Firefighter’s Jambalaya

Today’s Musings:
An artifact formerly excavated…

Russell claimed his eyes were hazel, but I disagreed.  Russell is slightly colorblind, so  he’s never looked in a mirror and contemplated the nuances of his irises;  he’s relied on others’ interpretations.  I’m reminded of that parable about the three blind men and an elephant.  Perhaps, at one specific moment, on a particular day,  his eyes did appear hazel, but they are not so easily described.  Hazel is a catch-all category,  for those lacking the vocabulary to describe an iris’s shade in more, um, er, colorful terms.  Hazel eyes, by definition,  are a combination of green, brown, and golden hues, decidedly not the shade of Russell’s.  I’m the one with eyes of hazel – a drab olive green with rays of russet brown and a few flecks of ocher. When asked,  I liken their unremarkable color to dirty pond water. 

Russell’s eyes were grey – a light bluish slate. He dismissed my assessment, assuring me his driver’s license states differently and also insisting I’m the only person who has ever mentioned the smoke-hued mirrors beneath his lashes.  Has anyone else bothered to examine them closely, I wonder?  Their shade rippled, mutable, depending on his clothes or the light, shifting from pale sky to the faintest sage. I’m sure the silver from his hair held sway over these misty specters, as well.

When in the throes of passion or paroxysms of anger – states I witnessed in equal measure – these portholes to his psyche grew graphite dark,  like storm clouds just before the deluge.  When our romance still blossomed,  this kaleidoscope of shifting greys and blues and greens transfixed me; the emerging of a yet unobserved color arresting me mid-sentence with their beauty.  However, once his kindness drained away, replaced by indifference and contempt,  I was met with windows of the bleakest winter, two gravestones,  hard, cold, and unyielding grey as he seethed and accused. 

I examine images of his face now, looking deeply in eyes both right and left, trying to fathom how I was fooled – and only flat, blank, detached emptiness stares back at me.

Today’s Recipe:

Firefighter’s Jambalaya

This jambalaya is a hearty combination of sausage, ham, chicken, and shrimp that can feed a large family or small party.


  • 4 Tablespoons ( ½ stick) unsalted butter
  • 1 lbs. Andouille or smoked sausage, sliced
  • 1 lbs. ham steak, diced
  • 1 lbs. chicken thighs, skin, boned and diced
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 3 stalks celery, chopped
  • 1 green pepper, chopped
  • 4 scallions, sliced
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 c. rice, uncooked
  • 4 Tablespoons, flour
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 teaspoon thyme
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon white pepper
  • ½ teaspoon cayenne
  • ¼ teaspoon cumin
  • ¼ teaspoon allspice
  • 1 14 ½ oz. canned tomatoes, chopped
  • 8 cups beef stock
  • 2 lbs. raw shrimp, peeled and deveined


  1. Melt butter in a large, heavy, Dutch oven. Cook sausage, ham, and chicken until beginning to brown. Add onion, celery, green pepper and scallions and lightly brown. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, 30 minutes. Add rice and combined. Stir in flour and spices. Add canned tomatoes and stock. Bring to a boil, reduce and simmer until rice is cooked through, 35 – 45 minutes.
  2. Add shrimp and cook another 5-7 minutes until shrimp is cooked.


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