By Bethany Ruhe
Pittsburgh Current Associate Publisher
Next Tuesday marks the beginning of Mardi Gras, a celebration traditionally associated with New Orleans. As a former resident of Mobile, AL, I can tell you that the modern-day Mardi Gras that is celebrated today began in Mobile, Alabama. Joe Cain is the fella credited with starting this whole parade rolling, and Joe Cain Day is still proudly celebrated in the streets of Alabama.
Mardi Gras, or Fat Tuesday, is the last night before the Christian Lenten season, meaning it’s the last night to stuff your face with food and drink before you have to fast or give up some sort of bad habit.
Pittsburgh might be far removed from both New Orleans and Mobile, but we still embrace Mardi Gras. While Mardi Gras typically conjures up images of parades, revelery, beads and other things that start with ‘B,’ perhaps one of the most enduring symbols of the season is the king cake.
The king cake is a yeasty, icing-coated, caked in glitter circular pastry, usually baked with a tiny baby inside. Don’t worry, it’s not a real baby. And legend has it, if you get the piece of cake with said baby, you have to provide the cake for next year’s festivities.
Looking for the perfect king cake for your Mardi Gras party? While time is running short, you may have luck with:
Prantl’s king cake is $16.49 and comes in cinnamon, nut or strawberry cream cheese.
Priory Fine Pastries has praline-pecan, cinnamon or raspberry cream cheese king cakes for $14.25 each.
Oakmont Bakery’s king cakes are $14.50 and come in cream cheese, raspberry or cinnamon. And new this year, they’re offering mini cinnamon king cakes for $3.00.
If you missed your chance to celebrate Mardi Gras by putting yourself into sugar shock, you can always celebrate Pittsburgh-style, and check out some of the great events happening this month during Northside Mardi Gras. And as they say in New Orleans, laissez les bons temps rouler!