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Fat Tuesday and Food

Fat Tuesday and Food

Mardi Gras Parade, New Orleans circa 1900, Courtesy of the Library of Congress

Mardi Gras Parade, New Orleans circa 1900, Courtesy of the Library of Congress

Today is Fat Tuesday and the start of Mardi Gras and Carnival around the world. In New Orleans, Rio, Spanish, Town, Montevideo and other cities with rich Mardi Gras traditions, carnival represents the last party before Christians give up carne (meat) and turn to serious reflections on the life of Jesus Christ as he prepared to die as a sacrifice to pay for the wrongs of mankind. Tomorrow, Ash Wednesday, for many begins a season of sacrifice and reflection that last until Resurrection Sunday (Easter). New Orleans cookery as three roots: Indian, African, and European however the African is the predominate influence in New Orleans cuisine. One finds a similar culinary trinity influenced Caribbean and South American cuisine.

Gumbo or Okra Soup Recipe

Fry out the fat of a slice of bacon or fat ham, drain it off, and in it fry the slices of a large onion brown; scald, peel and cut up two quarts fresh tomatoes, when in season (use canned tomatoes otherwise), and cut thin one quart okra; put them, together with a little chopped parsley, in a stew-kettle with about three quarts of hot broth of any kind; cook slowly for three hours, season with salt and pepper. In chicken broth the same quantity of okra pods, used for thickening instead of tomatoes, forms a chicken gumbo soup. Serve hot.

F.L. Gillette, The Whitehouse Cookbook (1887)

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