2.24.20

Celebrate Mardi Gras with a taste of something delicious

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Assorted color Mardi Gras masks
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Find out what Mardi Gras is and discover five recipes to celebrate this festive day.

Do you know what Mardi Gras is really about? There’s more to this rich cultural tradition than parades, beads and parties. Today, we look at the origins of Mardi Gras and explore some of its yummy culinary treats.

Why is it called “Mardi Gras” and what is it?

Mardi Gras is French for Fat Tuesday. It falls the day before Ash Wednesday, the start of the Christian season of Lent. Lent is a period of 40 days of preparing for Easter that traditionally included the practice of fasting. Today, many people restrict certain foods or activities in observance of Lent rather than fast.

Fat Tuesday is the day when observers of Lent enjoy rich, fatty foods that become off-limits for the next six weeks.

Mardi Gras goes back thousands of years but the celebrations we know today go back a couple hundred years. According to History.com, U.S. celebrations began in 1827 when students wearing colorful costumes danced through the streets of New Orleans. They were imitating celebrations they’d seen in France. By 1857, parades with marching bands and rolling floats took hold and are still celebrated today.

Signature foods for celebrating Mardi Gras

While Louisiana is the only state where Mardi Gras is a legal holiday that doesn’t stop the rest us from celebrating! No matter where you find yourself on Fat Tuesday, you can share the tastes of celebration. Here are five recipes to try.

Mardi Gras King Cake—decorated with the traditional colors of Mardi Gras (purple, green and gold) and baked with a small plastic baby or dried red bean hidden inside. Traditions vary about the honor that goes to the person who gets the baby or bean. Some say it symbolizes luck, others say it means that person has to buy or make the cake next year.

French Quarter Beignets—this deep-fried donut-like treat pairs well with a cup of coffee or glass of milk.

Creole Gumbo is a New Orleans classic. If you don’t care for okra, try Cajun Jambalaya prepared with Emeril’s Essence Creole Seasoning; it’s a hit with everyone who likes a one-pot meal and those who savor spicy goodness.

Bourbon Milk Punch is a delight before or after a meal, or with brunch.

Laissez les bons temps rouler! (Let the good times roll!)

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