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Traditional Mardi Gras/Carnivale Recipes

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I am hosting a Mardi Gras themed fundraiser on March 8. The event will include several food stations representing Carnivale from around the world. I have searched the internet for traditional Mardi Gras/Carnivale recipes and can find little suggestions beyond the New Orleans faire, which will certainly be represented but not solely.

Any ideas?

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  1. You might want to post on the New Orleans board, but I grew up and lived in NO for about 30 years and other than an increase in alcohol consumption, the diet during Mardi Gras was pretty much the same as the rest of the year. The tourists drink mass quantities of hurricanes, so maybe you could include that (although it's a rather lame drink, seldom consumed by the natives). Bottom line is Mardi Gras is not about food.

    1. I agree with Zeldog that you might not find much about food. I've been to Quebec's winter carnival twice, and can't recall the food at all. I'm sure we ate some poutine, but I that's because it was Quebec, not Mardi Gras. Same story when I attended carnival in St. Vincent and the Grenadines where I ate roti and drank rum from a coconut shell - again, because it was SVG...
      In Baton Rouge, we always had a Mardi Gras brunch on the Saturday prior (when a big parade ran through our neighborhood) and served a huge pot of red beans and rice, bloody marys with pickled okra, and of course, several king cakes. after the parade, someone in the neighborhood held the (usually) first crawfish boil of the season.
      Mamou, Louisiana celebrates by making a community-wide gumbo that features chickens collected by men on horseback from people throughout the town.

      1. You can't have Mardi Gras without a king cake!

        1 Reply
        1. re: yfunk3

          Made w/ brioche from Dorie Greenspan's Baking from my home to yours.

        2. In areas with large Polish communities, particularly in the Midwest, Fat Tuesday (or Thursday) is called Pączki Day after the donuts Catholics make to use up all the lard, sugar and cream which would otherwise be forbidden after Ash Wednesday. Communities with a German presence call the same rich donuts Fastnachts. Other groups use up forbidden ingredients by making pancakes just before Lent. I fall into the latter group and usually have a pancake dinner on Shrove Tuesday with crepes, moo shu, blintzes and regular flapjacks.

          In general carnivale cuisine is heavier and richer in meat than typical fare. Brazilians might make feijoada and bolos. Italians would make huge lasagne and cannoli. Last year I hosted a party based off this thread: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/685263 We focused largely on NOLA fare but there were salume platters, Scotch eggs and other meaty items that might not be Cajun but were still very appropriate for carnivale.

          1. Check any good Russian cookbook--or internet resource--for Butter Week

            2 Replies
            1. re: hazelhurst

              Eastern Orthodox shift to the Lenten fasting period in 2 steps. First is Meatfare Sunday, the last day of eating meat. The next Sunday is Cheesefare. So meals in that week between is heavy on the dairy.
              http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cheesefa...

              1. re: paulj

                As you no doubt know, adhering to the Eastern Orthodox rules is a helluva job...most of the stuff that I have seen just uses butter week as a gneric term. Obvious---as is true along a lto of northern latitudes---pancakes abound.. But if the OP wants to go All The Way, you're right...I suspect we are only looking for a tip of teh hat toward the season throughout the Xstian world.

            2. Emeril's website has a ist of NO foods that probably appear on many tables during Mardi Gras.
              http://www.emerils.com/recipes-prepar...

              In the past I've made Dirty Rice, Jambalaya (I like Virginia Willis's recipe best),
              Black Beans and Sausage, Oven Fried Chicken, Stuffed Peppers, Bloody Marys and beer for drinks. Actually anything typically Creole or Cajun would go well.

              1. I once made Bloody Marys on a Stick for a Mardi Gras party - it's impossible to overimbibe, but they're good. I'm not sure it would be feasible for a large crowd, but if you have help? Oh, well, if you don't, try it at another occasion. Dunk a few pints of cherry tomatoes into boiling water for just a few seconds, then pop them into ice water. Slip the skins on them, and drop into a bowl of room temp vodka. Once you get them all into the bowl, refrigerate. You can do this far in advance. Then you just platter them up with a mound of kosher salt in the middle of the platter. Several shot glasses of frilled toothpicks on the side. Use the tomatoey vodka for real bloody marys. And, yes, you gotta have a gumbo. Chicken and sausage is traditional in my family.

                1. Thanks for all of the responses. Yes, it is fairly easy to find NO Mardi Gras recipes. In addition to these, I am hoping to find ideas from other countries, cities, etc where there is a strong history of Carnivale/Mardi Gras. These are some great ideas - many thanks.

                  1. The wikipedia entry for carnival lists blood oranges, pork, roast beef, and a gorgeous sounding prinjolata from Malta "which is a towering assembly of sponge cake, biscuits, almonds and citrus fruits, topped with cream and pine nuts", pancakes and much more pork.
                    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carnival

                    But I'm happy in our little rut of pork loin, jambalaya and gallons of hurricanes.