Mardi Gras Recipes and Food

Creole and Cajun foods are favorites for Mardi Gras parties

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Mardi Gras King Cake. © 2009 Peggy Trowbridge Filippone, licensed to About.com, Inc.

Mardi Gras means fat Tuesday, the culmination of the season between Christmas and Lent. Fat Tuesday falls on the day before Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent. During the 46-day Lent period, many Christians forego the eating of meat, either completely or on Fridays. They also traditionally give up a favored food, drink, or habit. Fat Tuesday is a last chance party excuse before a six-week period of abstinence, and residents of New Orleans, Louisiana, are famous for their Mardi Gras celebrations and parades.

What's the difference between Cajun and Creole food?

New Orleans is famous for Cajun and Creole foods, so it's no wonder that those who celebrate Mardi Gras concentrate on these foods for their Fat Tuesday parties. What's the difference between Cajun and Creole foods? This is a question that is hotly debated. The two cuisines are confusingly intertwined and defy definition. Famous chef, restauranteur, and author Paul Prudhomme, father of the blackening technique, makes an attempt to differentiate the two. He describes Cajun food as country cooking, whereas Creole food is more elegant and sophisticated, city cooking so to speak.

King Cake history and tradition

No Mardi Gras celebration is complete without a King Cake, also known as Twelfth Night Cake. This is actually a sweetened , usually baked in a ring shape. The cake is frosted with gold, green, and purple icing representing in order, power, faith, and justice.

The traditional colors on the King Cake date back to 1872. They were taken from a prominent parade group, called a krewe. Although this cake is colorful and tasty, the real fun hides within the cake.

The maker of each King Cake hides a token in the cake. The tokens used are a dried red bean or a figurine of a baby, representing the Christ child.

When the cake is cut and shared, the finder of the hidden treasure is said to enjoy good luck for the coming year. The lucky recipient may also be expected to bake the King Cake or throw the Mardi Gras party for the following year.

As they say in New Orleans, Laissez les bon temps rouler, or Let the good times roll!

More Cajun & Creole Recipes: 

•  Cajun Spice Mix
•  Chicken Gumbo (Pressure Cooker)
•  Coconut Beer Shrimp with Sweet & Tangy Sauce
•  Crab Boil Spice Mix
•  Crab Gumbo
•  Crawfish Etouffee
•  Crawfish Mashed Potatoes
•  Crawfish-Stuffed Artichokes with Lagniappe
•  Crayfish Spread
•  Creole Christmas Fruitcake with Whiskey Sauce
•  Creole Gumbo
•  Creole Mustard
•  Creole Olive Salad
•  Creole Rice
•  Creole Seasoning (Emeril)
•  Creole Spice Blend Mix
•  Creole Spice Mix
•  Crocialles (Beignets)
•  Deep-Fried Turkey
•  Easy Mardi Gras King Cake
•  Easy Mardi Gras King Cake - Step by Step in Photos
•  Jambalaya Fettuccine
•  Kicked-Up Fried Calamari
•  Lighter Jambalaya
•  Lean Andouille Sausage
•  Maque Choux Corn
•  Mardi Gras King Cake
•  Mignon Salmon with Roulade Corn and Black Bean Relish
•  Mock Turtle Soup
•  Pecan Date Loaf Cake
•  Potluck Gumbo
•  Saffron Crawfish Risotto
•  Sausage Rice Jambalaya
•  Smoked Pork
•  Seafood Soup (Bourride a la Toulonaise)
•  Wild Turkey Wild Turkey
•  Yam Biscuits