Mardi Gras!

Happy Mardi Gras, everyone! (and sorry for the late posting–dog emergency here, now taken care of…) Last week I talked about the vampire bar I want to open, and I’ve decided that every year we will have a Mardi Gras party, with a jazz band, Hurricanes, king cake, and costumes. And everyone here is invited! In the meantime, here are a few fun Mardi Gras facts you can tell people at a party tonight…..

–The roots of Mardi Gras are in the Roman festival of Lupercalia, which was held in mid-February every year to honor the god of fertility. It seems there was much drinking, feasting, and wild sex…

–The phrase “Fat Tuesday” might also arise from this festival, signifying the fatted calf that was paraded and sacrificed to the fertility god

–The roots of Mardi Gras in the US are a bit murky. Some say the French explorer d’Iberville brought it to Louisiana in 1699, while others say the first Mardi Gras was celebrated by French soldiers in Mobile, Alabama in 1703 (it was already a big Carnival tradition in Europe, especially France and Venice). Wherever it started, by 1803 it was firmly entrenched as a New Orleans tradition

–The first parade in the US was in 1837, with a grand total of one float

–The beaded necklaces didn’t come into play until the 1880s

–The Mardi Gras colors are purple (justice), green (faith), and gold (power)

–Everyone has to have a king cake for the holiday, with a little baby figure (Baby Jesus) baked in. Whoever finds the baby will have luck all year, and will have to bring the cake to next year’s party!

Here is a recipe for your very own king cake:

Ingredients

  • 3 (14 ounce) cans refrigerated sweet roll dough
  • 2 (12 fluid ounce) cans creamy vanilla ready-to-spread frosting
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 2 drops green food coloring
  • 2 drops yellow food coloring
  • 1 drop red food coloring
  • 1 drop blue food coloring
  • 1/2 cup multi-colored sprinkles

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease a baking sheet.
  2. Open the cans of sweet roll dough and unroll the dough from each can into 3 strands. Working on a clean surface, place 3 dough strands side by side and gather them together to make one large strand. Fold this in half, and roll slightly to make a fat log. Repeat steps with the remaining dough. Place each log on the prepared baking sheet and shape to make a ring, overlapping the ends and pinching them together to make a complete circle. Pat the dough into shape as necessary to make the ring even in size all the way around. Cover loosely with foil.
  3. Bake in preheated oven until firm to the touch and golden brown, 50 to 60 minutes. Check often for doneness so the ring doesn’t overbake. Place on a wire rack and cool completely.
  4. Place the cake ring on a serving plate. Cut a slit along the inside of the ring and insert a small plastic baby, pushing it far enough into the cake to be hidden from view.
  5. Divide the frosting evenly between 4 bowls. Stir 1 tablespoon of milk into each bowl to thin the frosting. Use the frosting in one bowl to drizzle over the cooled cake. To the remaining three bowls of frosting, stir yellow food coloring into one and green into another. Stir the red and blue food colorings together with the frosting in a third bowl to make purple frosting. Drizzle the cake with yellow, green, and purple frostings in any desired pattern. Dust the cake with multi-colored sprinkles and decorate with beads, additional plastic babies, curly ribbon, and other festive trinkets.

And here are some Hurricane recipes to go with the cake!

For more information on the history of Mardi Gras, take a look here

What are your plans for the holiday???

About Amanda McCabe/Laurel McKee

Writer (as Amanda McCabe, Laurel McKee, Amanda Carmack), history geek, yoga enthusiast, pet owner!
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