Make Mardi Gras the fattest Tuesday possible

To experience an authentic Mardi Gras, be prepared to start the celebration a week before, see elaborate floats in large parades and leave your top on.

History professor Selika Ducksworth-Lawton is a New Orleans native who participated in the celebration while growing up.

The stereotyped wild, drunken party that includes “flashing” for beads is a modern tradition that started in the 1980s, she said.

“When you think of the the nasty stuff you see on Cops, that is the tourists coming in from outside,” she said.

She remembers performing with marching bands in parades that started the Wednesday before Ash Wednesday.

“New Orleans is a very Catholic city,” she said. “Mardi Gras is everything you can’t do for the next 40 days-food, beads, dancing.”

She said generally the natives stay away from the french quarter where the streets are wall to wall people. They are either working in the bars or with their families.

At midnight the police shut the whole thing down and about ten minutes later the streets are clear. Usually about 100 to 200 people are arrested.

“It’s been called the largest controlled riot in the United States,” she said.
– Spectator staff

Cajun Popcorn
– 12-15 servings

Stir together in a medium bowl:
– One cup all-purpose flour
– One teaspoon sugar
– One teaspoon salt
– One half teaspoon onion powder
– One half teaspoon ground white pepper
– One half teaspoon ground black pepper
– One half teaspoon ground red pepper
– One half teaspoon dried thyme
Make a well in the center. Gradually pour into the well whisking constantly:

– One and one half cups milk
– Two large eggs, lightly beaten

Let stand for 30 minutes. Meanwhile,heat to 365 degrees Fahrenheit in a deep fryer or large pot:

– Two cups of vegetable oil

Stir into the batter:

– Two pounds baby Gulf shrimp*, peeled
Remove with slotted spoon and lightly toss with:

– Two cups dry unseasoned bread crumbs or fine cornmeal

Immediately add to the hot oil in small batches and fry until crisp and lightly browned, two to three minutes. Remove with slotted spoon to paper towel, serve immediately with:

– Garlic Mayonnaise
– “The Joy of Cooking”

By Irma S. Rombauer and
Marion Rombauer Becker
*For more authentic New Orleans’ style, replace shrimp with crayfish

Chicken Jambalaya
– 4 servings

Melt or in a large skillet over medium heat:
– Two table spoons butter or vegetable oil

Add and cook, turning often, until browned on all sides, about ten minutes:
– A boiler-fryer chicken (about two and a half pounds) cut into serving pieces

Remove to plate and season with:
– Salt and ground black pepper to taste
Add to the drippings in the skillet:
– One medium green bell pepper, diced
– One half cup diced celery
– One cup long grain
– One teaspoon ground red pepper

Stir to coat with the drippings. Stir in:
– Three cups boiling water
– One fourth cup chopped fresh parsley
– Three quarters teaspoon salt
– One fourth teaspoon dried thyme
– One eight teaspoon ground black pepper
– One bay leaf

Return chicken to skillet, top with:
– One cup silver ham, about one or two ounces chorizo sausages, thinly sliced

Cook, covered, over medium-low heat until the water is absorbed and the chicken is cooked through, about 20 mins. Cook, uncovered, until any excess moisture is evaporated, about three minutes. Serve hot.

– “The Joy of Cooking”

By Irma S. Rombauer and
Marion Rombauer Becker