Happy Mardi Gras everyone. We are hosting a dinner tonight, and as a former catholic turned neo-pagan I really appreciate mardi gras. The menu will be entirely Cajun.
On Sunday I made lagniappe stew, which is a true odds and ends dish. Sadly I was unable to find a ready source of cow brain, heart, or kidney (insert Mad Cow joke here) and went with only pork sausage, beef marrow guts and beef liver. My Luxembourgish Grandmother would think the stuff is extremely spicy brauschweiger.
Lisa made pralines, and a King cake. Whoever finds the baby (this year it is a toy dinosaur) will have to host next year's dinner.
Others are bringing gumbo, jambalaya, and etoufee.
There will be chicory coffee, cornbread, and red beans and rice.
Mardi gras always makes me nostalgic. My first girlfriend was Cajun. I was four years old and so was Cindy Barrilleaux. She lived across the street from us in North Liberty. Her father was at the University of Iowa getting a PhD. He was the first member of his family off the bayou. I think he and his wife had a lot in common with my parents, who were both the first of their generation off the farm. The grandparents came up from Louisiana one summer, I had never met anyone who didn’t speak English before. I remember standing and watching them talk, amazed that they could understand each other. That was where we were introduced to gumbo and red beans and rice. My dad could never get used to chicory coffee however.
When Mr. Barrilleaux finished his doctorate the family moved back to Louisiana and Cindy broke my heart. It wasn’t a total loss however, she and her brothers left us all their winter coats and snow sleds. Hence my nostalgia every year at Mardi Gras time, I’d be out sledding and think of Cindy.