As I hugged my sister Bec goodbye yesterday evening, the smell of jambalaya and gumbo still in the air and the dusting of powdered sugar from the beignets still on my jeans, we speculated as to why this particular gathering each year is so much fun.
“The delicious food?” I suggested.
“Maybe,” she said. “But I think it’s just because we get together for no other reason than to be together and enjoy one another.”
The gathering about which I am speaking is our annual Mardi Gras party. And when I say our, I mean Bec’s, because while we all contribute, she is the hostess with the mostess, and has to clean up all of the powdered sugar that I missed in my rudimentary counter wipe-down. Because you can’t cover hot beignets with powdered sugar without getting it places other than the beignets. She will likely be cleaning up powdered sugar until Easter.
As usual, Erik provided the bulk of the meal — his jambalaya and his gumbo, both of which were delicious…..
He makes enough to feed an army, which is a good thing, because that left enough for some of us to take a bit home for lunch tomorrow. While both were yummy, this year the gumbo hit the spot for me. Anyone who has made real gumbo recognizes the patience and skill it takes to make a roux that color.
Making its premier at Bec’s annual party were the beignets, those hot fried pieces of dough covered — COVERED — in powdered sugar. The treats were provided by Jessie, with some help from her dad (my brother David)….
Also making its debut at our Mardi Gras celebration were drinks called French 75. These amazing concoctions originated from the famous New Orleans’ restaurant Arnaud’s, and consist of gin, champagne, fresh lemon juice and something sweet. Josey used Agave nector. They were, in a word, yum….
But of course beignets aren’t quite enough dessert for us, because if there isn’t a King Cake, it isn’t Mardi Gras….
And where there is a King Cake, there must be a baby hidden within. Tradition has it that whoever gets the baby in his or her piece of cake (and manages not to choke on it) must host the next year’s Mardi Gras party. Since many of the cake partakers were under the age of 11, the tradition was tweaked so that the one getting the baby was instead crowned King or Queen of the party, with a scepter to prove his or her royalty. Queen Mackenzie Rose was the lucky winner, shown here with her scepter….
As for Jenna, she may not have gotten the baby, but she certainly is the proud wearer of the most beads….
We may not make it to New Orleans for Mardis Gras this year once again, but we certainly have our own kind of celebration.