I, who had spent our first year there so carefully guarding my heart, not letting anyone in for fear that this would happen had failed in my attempt. After our first year there, we committed to being there -- physically and emotionally -- and we let those crazy bead-throwing Cajuns in. And we loved them. And now we miss them.
And yes, I changed my person in writing from "I" to "we"...Bret was feeling the same way today.
So, kind of the last minute, we decided to try to throw together a little celebration. For those of you who don't know, at nearly every Louisiana Mardi Gras party, there is jumbalaya (or sometimes another local favorite) and King Cake. Bret made up a pot of chicken and sausage jumbalaya, using some of the "secrets" we learned from the locals.I decided against the easy cinnamon roll recipe for a King Cake and scoured the internet for a good recipe. I landed on one from Emeril (in case you don't know, he's a pretty hugely popular television chef from Louisiana), read it -- and realized that this was no small endeavor. This King Cake was going to consume my day. There was shopping to do, there was rising to do, kneading to do, rolling to do, more rising to do, filling to make, sugar to dye, etc...
But I did it, and all along the way pictures and memories of our little stay in Louisiana filled my head. It was a good -- albeit kind of sad -- way to spend the day.
Micah helped me dye the sugar:He's becoming quite the little kitchen helper. Here was our finished product. I was quite proud of it, even if I do say so myself. I thought it looked fairly authentic, and oh my goodness, it tasted awesome. Thank you, Emeril!We had invited the Chappotins over to indulge with us (we had already planned to meet together tonight anyway), and since the cake wasn't quite ready for us to eat it in time, we just took it to house church with us. I must mention just how special this cake was -- it not only contained a little plastic baby, it contained five plastic babies. The package came with several in it, and there were five kids...what can I say, I'm a sucker. Of course we need one baby for each kid! (The baby in the cake is part of the tradition. Whoever gets the baby in their piece of cake is supposed to bring the King Cake to the next gathering. Yes, the next gathering. These folks party it up for about six weeks. There might be a king cake in the office break room every day during that time!)
Here's Conner, Micah, and Torie finding their babies:
(Sorry, Daniel and Ryan. I really thought we got a picture of you guys...)
And what's a Mardi Gras celebration without beads?!
So, thank you Chappotins for celebrating with us, for putting up with the flying beads during dinner, the King Cake sugar everywhere, and the strange experience of digging for a baby in a cake. We love you guys.
And thank you, to all my Lousiana friends and family. Thank you for squirming your way into our hearts, thank you for embracing us and teaching us you ways. We love you and we miss you. We will never be the same, and I think I might always be just a little bit sad this time of year...