Mardi Gras (“Fat Tuesday” in french) is next Tuesday and after several years of celebrating this traditional carnival season in college in New Orleans, I can’t pass up a Mardi Gras without some sort of celebration.
Mardi Gras and Carnival celebrations have been held in countries around the world for centuries as a last hurrah before the 45-day period of fasting and contemplation called Lent. Whether or not you celebrate Lent, Mardi Gras is a fun cultural celebration to share with kids.
We have taken our kids to Southern Mississippi and New Orleans to experience some of the festivities and parades (which is quite kid-friendly despite what some think) and when at home in Nashville, we like to indulge in a Mardi Gras King Cake, make New Orleans classic beignets, throw and share beads with friends or make masks as a fun art project.
Also while in college, however, I spent a semester in Ireland where Fat Tuesday is referred to as Shrove Tuesday or Pancake day and everyone eats pancakes for dinner (they don’t eat them at all the rest of the year). Well, my husband, the girls and I are avid pancake eaters, no doubt. The girls can pretty much eat their weight in pancakes on any given morning (it’s astonishing, actually). We cook them up most weekends and occasionally for dinner too. We’ve made many different varieties including sourdough, sweet potato and our February favorite, red velvet pancakes. But our best go-to recipe is this one (which we found online several years ago when the Bisquick ran out).
This year, I think we will make pancakes in Mardi Gras colors (purple, green and yellow) to celebrate both customs, ha! Here’s our easy and delicious go-to pancake recipe:
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon white sugar
1 1/4 cups milk
3 tablespoons butter, melted
In a large bowl, sift together flour, baking soda, salt and sugar. Make a well in the center and pour in the milk, egg and melted butter. Mix until smooth. Pour about 1/4 cup into medium hot skillet. Brown on both sides and serve hot. We often add fruit, chocolate chips, flaxseed or rolled oats too – but they are delicious on their own.