Northeastern University Dining Services Blog

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Behind The Scenes of Mardi Gras

Thursday, February 12, 2015 | 5:07 PM Posted by Northeastern Dining , , , No comments


Hard to believe that it's already the middle of February – although it sure feels like the middle of winter with the recent (and upcoming) weather – but that means it is almost time for our first signature event of the spring semester. The event, our 14th annual Mardi Gras Celebration, is this Tuesday, February 17 from 8:00 to 10:00 pm in Levine Marketplace.

We have lots of fun planning and executing this event but just what goes into transforming Stetson East into a miniature Bourbon Street? Well...

Our main goal of the event is authenticity. When choosing menu items for the event, we look for recipes that we can produce in our kitchen both effectively – to honor the traditional Cajun recipes of New Orleans – and efficiently – since more than 600 guests are served in just two hours. We love serving classic New Orleans favorites including jambalaya, shrimp étouffée, and catfish po' boys but we also look for creative opportunities such as last year's pairing of traditional andouille sausage with red velvet pancake.

Another important culinary tradition at Mardi Gras is the king cake. Its beginnings are hotly debated by revelers and historians alike (for a brief overview, try this NPR article) but today it is undoubtedly the most famous food of the celebration. With so much tradition in the king cake recipes passed from generation to generation in New Orleans bakeries, we have all the king cakes for our Mardi Gras celebration baked by the award-winning Randazzo's Camellia City Bakery in New Orleans. And yes, those are plastic babies are baked right into the cakes. But don't throw it out! Guests who find the baby in the king cake are said to have good luck for the coming year.

We're excited for next Tuesday's celebration and hope that you'll join us for all the food and fun. You won't want to miss the festive atmosphere, thanks to the New Orleans jazz of the Hot Tamale Brass Band and more than 2,000 strands of beads, or the always-competitive contests where you could win $100 cash right on the spot. Laissez les bons temps rouler!

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