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Jambalaya cooks Ted Deutch in Press Club Bee

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Here’s a word Rep. Ted Deutch won’t soon forget: Jambalaya.

The Boca Raton Democrat was the last politician standing at the annual Politicians vs. Press Spelling Bee in Washington, D.C. last week. The annual competition benefits the National Press Club’s Journalism Institute which, among other things, awards scholarships to the next generation of journalists.

Deutch made it to Round 12, successfully spelling words like Des Moines (the capital of Iowa); permafrost (a layer of soil that is always frozen in very cold regions of the world); pecuniary (relating to or in the form of money); and bandicoot (any of very large rats … of southern Asia destructive to crops).

But jambalaya, one of New Orleans’ most famous meals, tripped him up.

“Um, jambalaya,” he said after the pronouncer gave him his word. “What is the definition of jambalaya?”

“Jambalaya is rice cooked with ham, sausage, chicken, shrimp or oysters and usually tomatoes and seasoned with herbs,” reads the pronouncer.

“For the record, I eat none of those ingredients,” says Deutch before taking a stab at spelling it.

“Jambalaya … G … NO,” he shouts before jumping back in front of the microphone. “It’s J-A-M-B-A-L-A-Y-A. Jambalaya!”

Deutch quickly took to Twitter to defend himself, joking “OK I choked on the word jambalaya. Not surprising. Did I mention I’m a vegan? Fun night anyway!”

Art Swift from Gallup won the annual spelling bee for the journalists, correctly spelling apothecary (a person who prepared and sold medicines in past times).

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