I moved to Oregon in 2009 from my Beloved South.
Upon doing so, I loaded my car with all of my belongings and 15 bags of Zapps potato chips.
They weren’t all for me, but for the people I was staying with along the way. Sort of like a, “Thanks for letting me crash! Here’s a little piece of my story!” I mean, Zapps are delicious! But they’re funny, ya know? That’s the whole idea.
This Saturday, (yikes, tomorrow!) I will be hosting my 5th Mardi Gras party right down the road.
I have very sentimental memories of my first Mardi Gras here. I didn’t know everyone that well. I was still meeting the people my wife knew and loved and was aching for something familiar.
I made fried chicken, hushpuppies, fried pickles and for good measure, (crab) boiled veggies with shrimp. Zapps were a part of it, as well as our favorite King Cake from Paul’s Pastry in Picayune, MS. — my hometown.
The gumbo I didn’t make until our second year. It wasn’t very good. I was up till 2am stirring the roux, not realizing how long it takes to make a proper gumbo. I used carrots instead of bell pepper for the Trinity — which was okay — but not the Trinity, ya know?
We had about 12 people in our tiny apartment.
A couple of years passed and now we’re nearing 40-45 people in a space not my own.
Can’t say that it’s not a little over-whelming to know that, but I’m so excited. It’s so fun to pull something like that off — especially when it’s something that means so much to me. Having people experience that part of my culture and eat some good food along the way. It just does my heart good.
Not to mention it comes at a dreary time in the Northwest. It always lifts my spirit to get that twinge of excitement in the middle of January. Knowing that in a few weeks, we will be celebrating and eating and inevitably dancing with another year of Mardi Gras in Portland.
I’ll let y’all know how it goes. Until then,
I got a roux to make!