Below is my top 10 list of Mardi Gras memories followed by a recipe for a family favorite: Poppy Seed Cake.
Number 9 – Catching beads by the Schwegmann’s bag full on St. Charles Ave. After the floats passed, the Mardi Gras trucks came and they were very generous with their throws. It was the Greatest Free Show on Earth.
Number 8 – Having my hair singed by a Flambeau carrier’s torch. The torches are kind of like giant sparklers. Some sparks landed on top of my head and burned my hair.
Number 7 – Marching in a parade and having someone grab off the end of my flute. I grabbed it back and my band director said I didn’t have to play for the rest of the parade route.
Number 6 – Getting my first candy apple on Canal Street. This was a big deal for me because I was not allowed to get one until I was old enough to eat the whole thing. Bon Apetit!
Number 5 – Going to Bourbon St. with my parents and brother. It was terribly crowded. My brother and I were told to keep our eyes forward and to keep moving. All we could do was to shuffle our feet through a sea of beer cans. Drunks were everywhere and it stunk like puke and alcohol. It was Mardi Gras Madness!
Number 4 – As a teenager, David spotting me on the parade route near Gallier Hall. He grabbed my arm as I walked past. My friend’s mother took up her umbrella in defense thinking it was a kooky reveler. Luckily she recognized him before she whacked him on the head.
Number 3 – Watching the drunken clown walk in circles on Veterans Hwy. He had urine all down the front of his costume.
Number 2 – The coldest Mardi Gras ever.
And my Number 1 memory of Mardi Gras is: When I was 12, barfing hot dogs after a day at the parades.
Mardi Gras doesn’t always fall on David’s birthday, but today it did. We baked a family favorite…Poppy Seed Cake.
Poppy Seed Cake Recipe
1 ½ cups corn oil
2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 can poppy seed filling
1 can evaporated milk
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon soda
Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.
In a medium bowl, add the eggs, oil, sugar and vanilla. Beat well.
In a large bowl, combine the can of evaporated milk and the poppy seed. Mix well.
In another bowl, sift together the flour, salt, and baking soda.
Put the eggs and oil into the large bowl. Add the dry ingredients and mix well. Line the bottom of a 9 inch tube pan with waxed paper. Grease the pan including the waxed paper. Pour mix into the pan and bake for 1 hour and 10 minutes. Use a broom straw or toothpick to test for doneness.
This is a dense, moist cake that is divine with a cup of New Orleans Cafe Au Lait.Laissez les bon temps rouler!