I have known Rev. Kane for a LONG time…let’s not talk about how many years. When asked to guest blog for me, he jumped right on it, even though he is in the final stages of preparation for hiking the Appalachian Trail. What a guy! Keep up with him and his adventures by following his blog Ministry of Happiness. All of the NON-food pics were taken by Rev. Kane. He is a much better photographer than I am!
When the queen calls you answer and I’m honored to be guest blogging at Good for Spooning, a little different fare than my normal posts at the Ministry of Happiness, but not so far off the map as guilty pleasures are inherently things, that at least in the short-term, make you happy.
Given that LeAnne has decided these posts should center around Lent, I figured as a recovering Catholic that I would address my favorite part of Lent, Mardi Gras. I love New Orleans and more pointedly I love Mardis Gras. For me, it has everything to do with parades. You see I never got the whole parade thing, not even as a child. Parades in my hometown were quite frankly pretty lame, but even the Rose Bowl and Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parades bored me to tears.
So the first time I made it to Mardis Gras, I was not excited about the idea of a Mardis Gras parade but what the hell, I walked up St. Charles into the neighborhoods and got ready for the parade. Soon, as will happen during Mardis Gras, I had made a whole slew of new friends, particularly once they found out I was on my own. Drinks, snacks, hot Po Boy Sandwiches were quickly dispatched to me, hell one guy and his partner even invited me to join them on their krewe’s float the next night. Now, they pay thousands of dollars for that honor and I passed, they were sure once I was costumed no one would care, I wasn’t so sure.
Then the parade started and it was gleeful madness, the floats were amazing, funny, political, ridiculous depending on the krewe running the parade. Beads, coins and much nicer gifts flew from the floats, gleeful madness transitioned to joyful chaos, it is impossible not to get thoroughly caught up in the action. Wonderful people, food, drink and madness, THIS is what I always thought Mardi Gras was always about. Unfortunately so many people think Mardi Gras is bourbon street, flashing boobs and drunken crowds, it’s not, for me it’s all about the parades.
So in many ways New Orleans is one giant guilty pleasure for me but given I have issues with my blood sugar, I’ll focus on those specific guilty pleasures my doctor might actually beat me for indulging in while I’m there. Let’s start with the worst offence, the beignet. I grew up in an Italian family and fried dough with powdered sugar was a huge treat the morning after homemade pizza. Café Du Monde, cliché, sure but the beignet’s and the people watching are just magnificent.
As someone who cuts carbs I don’t eat a lot of rice, but great news, the rice in jambalaya is carb free! Right, but now do I stop eating bowls of full of crawfish, shrimp, sausage, and chicken, sure there’s more grams of carbs in a bowl than I normally eat in a week but it’s soooo damn good! It’s ok, you can always go to the church on Jackson Square [St. Louis Cathedral] and confess your food sins.
The one saving grace about New Orleans guilty pleasures is that the city and especially the French Quarter is a marvelous place just to walk. As someone who does a bit of photography I love the cemeteries in the city and so you get to burn off all of those lovely carbs with really long walks, but you should always bring a box of pralines with you in case of food emergencies, or to just immerse yourself in a wave of crunchy, sweet goodness.
Now my final guilty pleasure provided by the Crescent City is a double pleasure, first it’s so delicious and secondly I usually bring it with me on the plane ride home and fill the cabin with its smell. Given how little they feed us on planes these days I’m surprised I haven’t been beaten within an inch of my life. But my leaving New Orleans tradition has become a full muffuletta from Central Grocery. For the uninitiated a muffuletta is a 10 inch diameter sandwich filled with layers of marinated olive salad, mortadella, salami, mozzarella, ham, and provolone.
From the TheThrillist.com’s article on the 5 best muffulettas in New Orleans:
You can’t reasonably discuss muffulettas (or at least discuss muffulettas with as much reason as such a discussion might allow) without paying consideration to the original. Invented here in the early 20th century to feed hungry Sicilian farmers selling their wares in the French Market, CG’s muffs can be ordered by quarter, half, or whole, but be warned: the sandwich is approximately the size of a tractor tire. And be prepared to wait in line. It’s worth it.
So, I know it’s just passed us by, but happy Mardi Gras, happy Lent, and have a happy day my friends ~ Rev Kane