I’m confused. I admit it. I’ve lived in H-town for thirteen years and I still get confused every year around this time. This whole Mardi Gras thing? I just don’t get it.
You start seeing King Cakes in the stores just after New Year’s, I swear. I still don’t get the whole concept. A King Cake is basically a giant, mushy cinnamon-filled donut that’s decorated with nasty icing, green, purple and yellow colored sugars – and has a creepy plastic baby baked inside. Thirteen years later and I still don’t get what the deal is. I love donuts, but not squashy ones where you can taste the frying grease – and that’s pretty much what King Cake tastes like to me. They have them at work, church and school. But here’s the kicker – you can’t really eat the thing without ending up with green or purple teeth, lips and tongue. THAT looks professional! And I have no clue what the deal is with the plastic baby. I’m sure it means something if you get it, but the only thing I almost got from it was a cracked filling when I chomped on it. And I’m pretty sure gnawing a plastic baby into pieces won’t get you good luck.
But the in-town stuff is apparently much more involved. Here’s what I mean. I heard an ad on the radio yesterday for a popular in-town store. Advertising ‘your one-stop shop for all your Mardi Gras needs: beads, decorations, boas, heels and more!’ Huh? Ok, I get the beads, but who knew I needed a feather boa and heels to celebrate the beginning of Lent? Oh, and I left out the best part! The store advertising all of these fancy party supplies is an adult novelty emporium – so you can also pick up your Mardi Gras lingerie while you’re there! This is sounding more and more like the Anne Rice ball my hairdresser went to one year. I got to hear all about that one for hours with a head full of bleach. He was so proud that he’d gotten his teeth filed to vampire points and capped silver during the festivities – and showed me, up close and personal. I found another salon after that day.
So the only conclusion I can come up with is that this is a regional thing. And if we lived in the Big Easy, it would make sense. But H-town? Galveston? It’s not like we have some humongous French/Canadian/Cajun population roaming the streets. Sure, we have our share of Kibodeaux, Thibodeaux, Thiebaud, etc. – but that’s just a name. And holidays involving eating plastic babies just don’t get me excited.
But no nasty King Cake please. My aunt’s strudel beats it hands down. And there’s never been a plastic toy in there… yet.