Laissez Les Bons Temps Rouler!
Long before I became a New Englander I was a native of the south, specifically southern Florida. And as anyone who’s either lived in or even just visited the south can attest, no one throws a party better than a southerner (back me up here, Dayton). Because in the south a party isn’t just a party- it’s a balls-out drunken feeding frenzy of Bacchanalian proportion. I blame the heat.
It should come as no surprise that the southern party of the year, Mardi Gras, is celebrated in the party Mecca better known as New Orleans, Louisiana. French for “Fat Tuesday,” Mardi Gras reflects the practice of the last night of eating richer, fatty foods before the ritual fasting of the Lenten season.
Fat Tuesday, my friends, just happens to be today.
It is a tradition on Fat Tuesday to bake a very elaborate dessert called a King Cake. The king cake of the Louisiana tradition comes in a number of styles. The most simple, said to be the most traditional, is a ring of twisted cinnamon roll-style dough topped with icing or sugar, usually colored purple, green, and gold (the traditional Mardi Gras colors) with food coloring. King cakes may also be filled with additional foodstuffs- the most common being cream cheese, praline, cinnamon, or strawberry.
“Traditionally, a small plastic or porcelain baby is hidden into the king cake. It is usually green, gold, or purple to represent the colors of the holiday. Originally, the baby was placed into the cake to symbolize baby Jesus. Fava beans were also used to represent Jesus.
Today, the baby symbolizes luck and prosperity to whoever finds it in his/her slice of cake. In some traditions, the finder of the baby is designated “king” or “queen” for the evening. That person is also responsible for purchasing next year’s cake, or for throwing the next Mardi Gras party.”
There is a Reapers story in there somewhere, I know it.
Instead of this complicated treat I am going to pass along my new favorite recipe by fellow blogger Eggton called “Kanye West’s Apple Butter Cake Idea.” This is truly one of the best cakes I’ve ever had and is infinitely easier to make than a King Cake. Pair it with Eggton’s decadent derby girl ice cream or heavenly Almond Joy ice cream and you’ve got a dessert combination worthy of Mardi Gras. I’m getting “Fat” just thinking about it.
For those of you buried under an avalanche of snow, this southern tradition is the perfect treat for a bit of heat. So put down your shovels and let the good times roll!
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