When the French colonized New Orleans in the 1700’s they brought many of their traditions with them, including the lively celebration of Mardi Gras, which literally translates to “Fat Tuesday”. Mardi Gras is the final day of the Carnival season, a period of great indulgence.
New Orleans, or The Big Easy, as it is affectionately know, remains the unofficial U.S. home for the carnival season, featuring parades, rowdy celebrations and lots of sequins, beads, and fancy headgear. The the real center piece of the festivities may well be the fabulous food and thirst-quenching beverages.
Celebrating with a Mardi Gras at home is a unique way to break up the most blah part of the winter months. Try some of these food ideas on your menu during the Mardi Gras season:
The Beignet. Served during the breakfast hour, as well as a snack or dessert. These fried squares of dough are covered with confectioner’s sugar and delicious with a hot cup of coffee.
Fried Oyster Sandwich with Lemon Tartar Sauce. French bread and spicy cornmeal fried oysters. You can’t go wrong!
Fried Catfish. Very popular as a sandwich in New Orleans.
Cajun or Creole? You ask, what’s the difference? Cajun food is considered country cooking, and Creole food is more sophisticated style.
Jambalaya and Gumbo. Two of Louisiana’s most famous stews. There are two general varieties of gumbo: Creole, which generally contains shellfish, tomatoes, and flour to thicken and Cajun, which is darker and has more spice. This too may contain seafood or poultry. Gumbo is traditionally served over rice.
March is the perfect month to try a few of these delicious dishes to your menu. Happy Mardi Gras!
Source: AARP, Feb 2011.