Category Archives: holidays

sweet thing.

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Theories abound as to the origins of Russian cake. The popular legend goes that it was created by a New Orleans baker who ran out of ingredients to bake a proper cake for the Russian Grand Duke Alexis when the latter visited New Orleans for Mardi Gras in 1872. But the late food historian Michael Mizell-Nelson put this theory to rest, writing that there was no documentation to confirm this story. Mizell-Nelson offered instead that Russian cake may have been an offshoot of the raspberry trifle, or even the Austrian/German punschtorte. The latter features a “punch” of cake and biscuit scraps mixed with rum, cocoa, and jam that gets sandwiched between layers of sponge cake. Another inspiration for the Louisiana Russian Cake may have been the Charlotte à la Russe, a popular dessert in the 18th and 19th centuries, in which a cake mold was lined with stale bread or cake then filled with cream or trifle and set with a layer of gelatin. 

Today’s Russian cake is rich and moist, and bakers advise moderation in its enjoyment. It is soaked in rum, padded with jam, and covered in a dense layer of icing topped with sprinkles, making for quite the sugar bomb. Sometimes anise extract is used to enhance flavor. While this is decadent, it pales in comparison to some versions: A recipe for a giant Russian cake, found in the archives of The Times-Picayune from the 1980s, and submitted by a reader from Lafayette, called for 15 pounds of cake leftovers and serious carpentry skills. A mold made of a customized bottomless wooden frame that was 14 inches long, 10 inches wide, and seven inches deep would first need to be made. The cake scraps, along with two glassfuls of jelly, four and a half cups of sugar, a bit of rum, and two boxes of white cake mix, yielded a 21-pound Russian cake. Sometimes (only sometimes), there really can be too much of a sweet thing.

“a party without cake is just a meeting.” ~Julia Child

 Happy Mardi Gras!

if a man who cannot count finds a four-leaf clover, is he lucky? ~stanislaw j. lec

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sao_patricio_animais_08

as mg and i prepare to head out

for an irish breakfast

in celebration

of st. patrick’s day

we feel lucky.

we both

still have

most of our

fur

and

teeth

and

a taste for

good music

holiday beer

adventure

and

good cheer.

he is the one on stage left.

you gotta try your luck at least once a day,

because you could be going around lucky all day and not even know it.

– jimmy dean

 happy st. pat’s day to all!

image credit: google images

when holidays collide.

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Funny-sheep-pictures

happy chinese lunar new year 2015

apparently

there is some controversy.

is this

the year of

the sheep,

the ram,

or

the goat?

opinions differ

but

everyone agrees

on one thing

it’s  a horned animal

of some sort

and

it

looks like

these two

either

started early

or

wandered in

from an

extended

mardi gras

celebration.

***

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-china-31511109

– credits: google images, bbc.com

americans kick off the week with a day off. some of us.

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Unknown

here’s the most amazing thing you’ll ever read about our 10th president:

john tyler was born in 1790.

he took office in 1841, after william henry harrison died.

and he has two living grandchildren.

not great-great-great-grandchildren.

their dad was tyler’s son.

HOW IS THIS POSSIBLE?

the tyler men have a habit of having kids very late in life.

lyon gardiner tyler, one of president tyler’s 15 kids, was born in 1853.

he fathered lyon gardiner tyler jr. in 1924, and harrison ruffin tyler in 1928.

harrison tyler has been interviewed in the last few years for new york magazine.

lyon tyler spoke to the daughters of the american revolution a while back.

it’s all in the math.

his living legacy continues.

happy_presidents_day_cards_4942786367

credits: j.english, mentalflossmagazine, google images