In addition to my Monday, Wednesday, Friday posting, I am also going to start posting on Sundays. Sundays posts are going to be “how to” posts. Whether it is advice from me, or me asking advice from one of my friends, or me asking advice from you. I really want Chrystina Noel to be a space for people to learn new things about being a hostess, and there’s only one way to do that, ask. So, if you have any questions that you’re curious about, let me know. Onward.
First of all, listen to this while you continue reading, it will set the mood.
After spending almost 2-1/2 years in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, I feel that I should share some of my Bayou knowledge with the world. Mardi Gras this year is March 4. I don’t care if you’re in the north, the south, the east, or the west. You should be celebrating. Because it is an awesome holiday. The official Mardi Gras website is a great place to learn more about the history, the traditions, and visiting tips (best advice on that list is do NOT bend down to pick up beads, you will get hit in the head). So what can you do to make your Mardi Gras party at home a little more festive?
|Make a King Cake
King cake is in the shape of a ring and covered with sugar toppings that are purple, green, and gold. Some of them are stuffed with things like cream cheese or fruit, but my favorite so far has had brown sugar, cinnamon, and pecans. Here‘s a recipe. Oh, they also hide a little plastic baby inside. The tradition is that if you get the piece with the baby in it, you have to host the party next year.
|Buy Mardi Gras Masks to Wear or Decorate with
While I didn’t see too many masks while I was walking the streets of New Orleans last year, the shops are filled with incredibly beautiful masks. There’s a chance that they’re used more at the mardi gras balls, but unfortunately, I haven’t been to one of those yet.
|Buy Mardi Gras Beads to Give to Your Guests
Beads a great, inexpensive way to get people in the spirit. My first recommendation is to find somebody who went to mardi gras, because they probably have a million beads they don’t know what to do with. My second suggestion would be buy the majority of them from Oriental Trading, but go to Party City to get a few fancy ones to spice it up a little. It’s entertaining to watch people argue over them.
|Decide on New Orleans-inspired Drinks
Two drinks that you can make if you want to make if you are trying to make sure that you get your guests drunk are hurricanes and hand grenades. If you’re trying to keep it a little… classier, have the ingreidents on-hand to make a pimm’s cup or the sazerac. And for those who don’t want to drink, maybe consider making sweet tea? (Recipes)
|Decide on New Orleans-inspired Food
The best part about having been down south for so long is the food. Traditional foods include jambalaya, gumbo, red beans and rice, muffulettas, and beignets. The best part is that most of these things can be made in bulk. Looking for some side dishes? Try corn bread, it’s also easily made in bulk. (Recipes)
|Have Your Guests Wear Gold, Purple, and Green
This is probably the easiest way to get people in the spirit for your party because it means they are going to start thinking about celebrating before they even get to the party. Also, this is a good excuse to pull out those purple pants that you can’t remember why you bought. Fun fact: in Baton Rouge the Mardi Gras color of choice is flamingo pink.
|Decorate with Gold, Purple, and Green
This goes along with the previous one, there’s something about being hit with a wall of color when you walk in the door that sets the mood. It feels like you’ve walked into another world. Some dollar store suggestions to do this are table cloths, streamers, and confetti.
|Play Brass Band Music
Don’t know any brass band music? It’s time to check it out. It’s fun, and upbeat, and dancable. AND you don’t really have to know anything, you can just create a Pandora station based on an artist and be introduced to great music for you to enjoy. Also, I highly recommend seeing a brass band live, such awesome energy. (NOLA bands)
That’s it. That’s 2.5 years worth of Louisiana knowledge condensed into one blog post. How’d I do? Do you have any tips or tricks on hosting a Mardi Gras party? I’d love for you to leave them in the comments below.