Calas and How to Make a Delicious Mardi Gras Meal

Everyone loves Nola

This recipe - coming to you on a Friday - is our S/O/L/E Food Tuesday installment. It's either late or early, depending on how regular a reader you are. There's a reason that Top Chef was in New Orleans, why we're seeing New Orleans stories popping up here and there. It's almost time for Mardi Gras!

You may think of andouille, tasso ham, crawfish and such. But even if you're vegetarian, you can enjoy good Cajun food.  Good Time Eatin' in Cajun Country is one book that can guide you. (Donna Simón, 1995 Book Publishing Summerton, TN)

And then there are dishes that simply don't require meat, such as Gumbo des Herbes or "Gumbo 'Zerbes" as it's often called, red beans and rice or Calas.

Calas - Fast Recipe, Slow Food, and Historically Significant Food

In honor of Mardi Gras and one of the most delicious cities in the world, I'm bringing you this video clip of New Orleans native, Slow Food icon Poppy Tooker, in a How2Heroes video clip making Calas. In fact, there's a whole Mardi Gras section on H2H.

  • Click here to see Poppy and listen to her explain the history of the Calas. Calas are a fritter that's a cross between an arancini and the beignet, perhaps?

This is Poppy doing what Poppy does best: enthusiastically sharing the rich culinary history of the many cultures and peoples that combine to make New Orleans a uniquely American city. (Do take a moment to click on the "About Poppy" link to hear a wonderful story of the moment when an old man tasted one of Poppy's Calas.)

The city born of rich, sometimes tragic history, the essential identity of our nation of immigrants may be more perfectly embodied in New Orleans, than anywhere else in the country. The common thread throughout it's history was the rich food culture that evolved to include influences from African slaves and free men, Spanish and French colonial rulers, as well as immigrant populations that came to this country via New Orleans. Each successive group leaving their indelible mark on the city's food "culcha."

Eat with your Eyes


Sazerac and Fried Oysters

Congratulations to Hungry Mother for Best New Restaurant nomination for 2009 James Beard Award. Hungry Mother is well known for it's Shrimp and Grits which is another typical dish of New Orleans. The dish was featured at the Shrimp and Sazeracs event recently hosted by Hungry Mother, celebrating the fine shrimp of Four Winds Seafood.