Mardi Gras Food and Fun in Pittsburgh
Lent is coming and traditionally, it's pig out time on Shrove Tuesday also known as Fat Tuesday because that's the day you eat all those traditional goodies that you might be giving up for Lent.
If you don't have a gourmet baker in your family and you want the wonderfully traditional goodies, I suggest you go to Oakmont Bakery where you can find a King Cake or Paczki with a variety of fillings. You can order pastries to pick up at Oakmont Bakery but you must allow at least a day's notice for a special order.
For those who ask what is a King Cake:
A King Cake is the traditional cake made in New Orleans for Mardi Gras. It is a wonderful pastry such as the one Oakmont Bakery makes their New Year's Eve Pretzel from that has cinnamon, brown sugar, pecans rolled into it and it is shaped in the form of circle. Each section of the circle is sprinkled with green, purple and gold sugar which are the traditional colors for Mardi Gras. The traditional cake has a small plastic baby in one of the pieces but the plastic baby can be placed on the top as an ornament. The person who gets the hidden baby in their piece is responsible for hosting the next year's party.
Paczki is a traditional Polish doughnut that doesn't have a hole cut out and has a filling. The filling can be french cream or whipped cream or even a variety of fruit jams.
My Polish mother-in-law never filled her Paczki, She would make them plain and shake them in a brown paper bag with granulated sugar to coat them. She would make one special paczki that had a cherry inside of it. That was supposed to be the lucky person in the family if you found it.
I prefer to sprinkle my paczki with confectioners sugar which does make for a mess but is easier to eat that the granulated sugar that can get hard if your paczki is made the day before you intend to eat it.
Mardi Gras Costumes and Beads
If you are planning to go to a party, Party City has a full selection of costumes and supplies. They also carry traditional bead necklaces and feathered masks.
However fancy you want to make your party, you can get paper products and decorations in purple, green and gold to match the festivities. They carry everything from comedy and tragedy masks for your wall to simple table coverings and crepe streamers. They even carry a mock New Orleans scene to be hung on your wall.