I know my itinerary says Southern India this week, but sometimes a little side trip is required.
In case you didn’t know, Mardi Gras was this week. And that deserves a food week of its own.
I didn’t lose my calendar- I know that Mardi Gras is over. Being Ash Wednesday today, the time for indulgences ended at midnight (seriously, exactly at midnight. It’s eerie that in NOLA that by 12:05 the streets are clear…anyway) to continue until Easter Sunday. My timing is admittedly horrible, but last night I got slammed by such a horrid flu-like ailment that I couldn’t sit up straight or think about food, let alone write about it. However, the fog has lifted enough for me tell you about the rest of the week before moving on back to Asia.
It may be a surprise to you to learn that I lived in New Orleans. For three and a half years, for grad school and part of law school, I called the Crescent City home. It doesn’t come up much in conversation because it’s not a city that particularly spoke to me. I existed there, but didn’t live there. For reference, I love Chicago. SO much. Chicago is the opposite in almost every way from New Orleans. I think you can see where I’m headed.
Photo courtesy of Lettuce
My time in New Orleans was memorable because of the people that I met- some of my closest friends came from that time in my life, but the charm and quaint nature of the city never swept me away. While I didn’t like it, I can appreciate why others do and will always qualify any assessment I may give as “It just wasn’t for me.”
When I lived in New Orleans, I lived in what I assumed was an old plantation mansion. It had been around since the mid-1800s, and was surprisingly still standing in 2004. The building was in total disrepair- cracked walls, peeling wallpaper, warped wood siding. However, its past grandeur was evident, and my apartment was kitchy and cool. Every year in the grand foyer, my landlord would erect a Christmas tree and leave it there through Easter, changing its decorations from a Christmas red and green to a Mardi Gras purple, green and gold. Make no mistake, by the time she took it down at Easter, it was dry, naked and ugly, but I appreciated that she made that small effort to make me and the other tenants feel at home.
My old house, 4032 Prytania
Photo courtesy of Gummi
The gist of the winding trip down memory lane is that I don’t forget Mardi Gras.
While Mardi Gras is typically associated with New Orleans, the rest of the world does a pretty fine job celebrating (and eating) as well. And these celebrations aren’t limited to only Catholics.
In Italy, large battles occur where participants throw oranges. Seems like a sad waste of an orange.
In Belgium, revelers dress as Gilles, who wear ostrich feathers on their heads.
Cologne, Germany, boasts the largest street festival in Europe. The fun times start on Women’s Thursday, when bars suspend hours, and women—according to an old tradition—roam the streets with scissors, cutting men’s ties. It all culminates with a huge parade on the Monday before Ash Wednesday (Rosenmontag). (Source, Travel and Leisure)
In Rio, the party is even bigger than in NOLA and that city hails the largest Carnival. And provides one of my dishes.
Given my bout with whatever ailed me this week, I’m sharing only a few recipes from my kitchen. However, I’ve provided some a link to recipes that sounded quite tasty to me. So, if you don’t make mine, make hers.
Photo courtesy of Lettuce
Check these out from The Brown Eyed Baker