Visiting New Orleans and exploring it’s rich, exciting history and local attractions is on my “To-Do” travel list, and has been for quite some time- and will hopefully happen within the next year or so- but planning a time to go is a little tricky. Hurricane season takes up a significant amount of the year, making it a risky destination when they’re often being pummeled with tropical storms and hurricanes of varying severity for weeks/months at a time- and the beginning of the year through February or March is always a series of Mardi Gras celebrations.
I love the symbolism and meaning behind Mardi Gras- which is basically all about enjoying life and indulgences and partying heavily and heartily before Lent begins. The food is always amazing, the parades and décor is always over-the-top and exciting, and I absolutely love me some jazz music- but I also enjoy getting enough sleep and staying hydrated- which means that staying up all night with the crowds in the French Quarter this time of year might not exactly be beneficial to my skin or my sanity.
But my friends and I still like to celebrate Mardi Gras in some capacity, albeit low-key, each year- and for 2022 we had ourselves a New Orleans-inspired dinner at my friend Stef’s farm this past weekend. Stef made an absolutely incredible shrimp and tomato gumbo, while I brought a King Cake that was crafted with love and care from Wells Provisions in Charlemont. Some of you may remember my writing about how wonderful their shop was last year.
The gumbo was spicy and filling, while the King Cake was rich and decadent- and while we weren’t throwing any plastic beads around- it was still such a festive and fun night spent with good company. My mother, who saw my photos of the King Cake- is insisting I bring one to her house, as well. Given that Mardi Gras celebrations last through March 1st this year- I’ll have plenty of time to order one (or two!) more!
And if you’ve got any New Orleans-inspired recipes you like to prepare this time of year- feel free to drop me a line! I’d love to try preparing them, too!