The celebration of Mardi Gras is full of traditions. From the royal krewes and their lavish balls to the floats to catching beads and cups, there's a whole lot of pomp and circumstance behind the celebration before Lent.  As I mentioned in an article earlier this week, the town of Galveston with its substantial cajun population has a big celebration of the holiday that extends all the way up to Fat Tuesday itself. If you can't make it to New Orleans or Lafayette in Louisiana, Galveston would love to have you.

One of the great Mardi Gras traditions is the king cake. There are multiple accounts of the history of the famed pastry and where it came from, but these days the lore surrounding the oval-shaped dessert goes like this: the first cake is rolled out on Twelfth Night, the Feast of the Epiphany on the wetern rite liturgical calendar as observed by Christedom, which is January 6. At that point, the holiday which observes the visit of the Three Wise Men, or Magi to visit the Christ child signals the official end of the Christmas season and the start of Carnival. From that night to Mardi Gras, literally "Fat Tuesday," the day before Ash Wednesday - forty days before Easter Sunday - the various social clubs in New Orleans and elsewhere, known as Krewes, have their formal functions and start preparing to parade.

Most importantly, Twelfth Night celebrations revolve around the first king cake of the season. Families in south Louisiana will buy king cakes all throughout carnival season and whomever gets the baby – a plastic trinket in the shape of an infant meant to symbolize the infant Jesus Christ which is hidden inside the cake - is "King" and must buy the next cake. Then it starts all over again.

As I am away from all the festivities, I had not yet had a slice of king cake until this week. Unbeknownst to me, my wonderful family sent me a king cake overnight from Baton Rouge's Ambrosia Bakery, which has long been my mother's go-to pastry place (one of several absolutely amazing bakeries in their home town alone,  not counting the innumerable places in New Orleans proper and the surrounding areas.  To name them all would be certainly mean leaving someone else out. Do a search, you really can't go wrong.)

Last year, my friend John Smith at S&S Printing did me the favor of sending me a king cake. In my previous life in the advertising world, John did a million of my agency's direct mail pieces on his printing press. His generosity was very much appreciated!  The cake was a big hit with my coworkers, so much so that I begin getting requests for another king cake and reminders that I've gotten the baby last year.   Less than a day before, Aaron Savage and I had gone to stores looking for an acceptable king cake to feed the entire staff. I didn't find anything in the local grocery stores that was large enough.  I was planning to go down to Austin to a little place that I knew had these cakes. Then UPS arrived...

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