Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Kings Cake and other traditons

With today being Mardi Gras and Fat Tuesday, I thought I would share the meaning behind some of the traditions of today.    I do not live anywhere New Orleans and I am not Catholic,  so the idea behind the Kings Cake is relatively new to me.  I think I heard of it for the first time only a few years ago.       The Kings Cake is a very colorful pastry/cake that can only been enjoyed after Jan 6  and before Ash Wednesday.    Mardi Gras day is the last day of the year you are supposed to eat this special treat. 

The King Cake came to the United States with the French Settlers and is still enjoyed today.    The circle shape of the cake symbolizes the unity of Christians,  and the shape of a kings crown.   There are 3 colors on a Kings Cake,  purple, green and gold.   Each color has a different meaning as well,  purple symbolizes justice,  green symbolizes faith and gold symbolizes power.   Another tradition is to bake a mini  baby Jesus in the cake.  The person who find the baby has good luck for the next year, and will be the host of the next Mardi Gras party.

I did a search for Kings Cake recipes and found a good one  here

The Paczkis are something that I LOVE and eat because I am from the midwest where we have a big Polish population.    I am a teeny bit Polish on my father's side a few generations back, so I can justify eatting them..  LOL!          Paczkis are deep fried doughnuts that are filled with fruit or custard filling.    The story behind how the Paczki tradition started was that all the lard, eggs, sugar and fruit  in Polish households needed to be used up before the start of lent when they  was forbidden.      They are enjoyed on Fat Tuesday because they are extremely fattening.  One Paczki has  over 300-400 calories and 22+ grams of fat.  Good thing they are only available one week during the year.     The cities in the midwest  where Paczkis are enjoyed are Chicago, Buffalo, Cleveland, Detroit,  Toledo, Grand Rapids and Milwaukee.   One suburb of Detroit, Hammtramck  with a huge Polish population even has a parade in honor of the paczki.. 
If you would like to attempt to make these,  I found several recipes on how to make them here

I just heard about another tradition that is enjoyed today,  a potato type of doughnut called a Fastnact.    This is a German tradtion  which is popular in the northeast United States.    Instead  of calling today Fat Tuesday, it is called Shrove Tuesday by the people of German descent.    I am not finding a lot of history behing the Fastnachts, but I did find a recipe which could be found  here

No matter how you celebrate today  either Mardi Gras,  Fat Tuesday, Shrove Tuesday..  Enjoy!!

1 comment:

  1. Oh my gosh, I live in an area where a lot of East Europeans in a suburb of Cleveland live and there are paczki everywhere. You have to find the good ones because there are a lot of wannabes. I love the ones with custard and marshmallow. My husband loves the raspberry and lemon ones. The Italian in me always gravitates to custard! Lol!

    Great Blog, I am following. Stop by anytime!



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