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Cajun Fever

Who says you have to be in the heart of the French Quarter to enjoy all that Mardi Gras has to offer? Create a carnival in your kitchen with these hot Nawlins' recipes.

For a comprehensive Cajun cooking site, you can't beat The Creole and Cajun Recipe Page. The recipes are divided into categories -- from sauces and seafood to poultry and po-boys. Also check out the Creole Cookbook, which includes recipes for delights like jambalaya, turkey gumbo and crawfish bisque. And if you're looking for a ready-made Mardi Gras menu, Epicurious has everything to meet your dining needs.

Traditional Favorites

Now, a bit about one food that defines Mardi Gras -- the King Cake. This dessert represents the three kings who brought gifts to the Christ Child. A plastic baby is baked inside the cake, and tradition dictates that whoever receives the baby in his piece of cake must buy the next cake or throw the next party. For a traditional King Cake recipe, see mardigrasday.com.

Another New Orleans delicacy is the beignet -- fried dough covered in powdered sugar. When it comes to five-star beignets at budget prices, nobody bakes them better than Cafe du Monde. (Visit the French Quarter location and you'll understand.) While the world-famous eatery won't offer up its secret recipe, you can purchase its beignet mix and coffee with chicory -- a regional favorite.




Let's not forget pralines, the candy of choice in this Louisiana town. Whip up a quick batch with this Epicurious recipe.

Folklore

Finally, if you're looking for Mardi Gras folklore, check out MardiGras.com -- it has everything you need to know about the history of the holiday, plus an outline of festivities for this year's event. New Orleans Mardi Gras is another good Mardi Gras info site.

   --- R.M.

 
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