Thursday, February 24, 2011

Speaking of Mardi Gras...

I was in New Orleans last week and had a grand ole time!  I was there with cousins from all over the country.  While we were there, we met up with a family friend and her boyfriend.  They both are in Med School in New Orleans (She is an implant from San Diego, and he is a N.O. native) and they were our tour guides for the weekend.  Basically, they rule.

While having a nice meal in their apartment, they presented us with a King’s Cake for dessert.   

I have never heard of King’s Cake until I moved to Mobile.  I have seen them around lately, since we are approaching Mardi Gras, but I thought it was just a regular cake that you decorate for any holiday, like a birthday cake, Valentine’s day cake, congratulations on your 12th marriage cake, or any one of these.  

No no no, my friends! This cake is different.  On the outside, it is decorated with the traditional Mardi Gras colors, but on the inside, hidden within the deliciousness, there is a bean and a baby.  For all you readers who are not familiar with this, I will give you an extra second to re-read that last sentence…..Yep, you read right, a bean and a BABY!  There is a BABY. INSIDE of the cake.  But this is not just any miniature baby in the cake.  Its baby Jesus.  Yeah.  That’s right.  Imagine my confusion.  I am handed a delicious looking piece of cake, but it may have baby Jesus in it.  Am I supposed to eat baby Jesus if I find it in my cake?  As for the bean, that doesn’t sound nearly as weird, so I just let that one slide. 

Upon voicing my concerns, I was told that mini plastic baby Jesus is there to symbolize some religious/cultural meaning.  I had way too many questions to be answered, so when I got home I did some research.  Here’s the deal: 
  •  Pre-Christianity, there were Pagans. Every year, they would choose a tribal king.  He was treated like royalty (literally) and then when it was time to celebrate the harvest, they would sacrifice the king, returning his blood to the soil in hopes for a successful harvest.  
  • They chose the king by making a cake for all of the men (Hence “King’s” cake).  They hid a bean inside the cake.  If you found the bean, you were the next king (YAY!), and the next sacrifice (Dangit).
  • Later, Christianity takes over.  They weren’t feelin’ the whole sacrifice thing, so they got rid of that tradition, but kept the tradition of the cake.  They decided that the king’s cake now represents the Three Kings who came to visit baby Jesus.
  • So what happens if you find the hidden trinkets in the cake?  You are designated the King or Queen of the night, and instead of being sacrificed, you get to host the Mardi Gras party next year!  Lucky, you!
P.S:  Don't eat baby Jesus.  

Friday, February 18, 2011

Mardi Gras Ball

Mardi Gras in Mobile is a big deal.  Unbeknownst to most, Mobile is where Mardi Gras started in the United States!  Every year there are parades, balls, and the schools and some businesses are even closed for two days to honor the holiday, SWEET!

Jaron and I were invited to one of these Mardi Gras balls a few weeks ago.  Usually these balls are VERY fancy – tuxedos, bowties, and floor length gowns, but we were told that this one is a little more casual, so we said why not!  (Don’t kill me, but I forgot to charge my camera…I was so mad at myself!) We were also told to bring our own drinks.  I was thinking, how the heck were we supposed to walk in with booze to a ball?  Cinderella would never!  

So we get all dolled up, finally get there and the place is packed!  Everyone is dancing and having a ball (see that play on words I did there – I’m that cool), then I notice that every single wall in the place is lined with coolers!  Now let’s just say that not a single person felt the need to be at all reserved.   Men and women, ages 21ish-100ish were breakin’ it dowwwwn.  They were shakin’, movin’ and groovin’ and I was loving it!  Nobody seemed to care what anyone thought.  People had neckties around heads, mixed drinks in bags (similar to the way juice used to come on our lunch trays growing up), shoes off, and were having pure fun. 

Seeing this made me first think, “This is NOT what I was expecting in a Mardi Gras ball”, but then we realized how much fun everyone was having and it made our group quite comfortable, so we joined these crazies on the dance floor and danced, sipped, and sang the night away.  

Maybe it was a good thing I didn’t have my camera.
Happy Mardi Gras!

Friday, February 11, 2011

I'm in Love...

Valentine's Day Edition

So far, my favorite thing about living in The South has to be the barbecue.  I was never a fan of it all when living in South Florida, but now I realize that is because, quite frankly, that stuff just ain’t real BBQ, y’all.   I’m in love.

Currently, our favorite place is The Shed.  The story behind this place is awesome.  And its called The Shed because, well, it looks like this:

We love this place so much, but that’s going to need to be a whole other post in itself.
Anyway, Jaron just sent me an email notifying me that we are attending this:

You mean to tell me that all of the best BBQ from The South is getting together to make their best of the best? And more importantly give out samples!!??  I don’t even know what Hog Wild means, but I’m SO in.  

Jaron really knows the way to my heart.  Happy Valentine's Day!