carolina Gold rice jambalaya “scented with the trinity of Cajun cooking—celery, peppers, and onions, and spiced with herbs from the South Lawn” were the centerpiece of a Tuesday night dinner for French President Emanuel Macron and French First Lady Brigette Macron. Despite Trump’s campaign threat to do away with state dinners in favor of conference table burgers, the menu also featured goat cheese cake and a nectarine tart.
Former Republican spokesman Alex Stroman, a University of South Carolina alum, tweeted that the rice was supplied by Columbia’s Anson Mills. The heirloom grain company could not confirm Stroman’s claim, although it did retweet it.
Carolina Gold rice was once grown widely in Louisiana, but the crop hasn’t been restored there to the same extent as in South Carolina. There’s no shortage of Louisiana rice, though: Among U.S. states, only California and Arkansas top its production.
“Carolina Gold rice is probably the best rice ever developed in America,” a Times-Picayune reader billed as Brittbabelsu wrote. “But it isn’t the right kind of rice for making jambalaya.”
Or as OldCarpenter put it, “This is just so wrong.”
Times-Picayune dining writer Todd Price, who posted the menu, says rice is the least of his worries.
“I’m more concerned about them using green bell peppers,” Price says. “And it doesn’t sound like that jambalaya has any pork.”