If you’re from New Orleans, you will take one look at the photo and know what happened today.
Today was Fat Tuesday, or what my New Orleans co-worker calls Mardi Gras. Since I work at the kind of office with high employee morale and where we all wuvz each other so vewy much and therefore it’s the office where diets go to die (last Friday, donuts, dim sum and cake; tomorrow, Chinese food for lunch), we celebrated the holiday with a jug of Peet’s coffee, a big box of donuts, and something called King Cake (one recipe here): a traditional New Orleans ring-shaped pastry filled with cinnamon or praline, coated with frosting and dusted with purple, gold and green colored sugar.
Originally, centuries ago, the King Cake was baked with a dried bean somewhere in the dough. Whomever got the slice with the bean became the King or Queen of the Party, with all rights and privileges due thereunto–not to mention a possible broken tooth from biting on the bean. Over the centuries, the bean got replaced with tiny figurines; at first, a porcelain figurine of a king, currently, a plastic figurine of a baby. And the prize is different, too; instead of becoming the ruler of the festivities, the “winner” of the baby enjoys the right and privilege of purchasing the King Cake for next year’s Mardi Gras workplace celebration.
And that’s a good right and privilege.
Because I wuvz my co-workers so vewy much.
Vonn Scott Bair