Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Fat Tuesday

Today is Fat Tuesday, the end of the annual celebration of Mardi Gras in New Orleans, Louisiana. The celebration of Mardi Gras actually begins on or around the Epiphany in January and is celebrated until the Tuesday before Ash Wednesday. It was named "Fat Tuesday" because party-goers typically eat richer, fatty foods before having to fast for Lent.

To host your own Fat Tuesday party tonight, here are a few Mardi Gras staples that you will need:
A drink made famous at Pat O'Brien's Bar in New Orleans that no Mardi Gras celebration is without. For recipes, go here or here.

A traditional Creole dish that just warms your insides up! And you don't have to go all the way to N'awlins to get it. Your local grocery store has the best - Zatarain's - to whip up a batch of Southern cookin' at its finest! Their dirty rice and gumbo are also favorites of mine.

Made famous by Cafe du Monde, these French, heavenly squares of buttery fried dough and five pounds of powdered sugar are a simple but delicious dessert. You can order online, and if you are lucky, sometimes you can find boxes of the beignet mix at your local grocery.

King Cake
No Mardi Gras celebration is complete without a King Cake. Originally created as part of the Epiphany celebration in honor of the 3 Kings coming to visit Baby Jesus, this cake is typically a cinnamon rolled pasty dough ring, covered with icing and sugar in the colors of Mardi Gras. The cake also features a miniature plastic baby baked inside, which is said to bring good luck. To make your own King Cake, the famed New Orleans chef Emeril Lagasse has a recipe. Or you can always order online from an authentic New Orleans bakery here, here, here, or here.

No Mardi Gras party is complete without bucket-loads of beads. These can be found at any major party supply store. If you are looking for bigger beads or fancy strands, check out these online suppliers here and here.

And to complete the festivities, there is nothing better than some good New Orleans Jazz!

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For more information on Mardi Gras and next years festivities, please visit the Mardi Gras New Orleans website.

Laissez Les Bon Temps Rouler!

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