Monday, March 7, 2011

A Louisiana inspired meal for Mardi Gras

Several Catholic parenting books that I own suggest having a Mardi Gras celebration with your family at home. It can be a time to eat something special from which you might abstain during Lent, like dessert or ice cream. Others recommend burying the word Alleluia, since it is a word that is not said or sung during Lent. (For ideas on this custom, see this earlier post.) Still others recommend having a party, complete with gold, green and purple decorations and perhaps a craft like mask making.

In our family, the kids look forward to our "Pancake Tuesday" celebration on Mardi Gras. (You can find out more about it here.) But this year, I wanted to also have a bit of "Mardi Gras" fun and perhaps do a short geography lesson on New Orleans.

Our Louisiana inspired supper last night included Jambalaya, a salad and a Mardi Gras king cake.  It was a relatively easy meal to prepare!  You can find Jambalaya mixes in the rice section of many grocery stores; simply add shrimp or sausage and cook for about 20 minutes on the stove.

I discoverd this Kings Cake mix at my local Cost Plus World Market.  If you don't have one in your area, you can also buy the mix online at New Orleans Showcase website or the Mardi Gras Outlet website.

It makes a great tasting cake!  The box has alot of information about the traditions of the Mardi Gras cake, including the symbolism behind the green, gold and purple colored sugars used to decorate the cake.

The mix also includes the obligatory "plastic baby." The person who finds the baby is pronounced king of the celebration.

Finally, we added to our celebration by adding some New Orleans themed music. I played the Sounds of Bourbon Street CD, which can be purchased immediately in MP3 format from Amazon. (They also sell it in CD format.) Here is a link to it on their website:

Sounds of Bourbon Street

How do you celebrate Mardi Gras?  Have you found a way to mix the secular and religious aspects of the holiday?  I would love to hear about it; please share your ideas in the comments section!

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