Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Japanese Mardi Gras

At the end of the Mardi Gras party people looked fat and happy, so I guess it was a success :)
Since I grew up in such a Christian environment, I just assumed that everybody knew about "Fat Tuesday", Ash Wednesday, Lent, Easter, etc... Well, apparently they don't! It was pretty interesting explaining some traditions - such as the concept of abstinence/fasting, putting ashes on your forehead...and eating a King Cake.
Don't let the people in New Orleans know what I tried to pass off as a "King Cake"!

I know what a KC is supposed to look like, but what I ended up serving was a far cry from what they've got down in Lousiana. I just didn't have time (or the warmth) to bake something that required yeast, so I thought I could just buy one of those pre-made angel food cakes they always have at my grocery store. Well, almost always, apparently...So much for that. So I grabbed the ONLY cake mix box that they had (they're not so big on baking here, I guess). Even though it was chocolate, I was sure that I could make it look more festive with using purple/gold/green icing. Then I remembered that purple icing doesn't exist. The pre-made icing is only available in pink, white, and brown (I swear I'm not making this up!). The food coloring is only available in red, yellow, and green. Thinking I had the green already, I just bought these grape-flavored "Pure" brand sour gummy things to stand in for the purple.
Then, for whatever reason, the cake didn't really rise, and so when I inserted the plastic baby Jesus, it kind of stuck up and broke that side of the cake! (yes, I AM laughing as I think about all this). ANYWAY, we still had fun decorating it, and the person who ended up finding the baby made a really beautiful Mardi Gras queen!
The chocolate cookies and coconut milk ice cream we made last night were popular as well...and after writing down their "Lenten Promise" on the little board on my fridge, my friends entertained each other with sporadic dancing, card games, and watching Seinfeld in Japanese - so all in all, I think we did a good job living it up for "Fat Tuesday" in Japan!

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