Long before the parades start to roll, even as far back as to when crewes and captains, debutantes and bachelors, even the kings and queens are finalizing plans for the carnival season, many households are preparing for the three to four week long party. A party that officially starts on the Twelfth Night, King’s Day or the Feast of the Epiphany, whichever name you like to call it and in the winter month of January, on the sixth to be precise. However, to many the season starts in the late autumn month of November. This launches the social season with announcements and unveiling the names of the rulers, debutantes, ball themes and all forth coming. Parties begin on just about every block during this carnival season and as we get closer to Ash Wednesday or the beginning of Lent, celebrations and revelry are at every house along the route.
Mardi Gras refers to Fat Tuesday, a day of celebrating, indulging and eating the fats of the land before the Lent season begins, which is always 46 days before Easter. Because of the long season and to avoid confusion with our out of town guests, we refer to this day as Mardi Gras Day since to them Mardi Gras is much longer than just one day. The Monday before, we refer to Lundi Gras for the arrival of the King of Mardi Gras. And not to confuse anyone, Mardi Gras Day is also referred to in parts of the world as Shove Tuesday, Pancake Day and even Fetter Dienstag.
In the coming weeks leading to Mardi Gras Day, I will join Cajun Chef Ryan, a New Orleans expat in delving more into the history of Mardi Gras and more importantly into our favorite foods we like during this festive and indulging time. As we say around here, Laissez les bons temps rouler! (let the good times roll).
First up is an appetizer that’s sure to please all guests and with the spicy dipping partner, sure to get folks in a celebratory, drinking mood. Enjoy!
Cajun Pick Me Ups
For 20 to 24 people
6 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1/2 cup olive oil
1 cup melted butter or margarine
1/2 cup hickory flavored barbecue sauce
1 cup chili sauce
1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
1/4 cup lemon juice
2 lemons, sliced
1/4 cup liquid smoke
2 tbsp chopped parsley
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
Red pepper sauce to taste
Salt and pepper to taste
5 lb med. shrimp, peeled and deveined
In a large saucepan, sauté garlic in olive oil for 2 to 3 minutes and add remaining ingredients except shrimp. Simmer for 20 minutes stirring occasionally.
Add shrimp to a large roasting pan and pour sauce over shrimp. Bake at 300 degrees for about 20 minutes or until shrimp begins to turn pink. Remove to a rack and let cool.
Place in refrigeration for several hours for everything to blend.
Before serving, reheat shrimp and transfer to a chafing dish set on low heat.
More about this series:
- -Join Cajun Chef Ryan and take a look at his Mardi Gras Post. His first recipe of the series is his awesome King Cake, with a step by step guide in making this traditional Mardi Gras pastry.
- -Next Tuesday ~ A little more history and a recipe for one of my favorite foods for a large crowd.
- -Learn more about Mardi Gras in Mobile at Mobile Bay
- -Historical timetable from Mardi Gras Digest