Mardi Gras means fat Tuesday, the culmination of the season between Christmas and Lent. Fat Tuesday falls on the day before Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent. During the 46-day Lent period, many Christians forego the eating of meat, either completely or on Fridays. They also traditionally give up a favored food, drink, or habit. Fat Tuesday is a last chance party excuse before a six-week period of abstinence, and residents of New Orleans, Louisiana, are famous for their Mardi Gras celebrations and parades.
What's the difference between Cajun and Creole food?New Orleans is famous for Cajun and Creole foods, so it's no wonder that those who celebrate Mardi Gras concentrate on these foods for their Fat Tuesday parties. What's the difference between Cajun and Creole foods? This is a question that is hotly debated. The two cuisines are confusingly intertwined and defy definition. Famous chef, restauranteur, and author Paul Prudhomme, father of the blackening technique, makes an attempt to differentiate the two. He describes Cajun food as country cooking, whereas Creole food is more elegant and sophisticated, city cooking so to speak.
King Cake history and traditionNo Mardi Gras celebration is complete without a King Cake, also known as Twelfth Night Cake. This cake is actually a sweetened yeast bread, usually baked in a ring shape. The cake is frosted with gold, green, and purple icing representing in order, power, faith, and justice. The traditional colors on the King Cake date back to 1872. They were taken from a prominent parade group, called a krewe. Although this cake is colorful and tasty, the real fun hides within the cake.
The maker of each King Cake hides a token in the cake. The tokens used are a dried red bean or a figurine of a baby, representing the Christ child. When the cake is cut and shared, the finder of the hidden treasure is said to enjoy good luck for the coming year. The lucky recipient may also be expected to bake the King Cake or throw the Mardi Gras party for the following year.
As they say in New Orleans, Laissez les bon temps rouler, or Let the good times roll!
Mardi Gras Recipes
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