Monday, January 28, 2013

Mardi Gras to All Y'all

As the Mardi Gras season approaches, I thought I’d share the following seasonal story with you.
Disclaimer:  All of the funny stuff is Annette…
The weekend prior to these documented events, I had hosted a Reveler’s Ball party at my house.  We have a Reveler’s Krewe in my hometown…and though I am not a Krewe member myself, my good friend Annette is & she never fails to invite me to the annual Ball. (All the fun and benefits and none of the work…woohoo for me!)  After several years of having all the fun and doing nothing…I thought it would be fun (er, fair) to host a pre-ball party for Annette’s troupe. For those of you unfamiliar with the Mardi Gras world, I’m sure this is not making a lot of sense.  Lemme pause a minute and explain:

Alabama was actually where the whole Mardi Gras stuff started here in the states (Mobile, AL was the actual home of the first Mardi Gras festival)…but New Orleans is now more famous for theirs.  Lots of places have their own version. Anyway, although we do not have a parade or anything…the Krewe in our town does have an annual ball.  Active members of the Krewe (they are all ladies) form up into groups and each group performs a skit in line with a chosen “theme.”  “Sustainers” (former Krewe members after they have served their time as active) as well as guests attend the ball, watch the skits and generally spend the evening dancing and imbibing adult beverages.  Many people around town who are attending the ball have pre-ball parties where food is served and those who wish can get a head start on their partying mood.  I kept the party in line with the theme of the year (The Groovy 70’s or Hippy Chic or something along those lines).  I had the whole house kitted out with hanging beads in all of the doorways, lava lamps, funky lights and even a disco ball. I tried to do a lot of 70’s era food (the fondue was a bust…I tried to keep it melted with a can of sterno and it didn’t even taste like cheese anymore.  It was more like a runny, gooey plastic/petroleum paste). Fortunately, many of the guests had offered to help me out by brining dishes with them.  A mutual friend of mine & Annette, Jenn, brought a King Cake.
It was DIVINE.  Annette immediately demanded the recipe.  A week later, the following was reported:
From: *****, Annette S.
Sent: Monday, March 02,
To: ****, Jennifer
Cc: ****, Marianne
Subject: the king cake

Ah, Martha, I mean Jenn ~
The King Cake: recipe for disaster
According to your recipe, it’s “very easy” and “bakes up beautifully”….please believe me when I say that this is in no way meant to be disrespectful to you, but to expose myself for the complete and total retard that I am in the kitchen.
I finally began work on the masterpiece last night, as I had not had the time to devote to such a creative undertaking until that point.  Hands washed and ingredients at the ready, I dove in with the zeal of Edward Scissorhands attacking an overgrown shrub and walking away from an elegant topiary
Let’s start with the cinnamon rolls themselves, shall we?  I never realized just how much cinnamon-y goo came in each can of rolls!  Let me tell you, by the time it was all said and done, that stuff was packed underneath my nails so firmly that I needed a toothbrush to get it out! 
Back to the rolls….I unrolled them, as instructed, and began trying to seal the seams with a fork.  Either my technique was wrong, the fork was wrong, or I somehow selected seam-resistant cinnamon rolls…in any event, they were defiant – almost in a mocking way – and refused to adhere properly.  After struggling for what seemed like an eternity, I proceeded to the next step, which was….
The filling.  This part was easy; the most difficult aspect was keeping my fingers out of the bowl.  Then there was the improvisation on my part – AKA “if some filling is good, then MORE filling is better!”  That’s right, I had the brilliant notion to add the cup o’ icing that came with the rolls…slapped it right on top of the cream cheese filling I’d already lovingly spread on the refuse-to-seam cinnamon roll plank.
Next, I tried rolling it up, which was pretty interesting, given the pound or so of filling inside.  I finally managed to form a log-shaped slab, which I then twisted (all the while, gooey white filling was plopping out everywhere) and then transported to the baking sheet.  By the time said log was placed on the baking sheet, it appeared to be, oh, around 6 feet long – not surprising, considering the intense manipulation the poor thing had undergone. 
Then I repeated these steps – minus the extra filling – on two more cans of rolls.  I had them all on the cookie sheet and laid them out in hopes of forming an oval (which inexplicably morphed into an oblong-ish shape, given the fact that laid end-to-end, the three sections would have stretched about 3/10 of a mile) and then began in vain to seal the ends together to form a continuous loop.  HA!  What made it even funnier was that the one section – the one with the extra filling – was really thick, while its counterparts were lean.  Oh well.
Into the oven, then out right on schedule (by this time, it was 10:15 last night)…the extra filling had oozed all over the baking sheet, but no problem. 
It was too late to wait for it to cool, make icing, etc., so I covered it with foil and a “no touchy” note.  I tried sticking the baby in, but he jumped out, whining that the cake was too damn ugly.
Will report back after icing and then taste-testing (or is it test-tasting?) tonight….
Baking Must Not Be My Forte

Annette ****

From: ****, Jennifer
Sent: Monday, March 02
To: *****, Annette S.
Cc: ******, Marianne SAIC CMA-ANAD (PKI)
Subject: RE: the king cake

Oops, I forgot to mention…..
You’re not supposed to consume any alcoholic beverages during any part of this process!!!
I have a feeling this is where you went wrong.
I apologize for leaving out this very important instruction, and I take full responsibility for whatever the end result may be!
Jennifer *****

Well, there may well have been traces of alcohol remaining in my system from the previous night’s Mardi Gras celebration, but other than that (believe it or not) the only beverages I consumed were Vitamin Water (Revive!) and good ol’ H2O.  In other words, it’s just me.

Annette ****

From: *****, Annette S.
Sent: Tuesday, March 02
To: ****, Jennifer
Cc: ****, Marianne
Subject: the king cake

The King Cake: Recipe for Disaster
part deux
So I get home last night and decide to revisit my attempts to create an edible masterpiece.  Trying to stay positive and approaching the situation with a fresh perspective, I gathered the necessary icing ingredients (sans purple sprinkles) and began my work.  First, I threw a box of confectioner’s sugar into a bowl, then added vanilla flavoring and milk “to desired consistency” – which ended up being pretty consistent with, oh, milk itself.  Hmmm…more sugar?  Sure!  Grabbed another box, adding about half, and mixed away.  A little lumpy, but definitely thicker. 
Place baby in cake.  Baby jumps out.  Stick baby back in cake, holding him there till he falls asleep. 
Time to ice the cake.  Guess what!?!  No spoon required!  Pour the icing onto cake, trying to make pretty patterns and cover the imperfections of the cake.  Not in the cards.  Watery icing trickles down sides of cake and pools onto baking sheet.  Niiiiiice.  Cover with sprinkles anyway.  Green!  Gold!  Pink!  Mardi Gras is over, so colors no big deal.
Taste cake.  Very good, but icing tastes oddly similar to potatoes.  No complaints from child or spouse, though – they LOVE IT! 
Note to self: next year, buy all ingredients + big bottle of wine, invite Jenn and Marianne over.  Jenn makes cake while MA and I cheer!
Annette *****

Sounds like a plan to me!
I find it hard to believe that you had this much trouble sober…
I’m certain you were drunk baking and just won’t admit it.

Jennifer *****

Me & Annette Revellin' it Up. Circa 2009


  1. Hilarious read!! Thanks for the laugh today!

    1. Oh, I just remembered, Belinda! It was YOUR fondue set I ruined, wasn't it?