The day before a 40 day fast calls for celebration, indulgence, and food, which is how Mardi Gras came to be. Fat Tuesday is the day to go “all out” because come Ash Wednesday the sacred time of cleansing and reflection begins.The English translation of the French “Mardi Gras” means “Fat Tuesday” so it makes sense that food-lovers use this holiday to get celebratory in the kitchen. Whether you observe Lent or not, the cuisine of Mardi Gras is a reason to celebrate.
Most food cooked on Mardi Gras is from the Creole tradition, a rustic, French-inspired cuisine that is the heart of Southern — specifically, New Orleans’ — culinary culture. Luckily, Creole cuisine contains some of the most decadent kinds of food: savory rice dishes with Cajun flavors and tender meat falling off the bone, fried fish, fried dough, and fried oysters — did we mention some of these foods are fried? You get the idea! As Mardi Gras approaches, prepare to satisfy all of those food cravings that have boiled up.
Perhaps one of the most well known of Mardi Gras dishes is the signature stew, gumbo. A dish of many varieties, the traditional New Orleans style is made with seafood. Try Creole Seafood Gumbo if you care to celebrate with a big pot of sizzling shrimp, tender crabmeat, and tons of spiced vegetables, including okra. The great thing about this recipe, as with all gumbo recipes, is that it’s freeform — you can add or eliminate as you please. Improvise and have fun!
Click on the Slide Show to see the Top Ten Recipes for Mardi Gras. Nothing says Mardi Gras or Southern-style cooking quite like Baby Buttermilk Beignets. Everyone loves to celebrate with something sweet, and this recipe makes just the thing — a scrumptious fried fritter, dusted with powdered sugar. Beignets can be savory too, but this recipe keeps with tradition. Meant for dessert, these beignets are so good you might sneak a bite before dinner makes it way to the table. It will leave you wanting more, which is convenient because the recipe serves 12.