Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Samedi Gras 2014

Yes, yes if you speak French, you are undoubtedly thinking I have lost my mind.

Even if you don’t speak French, you might think it too.

So before I begin, I must explain. I know that today is “Mardi Gras”…not “Samedi Gras”. 

My mother is surely rolling her eyes.

She was a French teacher, you know…which is why I took French. Why wouldn’t you take a subject when you have a built-in tutor? It got trickier in college…more than once did I call her and ask “Here’s what I am trying to say…how do I write that in French?”

I guarantee that you would have done the same.

Don’t be too concerned. I was not a French major (or a general or even a lieutenant for that matter…anyone getting that?). Far from it. I took only as much as that handy-dandy journalism degree required.

For the record, I did test out of a year of French. On my own, thank you very much…without my mom’s help on the test.

So clearly I knew SOMETHING.

But I digress.

Today is Mardi Gras… “Fat Tuesday”. We didn’t think we could fit a celebration into our schedule today, so we celebrated on Saturday.

Hence the Samedi Gras…Fat Saturday.

As an aside, I can list ALL the days of the week in French, if you’d like.

I also know how to count, my colors, months of the year and a few phrases: “Je ne sais pas.” “Pour quoi?” “Ca va?” (Just go ahead and pretend there’s a squiggly line under that “c” because I don’t know how to do that. My computer apparently does not speak French. It has lots of things underlined in red over here.)

I can sense the level of your impressedness from here.

And yes, that’s a word. It’s French so don’t question me.

So…I thought this would be a quick and easy post, mostly full of pictures, but clearly I am feeling particularly rambley (another French word), so I shall indulge myself.

It’s Fat Tuesday, after all.

Bonne chance getting through this whole post.

So…as you may recall from our Happy Super Chinese Groundhog Bowl celebration, our family will use any excuse to have a little soiree.

So don’t be surprised if we have one in a couple weeks for St. Patrick’s Day. No, we’re not really Irish, but we do enjoy a good beer colored green with artificial food coloring.

And things flavored with mint (not so much the beer, but other things…baked goods, specifically…)

My 12yo is usually the one driving the train. And fortunately for me, my mother is a happy engineer of the plans.

See, that is funny because she’s NOT an engineer…she’s a French teacher (weren’t you paying attention earlier?)…but my dad IS an engineer.

When I was little, I thought he drove trains and couldn’t figure out why he wore a suit to work each day instead of overalls and a striped hat.

And why he was home every night…those trains must not have needed to travel very far.

But he did go to Puerto Rico a few times…I guess I thought those were longer trips.

I didn’t ask a lot of questions as a child. 

Perhaps those leaps I took in my mind were a little larger than they seemed at the time.

You know how hindsight is…

Anyway…I apologize for the ADD today (not that I really have it…well, who knows. Maybe I do. Lucky for you, it mostly comes out in this blog. I’m sure you believe me.)

So…Mardi Gras festivities this year were driven by the 12yo. This time, he wanted to make masks for everyone. 

He’s really getting into this “creating/artsy” phase. I love it, of course, but it is difficult for me to hold back and not tell him how to do something.

I wouldn’t want someone telling me how to write my blog or assemble a greeting card. So I let him go for it.

On his own.

Anyway…masks are a very Mardi Gras thing to do. Masks, along with beads, doubloons…all that fun stuff.

We did not put together a parade though. But maybe next year. It’s on the docket.

So my mom took him to the store to get the supplies he needed: masks and feathers. We had the paint already. Phew.

Let me pause right here and offer to you my own PSA, because I’m certain this will be applicable to many of you: if you’re going to let your child make Mardi Gras masks complete with feathers, better to let him make them PRIOR to you cleaning the house.
Unless, of course, the motif you prefer in your house is “a bunch of artificially-colored birds just molted all over the place.”

Oh yes. It’s been days and I am STILL finding little bits of feathers all over the house.

I am trying to keep my mouth shut, because the masks are just lovely. We packed them away to use for decorations next year…because there will undoubtedly be a next year celebration.

And there’s no need to break out those feathers again.

Because I know you were wondering, we also had tasty food. 

The boys made crepe with my mom. When she taught French, she always made crepe with her class...and now she has had the opportunity to make them with the PBA.

She's a better woman than I; cooking with the PBA is no picnic.  But the good news is that now they know how to make ramen noodles, quesadillas, grilled cheese, scrambled eggs and crepe shells.

They are just about ready for us to launch them, I'd say.

And we're back: They made "universal" (not really the name but I cannot remember the name so I think this description will suffice) crepes which could be for sweet or savory dishes.

For Samedi Gras, we made them sweet...with ice cream, hot fudge and Nutella.

And the 10yo wanted me to add "and love"...they had love in them too. I included some pictures of that process.

And no superfluous skin...this is the first year that the 10yo hasn't burned himself on the crepe maker.

For our main dish, we ordered from Yats (which is Cajun Creole yummy goodness.) Yum, yum, yum.

And I apologize that I am not fulfilling my full-service blogger promise to you, but I did forget to take pictures of the food. You’ll have to imagine it in your minds. But be sure to imagine it looking tasty…because it was. We had Red Beans & Sausage, Chili Cheese Etouffée with Crawfish, and Spinach & Mushroom Etouffée.

Yum again.

My mouth is watering just talking about it.

Or, as we just discussed in our science curriculum, my salivary glands are producing saliva.

And one more thing to make your mouth water…we had a Three Kings Cake. A “real” one. 

From a store and everything.

It was quite delightful…which was unexpected because there was no chocolate. I’ll be honest…my expectations on it were pretty low.

EXCEPT I did take exception to it: there was no Baby Jesus trinket hidden inside.

I felt duped. But also somewhat relieved because undoubtedly my 10yo would have probably gotten it (unknowingly), bitten down on it with one of his remaining teeth, and broken it…the tooth, I mean.

Yes, I’m a “glass half empty” kind of gal today.

If you have no idea what I mean by a Three Kings Cake, or a Baby Jesus trinket, please check this out…as I don’t believe I could explain it any better myself.

How could I possibly do a better job than Wikipedia?

Now, because you mostly want to see the pictures of the masks (and us in the masks…no worries…I took care of you!) I shall keep you waiting no longer. Hence, the photo montage of Samedi Gras 2014:

The crepe making...notice the festive apron? We love a theme.
Notice the well-used crepe maker...it's still cranking out the crepe-y goodness!
I'm certain my mother will be thrilled that her picture is included...I blame my dad. He was the photographer on duty.

Yes, I did want to give you a close-up photo of all the cursed feathers...
This is the cake...again, my salivary glands are producing saliva...
The festive table...I know you're jealous.
How Awe.Some. do we look?


  1. You folks certainly know how to do up a celebration (go big or go home). The masks are fabulous, except the Jason Voorhees hockey mask one is a littttle bit creepy. Your crepe makers (kids and pan) look like they know what they're doing. You totally got cheated on no baby Jesus in your King cake, and I've got to ask - did you have to lift your shirt up at the bakery counter to get the beads?

    1. Winner winner...I was waiting to see who would ask that question about the beads. Congratulations on bragging rights! ;)