Laissez les bons temps rouler

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Fact: Louisianians possess joie de vivre. They can find a reason to celebrate life any time of the year. Each visit to the state split by the Mississippi; either for pleasure or filming, has always brought me home with fine memories and new friendships - good times. 

With Fat Tuesday celebrated this week and today’s added Mardi Gras - New Orleans Saints parade, It only seems fitting to brush up on their rich food culture in Louisiana, and the traditions around Mardi Gras. Laissez les bons temps rouler! Translation; let the good times roll!

Which BTW code for New Orlean's colors are; purple for justice, green for faith, and gold for power.

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Mardi Gras Review

Carnival season which leads to Mardi Gras begins each year on Jan 6th.  But it’s really this past week that the Krewes really start to build up their parading steam right up to Fat Tuesday on February 9th, aka Shrove Tuesday served with Pancakes. Get out your beads and join the celebration.

Mardi Gras: Did You Know That?

Fat Tuesday is the English translation of the French words Mardi Gras. As the rite of Spring, Fat Tuesday festivities commence before the change of seasons. The original purpose of the big celebration was to pray to the Gods for good weather and good crops. In Louisiana, the first Mardi Gras was celebrated in 1589, when the French explorers Bienville and Iberville landed at the mouth of the Mississippi river in New Orleans. The next day was Ash Wednesday, the beginning of the Lenten season. The tradition back home in France/ Europe in those days, was to have a major feast prior to the 40 days of fasting in Lent. The day called Mardi Gras or Fat Tuesday, was the opportunity to eat and drink all day long prior to repenting for a long, long, forty days. 

Mardi Gras Colors & Throws

Rex (latin for king) selected the official Mardi Gras colors in 1872. The 1892 Rex Parade theme Symbolism of Colors gave meaning to the colors: purple represents justice; green-faith, and gold-power. The throwing of trinkets to the crowds was started in the early 1870s by the Twelfth Night Revelers, and is a time-honored expectation for young and old alike. 

In 1884 Rex started using medallions instead of trinkets. These medallions are represented today by doubloons. These doubloons are aluminum and anodized in many different colors. They depict the parade theme on one side and the Krewe's emblem on the other. 

So friends, let's top off the fete, with my Jambalaya recipe.

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Time for Shrove Tuesday

aka Pancake Tuesday since aprox. the 12th century. This celebration was marking the days preceding lent by using valuable ingredients like eggs, milk and sugar; hence cooking up pancakes 
George's Griddle Cakes
Pancakes are one of the earliest forms of bread and are served up geographically in many different ways. You can be-all-traditional with baking powder, or try prospecting with sourdough pancakes like the early pioneers. Flip’em with oatmeal or buckwheat when in Vermont; or for a Dutch style treat serve with lemon, powdered sugar and jam. Substitute the flour for cornmeal and you’ll be enjoying it as Native American speciality.
Go Pollack by designing your own pancake creations with sliced apples, bananas, blueberries, strawberries, chocolate chips, chopped nuts.  
George’s Pancake Recipe
Makes eight pancakes | recipe by George Hirsch
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 Tablespoon pure cane sugar
1 1/4 cups milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 egg, beaten
3 Tablespoons butter, melted
In a large bowl, mix together well with a whisk all dry ingredients the flour, baking powder, salt and sugar. In a separate bowl mix all wet ingredients the milk, vanilla, egg and melted butter. Yes, use two bowls so the dry and wet ingredients blend better when combined. Add the wet to the dry and just strip with a large spoon or spatula until the dry ingredients have absorbed the wet. There may still be a few lumps, thats OK. Do not over mix, or pancakes will become tough.
Pre heat a non stick pan or lightly grease a griddle over medium high heat at 375 degrees F. Test the temperature by dropping a drop of water on surface of pan. Water will dance across the surface when at the correct temperature. You can test one cake before proceeding.
Pour one 1/4 cup scoop of batter onto the griddle for each pancake. If adding any fresh fruit or creations add at this time. You will begin to see bubbles form on the top side when brown on bottom, flip and brown on second side. Serve hot with syrup or favorite topping eaten immediately right off the griddle.
Finish off your stack with honey, molasses, can syrup, preserves, Nutella, or maple syrup.