Mardi Gras Loot
Parades are the topic for many carnival revelers, all wanting to catch, snatch and grab the throngs of throws that are hurdled from the passing floats. One bag, two, maybe three sacks full of loot; we never get enough. So just what is it about these throws we find so irresistible? The answer lies in the loot, the treasures each of us perceive as the grand booty prize and that which is dear to each individual. Some go for the moon pies, some folks favor candy, cracker jacks, bubble gum and bags of gummy treats. I personally go for the bags of roasted peanuts. It gives me something to munch on while the bands go by and as we wait for the next float. Besides, with drink in hand, a snack of peanuts is much more satisfying with bourbon than say, a tootsie roll.
Then there are the beads, so many that by the end of each parade, thousands line the streets, stomped and crushed. There are certain folks who favor the beads over moon pies and the fun is snatching them in midair. The ones on the street are some how spoiled once they hit the hard surface. Perfectly good, but they are not the same as snagging them airborne. You have to live it to understand.
There is a perfect place to get a wide collection of beads, Mardi Gras favors and loot here in Mobile. Toomey's is a favorite along the Gulf Coast and they have a wide selection ~ they ship too.
The one prize everyone, young and old, will beg, plead and yes, some even disgrace themselves by exposing certain body parts are the stuffed animals. It’s crazy. People go bananas when the maskers hold up a plush item. I mean totally nuts. And if you are lucky enough to grab one, you better hold on tight. I have seen many snatched away by roving bandits and thieves who prey the crowd for such loot. It is as if it was a bag of money. What they do with them, I have no idea. We give ours away, sometimes to the kid standing next to us who can't quite reach high enough or many times to the neighborhood children. The fun is saying you caught it, after that, well it means nothing to us.
There is one other thing I enjoy going after, listening for the sound of clinking coins hitting the pavement, and that is doubloons. These are the round coins thrown by the marshals riding horse back and sometimes the float riders too. Most organizations throw these, some every year and a few only on anniversaries. Each doubloon, stamped with the Crewe’s emblem on one side and the theme of the parade on the other, differs every year. There are collecting clubs whose sole purpose is to categorize and exchange these at monthly meetings. Doubloons are mostly metal and come in all colors. There are some made of wood and termed, what else, wooden nickels. Some are casted in bronze, silver and yes, even gold. These are not thrown of course but given as favors by the kings, queens and court.
So what do we serve to our friends after a parade? Cajun Chef Ryan is featuring a recipe for a roast beef poboy and favorite in New Orleans. Below is a version from Mobile and a recipe I have tinkered with several times. I hope you try it. Enjoy!
Mobile's Roast Beef
1 -3 to 4 pound rump roast
Seasoning salt, garlic powder & black pepper
5 tablespoons all-purpose flour, divided
5 tablespoons butter or cooking oil, divided
1 large onion, sliced
1 large green pepper, sliced
1 1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
2 cans French Onion soup
1 soup can of water
1 1/2 tablespoons Worcestershire
Salt & pepper to taste
Remove all visible fat from the roast. Sprinkle meat with the seasonings and dust with 2 tablespoons of flour covering all sides. Melt 2 tablespoons of butter in a heavy stockpot and brown the roast on all sides. Remove meat; add remaining butter, onions, peppers and sauté until onions are clear. Remove from pot and set aside.
Add remaining flour and stirring often, make a dark brown roux. Stir in the garlic, whisk in the soup, water and Worcestershire. Return meat to pot and cover with the onion and peppers. Cook covered on low for 4 to 5 hours.
Remove meat, let cool a bit and cut into thin slices. Check gravy for thickness. Add a thickener if needed, I like my gravy rather thin. Return meat to the pot and stir to combine. Keep warm until ready to serve.
Serve sandwich style on toasted French bread with mayo, Creole mustard, sliced tomatoes, lettuce and sliced red onions. Roast is also good served open-face style with lots of the gravy.
More about this series:
* Joining me in this endeavor is Cajun Chef Ryan ~ see more from this series: his Welcome to Mardi Gras 2010 / an awesome King Cake recipe / a parade tradition and fun post on Sloppy Joe’s with Sweet Potato Fries / see a little Paris in New Orleans & his Eggs Florentine Omelet
* My previous recipes & posts in this series: Eggs Creole, a brunch casserole perfect for guest / Shrimp & Grits - 2 recipes / My take on bouillabaisse and always a crowd pleaser / Duck & Sausage Gumbo / Mardi Gras Pick-Me-Ups / Cajun Pastalaya / Mardi Gras Shrimp Mold / Marinated Shrimp & Mushrooms
* Learn more about Mardi Gras in Mobile at Mobile Bay
* Historical timetable from Mardi Gras Digest
* Mobile Parade Schedule