Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Farewell to the flesh, hello to the vegetable

This is the end, my friends.

The end.

Fare thee well.

Au revoir. C'est la vie. Some other French cliché phrases to emphasize the gravity of the situation.

Mardi Gras, for most folks, rightfully should be about over-eating crawfish, gumbo, etouffee, king cake, jambalaya, and binging on Abita beer and hurricanes. It should be about beads, boobs, parades with names like Endymion and Bacchus, and, wondering what the hell did I just step in while drunkenly shambling in the vieux carre of New Orleans. Something dark and joyous and terrifying and mystic grips my soul around this time of year, and while I haven't been to the city I love since 2005 (cue sad violin), I get filled with a wonderful nostalgia every time January turns to February.

Most people aren't even aware when the other shoe drops, and Fat Tuesday becomes Ash Wednesday, the first day of the Lentan fast. As I've mentioned on my blog earlier, I make it a point to observe Lent, and have done so for years. It's a challenge of will and spirit, and I find it renewing to embrace what wonderful things you discover when you willingly do without things you otherwise take for granted.

But before all that jazz, I had to have my send-off. I'm not a regular steak-eating guy, so I figured it was a special enough occasion for filet mignon au poivre, which is a steak finished with a sauce of peppercorns, cream, and either cognac or brandy. To pair with something that delightfully unhealthy, my wife helped me make truffled and creamed yukon gold potatoes that we browned under the broiler.

For all the ruminations on how it's done, I saved my lazy ass some keystrokes and made videos for you that will hopefully drop a little science on the subject.

After all that, the best nightcap to the evening and the carnival season would be a king cake slice, served with the traditional pairing of Abita beer. Beer and King Cake, you say? Traditional? Madness! No I'm holding firm on this. During Carnival, ANYTHING goes with Abita beer. I've even considered pouring it over cereal.

Anyways, wish me the best of luck for the next 40. If it's anything like last year, I've got this no problem, but since my wife remains as carnivorous as ever, who is to say if I might face temptation.

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