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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The Bread Crumb

Meeting Manuela Goeb at her Bakery and Pastry Shop in Kenmare was one of the highlights filming for my TV series in Ireland. The food she produces is with a living well approach, using only all natural ingredients and made in the same authentic German bakery traditions she was raised with in Franconia. Keep in mind, the finest Kerry Butter is one of the key ingredients in her baked goods.

We had so much in common; with my early days as a chef being trained by some of the finest German bakers. Manuela knows her dough. I look forward to seeing Manuela again and enjoying her delicious sour dough bread. If traveling to Ireland and you make your way to Kenmare, be sure to tell Manuela hello for me.

The Bread Crumb, New Road
O'Shea's House
Kenmare
Co. Kerry Ireland

images, Hirsch Media

Meyer's Sparkling Lemonade

Need a thirst quencher to beat the heat wave? Here's my refreshing way to chill out!

The Meyer lemon, native to China, is a cross between a tangerine and a Eureka lemon. The Meyer lemon has a delightful aroma and a surprisingly sweeter yet tarty flavor compared to typical lemons found in your local produce markets. Grown mostly in ornamental garden pots, Meyer's lemons can be difficult to find outside of specialty grocers and abundant California groves. Kensington Marmalade Company has changed how we can get our Meyers fix with their locally grown whole-fruit drink mixers. It's not just lemon juice, but whole lemon fruit in every bottle.

We believe the best products come from the best fruit, and there is nothing better than fruit grown with love. - Kensington Marmalade Company

This is not the friendly neighborhood lemonade stand recipe for homemade lemonade (avec the vodka), but it may just be the ideal refreshment to bring dad while he rests on the backyard hammock come Father's Day.  

Meyer's Sparkling Lemonade

In a tall glass filled with ice, mix together ¼ cup vodka, ¼ cup Meyer Lemon Mixer, ½ cup sparkling water, and a squeeze of fresh lemon juice. Garnish with a fresh lemon slice and a sprig of fresh mint.