My first experience with Fat Tuesday was in 1993 when my very strict, all-girls Catholic academy offered a lunch time party with boiled crawfish, cornbread, and extravagant cupcakes. Add to this the ever so popular Jolly Ranchers served between classes and it was clear that this Tuesday was special. I was fifteen years old and sat at a picnic table with my best friend as she taught me suck the head of these small sea creatures. The whole experience was both disgusting and exhilarating. The next day we had ash crosses placed on our foreheads and endured six weeks without sweets.
As someone who was raised Protestant, spent a few years Agnostic, 4 weeks as a Buddhist, and now a Nondenominational Christian, Lent is somewhat recognized in my house with prayer and reflection...as a Southerner, Mardi Gras is recognized like the 4th of July. So, this week I decided to throw my kind of Mardi Gras party; great food, great friends, with a nod to long standing tradition. The fact that we are celebrating with Jews, Gentiles, Alternatives, and Conservatives alike... that’s just a day in the life. Our menu:
Cajun-Spiced Deviled Eggs
Cheesy Cornbread Muffins
Shrimp and Chorizo Gumbo
Chorizo in gumbo? Little Brother is on the guest list and he is French-Cajun with a mother who makes the best gumbo on this side of the country. I had to put a spin on this dish for fear I would be asked to order pizza!