Now that it’s Mardi Gras (or if you prefer Shrove Tuesday, or as IHOP is promoting it, National Pancake Day with free flapjacks til 10pm), we must put aside fleshy food and indulge in a meatless diet, unless you’re an atheist or a pagan. I never know what to give up for Lent, which is for me more cultural than spiritual. Maybe I won’t buy any—uh wool underwear? I’ll give up zucchini! Oh wait no, that’s not good because I loathe the zuke.

King cake, the traditional New Orleans treat comes from an old tradition based around Epiphany. A bean or coin would be baked in a cake and whoever ended up with it was king (or queen) for a day. In the New World, the cake–a cinnamony braided brioche with white glaze and sprinkled with yellow, green, and purple sugar– gets a plastic baby Jesus baked inside.  Get the kid and you’ll rule for a day–but you also have buy next year’s cake.

And speaking of the King, Elvis that is–wow. Just watch him work that stage–and the mic…

(When making poke salad which is a springtime dish, you have to boil the very young leaves in water, changing it out three times to remove the toxins.)

Happy Mardi Gras!

photo: Wikicommons, King cake purchased from Rouses in Houma, LA