Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Mardi Gras And Shrove Tuesday

Today is Mardi Gras or Shrove Tuesday, the last day of celebration before Lent. It's a time of revelry and enjoying egg and butter rich foods before forty days of fasting. This is a time for pancakes too, thanks to the tradition of Shrove Tuesday. It's a celebration whatever is made today.

For some Mardi Gras means gumbo. This is an easy cook, a fun stew made with shrimp and andouille sausage along with the holy trinity of Cajun cooking - celery, onions and bell peppers.Okra which gives the dish its' African name is added along with tomatoes and tomato paste. It's a great meal for a dinner party too because of its' ease of serving. The dish is ladled over rice and served. Etouffee is a Cajun dish eaten throughout New Orleans at this time. It has another Cajun and Creole staple - seafood. Crawfish is usually used but shrimp can subbed in along with crab. It's called a smothered dish because it's ladled over rice which helps balance  the dish's fieriness. Again it's an easy make, using the usual ingredients found in the cuisine along with cayenne and hot sauce. A sweeter Mardi Gras treat is King Cake, a brioche type ring cake decorated with Mardi Gras colors and containing a trinket. They can be bought on line, if you're far from Lousiana or you can make it at home. It's basically a cinnamon coffee bread rich with butter and eggs., then topped with a confectioner's sugar icing. Purple, green and gold, Mardi Gras colors are sprinkled on top

Another name for the day is Shrove Tuesday or Pancake day. Big in Britain and in Slavic countries like Poland housewives are supposed to use up all the butter and fat along with milk and eggs before Lent starts. Pancakes also symbolize the pillars of Christianity, eggs for creation, flour for the mainstay of human life,  salt for wholesomeness and milk for purity.There are races in Britian , with
the tradition starting in 1445.A housewife cooking pancakes heard her local church calling all to
church and ran to Mass, still flipping pancakes to prevent them from burning. All of the UK participate in this annual event, including William and Kate. Pancakes are one of the easiest dishes to make This simple dish can be jazzed up for the holiday with the addition of walnuts and pecans along with a fat pat of bourbon butter, Bourbon can also be added to maple syrup too. For a more sophisticated take,try crepes for Shrove Tuesday or even for meatless Lenten Fridays.The recipe is sort of like the pancake but the butter is melted first.It also helps to chill the batter for an hour before cooking for a crisper crepes It only takes two minutes to cook it on both sides.

Mardi Gras or Shrove Tuesday  is a day of fun eating before the fasting of Lent. Enjoy it with either a bowl of gumbo ,a slice of King Cale or a stack of pancakes or crepes.. Celebrate with good food.

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