Kate Krader (@kkrader on Twitter) is Food & Wine's restaurant editor. When she tells us where to find our culinary heart's desire, we listen up.
If you’ll be in New Orleans for Mardi Gras, lucky you.
Talk about your Fat Tuesday!
We've sunk our teeth pretty deeply into Mardi Gras already, but New Orleans isn't the only float in the food parade.
Across the U.K., royals and hoi polloi alike flip pancakes in celebration of Shrove Tuesday. The Pennsylvania Dutch fry up fastnachts (a raised doughnut). Folks of Polish descent (and apparently, residents of Michigan) polish off plenty of pączki (extra-rich jelly or cream-filled doughnuts) with great, greasy abandon.
The Southern Foodways Alliance celebrates the unique food of New Orleans. Today's story comes courtesy of Sara Roahen, author of "Gumbo Tales: Finding My Place at the New Orleans Table."
First things first: a New Orleans sno-ball is not a snow cone - a pre-frozen, rock-hard concoction like those sold from ice cream trucks and concession stands elsewhere. As each of our New Orleans Sno-Balls oral history subjects attest, New Orleans sno is a product of locally made, carefully stored, and expertly shaved-to-order ice.
The sugary syrups that color and flavor a New Orleans sno-ball are equally important to the final product, and each sno-ball maker protects his own syrup recipes. In fact, a majority of the recipes at Hansen’s Sno-Bliz in Uptown, Williams Plum Street Snowballs near Riverbend, and Sal’s Sno-Balls in Old Metairie have survived several generations of ownership.
Carnival season ends Tuesday with Mardi Gras, and for the past eight days, partygoers have taken over the French Quarter in New Orleans, reveling in beads, booze and well, that other five-letter b-word.
For those of us looking for a way to celebrate Fat Tuesday from the comfort of our homes or the lameness of our offices, have no fear. There is a cure to the “I’m-Not-in-New-Orleans” blues and it’s called the King Cake.
The popular pastry is rich to the taste buds but it’s also rich in history, explains Arthur Hardy, the self-proclaimed "World’s Foremost Authority on Mardi Gras."
Hardy says the exact history is not certain, but like many things in New Orleans, the King Cake is believed to have originated in France as part of the Feast of the Epiphany, a celebration for the three wise men who visited Christ twelve days after Christmas.