King Cake

Mardi Gras is over which means this entry isn’t exactly timely. BUT…I was in a meeting this morning and folks were talking about King Cake which obviously got me thinking…

The first time I had King Cake was in Mississippi and so even though it is a New Orleans thing, I permanently associate it with the Magnolia State.

They also call Mississippi the Hospitality State – and there’s good reason. After we moved there from California, my mother and I were met with countless refrains of, “Y’all must be goin’ through culture shock!” Indeed we were. The highways were peppered with handmade signs that read, “Repent.” There was a little old man with a crusty nose and a sign of his own that said, “Boiled P-nuts.” We saw him for the first time on a tour of Jackson. My mother, ever the gourmand, saw it and said, “Ooh! What’s that? Pine nuts?” Our real estate agent replied with a frown, “No. Peanuts.”

They fry pickles in ‘Sippi – although they do not, as a BBQ joint in NY attests, call them “frickles.” And they have King Cake (hence my point). The first one we tried came from the local grocery store, Jitney Jungle, which apparently has been bought out by Winn-Dixie and rebranded…which I think is a crying shame. We weren’t too impressed by the King Cake – if memory serves, it was kind of like bread with frosting. But that could have very well been because it was a grocery store King Cake (does saying that make me a snob?).

My colleagues were sort of razzing me this morning, asking if I’ve ever made a King Cake – which I haven’t…and it would be a little silly to do it now so it’ll have to wait until February 2008…unless I need a post-pie project in which case I will start experimenting with King Cakes in May. However, just out of curiosity, I looked up recipes on my two favorite food websites and here’s what I found:,,FOOD_9936_2055,00.html?rsrc=search

Emeril’s seems more feasible (what on earth is a “wooden bread trough,” Epicurious??). But I’m saying that after giving both just a cursory glance, so I may very well be singing a different tune in May.


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