Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Rambling thoughts and musings...400 posts???

I've had a couple of questions related to New Orleans so I thought it would be good for a post. The brain is a bit numb from too many crawfish and the delicious earthiness of Dixie Blackened Voodoo Lager, so I know I can write this! (I probably have crawfish still trying to escape me through my ears----I have no sense once I start eating them.)
The above photo for those who have not seen one is a King Cake. They are served through carnival season only (traditionally) though now can be ordered from commercial bakeries in the South. The dough--at least what I make--is a sweet yeast dough that takes a long time to rise. It is then seperated into three pieces, rolled flat, and filling is inserted. I have occasionally done three different fillings but the original usually has cinnamon, or in some cases, no filling at all. Then the three lengths of dough are braided, and shaped into an oval or circle. When baked, the cake is iced and sprinkled with the green, yellow and purple sugars---the colors of Mardi Gras.
New cakes have a tiny plastic baby baked in; older cakes inserted a lima bean or dime---as these were taken to parties and served, the person who got the piece with the inserted item was responsible for making the next cake, or it was considered a sign of good luck. (I've always put the bean in mine.....)
These are delicious pastry and there are numerous variations on recipes. If you're up to a full day's work, try making one. You'll understand why they are worth the effort.

Images in my header.

I have had a few questions about the images in the header---so let's start with the one of the ex-votos. That is from the ex-voto room at St. Roch's Cemetary chapel. They are just larger version of the small milagros I use in my work. Try Googling ex-votos, it can explain it all better. The cross photo is a color enhanced version of a pic I took of the door to the chapel of the Ursilines convent. They have about a full quarter of a block for their convent/compound in the Quarter. The postcard is one I've saved from when my grandmother visited the city, oh.....I have no idea what year, but the style of the image gives you an idea. I still need to frame it; note to self! Then the final picture is LaFittes Blacksmith Shoppe (yes, Jean LaFitte the Pirate), which is now a bar. Gary and I were photographed in front of it by a professional photographer trying to meet deadline for a travel publication. He was kind enough to shoot our photo with my camera too.......this is strictly the building and if I am not mistaken, it is the oldest in the Quarter. There was a horrible fire that consumed almost every original wood building in the area. How this one stood......  At any rate, it is slowly sinking into the *terra-nonfirma* of the area. I am not sure there is a single bit of the structure that would measure square. It is so interesting to really look at the materials in it in person because it appears to be quite close to the crumble point, yet it has withstood hurricanes.
Amazing.
These are all things that inspire/influence my art work, and that was how I chose them over whatever I was making at the moment. Art changes but inspiration tends to stay.

Yesterday, late, I noticed I had reached my 400th post. I was delighted it was on Fat Tuesday! I can't believe I have blithered that much, but those of you trying to slog through this blog probably can...LOL!! Hmmmmmm.......I may have to figure out a little something to celebrate with for us all. Give my brain a day or two.
And now I am off to sewing. I'm not sure it will be creative work, but it is paying work which lets me be (or BUY!) creative! So I hope y'all have a good creative day too, make something wonderful, or just go look for King Cake recipes.
And enjoy your time, whatever you choose!

Pax.

45 comments:

Silke said...

Oh, I enjoyed reading this!! The few times we've been to New Orleans, we have just loved it! Although one time was right after Mardi Gras (during our spring break when we were still in college) and the sanitation department was on strike - it was a wonderful, but smelly visit. ;-)

400 posts!! Congratulations! It seems like yestereday was good day for celebrations all around...

Enjoy your day!! Love, Silke

Anne Huskey-Lockard said...

Hey Silke,

Yes, New Orleans has a most interesting scent.....and one best not to describe! LOL!!! *UNIQUE*,I guess, is a good term. Stink is more accurate.
Yes, yesterday was rather good! :)

XXOO!!
Anne

Tristan Robin Blakeman said...

What a nice post - lots of little tidbits and trivia! I have only once been invited to share a King Cake - and you know, it looked just like yours!

400 posts! holy cow! LOL You have twice the posts I do! I only have 230-something-or-other! You're a good blogger!

Enjoy sewing. I have to clean the studio up and then start making it a mess again.

Marilyn said...

I just loved reading this......
So much about New Orleans I don't know. I always wanted to see this beautiful city.... Never could understand why a huge city was built in a bowl. With the water pumped in both directions..in & out. I love to read about the swamps & Grand Isle intrigues me. Talk about a Hurricane target. Might as well put a bulls-eye on it!!
Well, I guess I am better off staying in the north because as a Northener from the mountains of Pennsylvania I would probably get eaten by some "swamp thing"!!
Great Post!!
Love,
Marilyn
xxoo
xxoo

Anne Huskey-Lockard said...

Hey Tristan,

I don't know about the *good blogger* part.....I just think I like to talk and if there is no one to listen, then I write!!! LOL!!!
What a hoot.....I never thought I would make it past the first month...
My studio needs cleaning besides the sewing, but you know how that goes. ;)

XXOO!!
Anne

Anne Huskey-Lockard said...

Ah Marilyn,

There are so many wonderful things there to see, it is worht a trip...or two.
I am not sure when it was built that it was *quite* that low. The Quarter was built on the highest ground, and things just sort of spread out from there.
Having the Mississippi rerouted and then the one commercial canal put in really compromised the city.
It never was *really* high ground, but so much has changed......
I promise I'll start writing about something else! LOL!!!

XXOO!!
Anne

Christine's Beadworks said...

Anne, I always like starting my day with you and a nice cup of coffee. Congrats on your 400 post and I can almost smell your KingCake. (I think I'd prefer the lima bean to the baby). I'm off to class to hammer away on some metal. hugs, Christine

Anne Huskey-Lockard said...

Hey Christine!

Thanks for the compliment! It gives me incentive for the next 400!!! LOL!
Have a great day and have fun hammering!!!

XXOO!!
Anne

MyPinkTurtle said...

Bonjour Anne! I never seem to have the time to leave comments on your blog that I enjoy so much visiting... Slow speed rural connection, you know ... Last I drove from Quebec to Louisiana was quite an experience. Quite often we would be beeped on the highway by a truck or car driver and thought something was wrong with our vehicle. Until someone rolled down his window and screamed at us "Laissez les bons temps rouler!" (Let the good times roll!). I have aways been amazed at how people there wanted to speak the remnants of French they kept through the years... I really enjoyed visiting your studio and love your art! Bravo for your 400th post! Take care, LuLu

Anne Huskey-Lockard said...

Hey Lulu!

Thanks for stopping by!
Yes, I love hearing the Cajun voice, and how the culture has remained unique, even all these years!
Glad you enjoy this blog---I love your work and EVENTUALLY will own a piece!
Love the car story!!!
Take care and keep making that spectacular art!!

XXOO!!
Anne

The Garden Bell said...

Congrats on your 400th. That's sure a lot of blogging. I was happy just to get to 100. Love all your M.G ramblings today. We even had Jambayla last night.

Have a good one.

Kate xoxox

Tangible Threads said...

I am a huge fan of NOLA so it's been nice reading your post. I was able to have my King Cake during Madi Gras back in 1984. It is yummy for sure. I was not lucky enough to have a trinket piece but suffice, the cake was quite promising in ruining my waste line at the time. :) I love the photo's you've had to go along with your post. Very vibrant and so N.O.'s!!

Hope you are a bit less stiff today. I'll be glad when the sun begins to rule the day again.
Hugs
T

audrey said...

Congratulations, Anne, on your 400th Post!! You have a beautiful Blog and all your posts are such fun to read. If we can't enjoy you in person, this is the next best thing.
The King Cake looks WONDERFUL!! I want one!! But, I sure don't have a day anytime soon to devote to making one cake!! It reminds me a little of the Italian Easter cake with the egg in the middle.
Thanks for sharing the info on your header. Very interesting.
Have a great day, Anne!
♥ audrey

Jan said...

Congratulations on your 401st post! I am certain I have read every one although not commented every time. thanks for the info on the King cake. so if you put a bean in your cake, and if your DH gets that piece, does that mean he bakes the cake next year? Just wonderin'....

Anne Huskey-Lockard said...

Hi Kate!

Ummmmmm....jambalaya!!! :)
Now I'm going to have to behave for Lent. (sigh)
Will have to find something else to blither on about until I have pics of the sewing! LOL!
Take care!

XXOO!!
Anne

Anne Huskey-Lockard said...

Hey T,

Yeah, things are better jointwise today. I am able to bend and move and walk, which is always a perk! HA!
I did have fun with all the Mardi Gars stuff....I guess if you can't BE there...... ;)
Take care!

XXOO!!
Anne

Anne Huskey-Lockard said...

Hi Audrey!

Actually, I am much more entertaining on blog---if you get sick of me, you can just click off the page! LOL!!! :D
The King Cake is much like the Easter cakes; I am guessing somewhere along the history line, they were realted. Dad used to make Greek Easter Bread that was a full day to do but oh my; how heavenly!
I occasionally make it only because it makes a massive amount.
And I could eat it all.
Have a good one!

XXOO!!
Anne

Anne Huskey-Lockard said...

Jan---LOL!!! DH??? Bake the cake???
I think that only applies to taking it to someone elses house!
Around here, I am the only baker, and I don't do that like I used to.
Not that my waistline needs another sweet tidbit....
Now go bake something!

XXOO!!
Anne

Julie ZS said...

That King Cake looks really yummy! Your description made me wonder how many teeth are broken on dimes and beans and plastic babies?? I can just imagine chomping down on one. Oh hey I won! (a trip to the dentist). Guess it is part of living dangerously, taking risks, and letting go to have some fun...which sounds an awful lot like N.O. to me!

Anne Huskey-Lockard said...

Hey Julie.....

Consider the amount of alcohol consumed, and one might not even KNOW that they swallowed or bit the inserted item!!! LOL!!
I think it's one of those things that you *look for it*---at least we always did....and had no trauma. ;)

XXOO!!
Anne

Susie Jefferson said...

Fat Tuesday... it was Shrove Tuesday in the UK, so I was making pancakes, drizzled with lemon juice & sugar then rolled up. We each managed four, so no wonder it's Fat Tuesday in the US.

This post was fascinating, I didn't know the feet etc were votives (votos?) I just thought they were something seriously weird, possibly used in vodoun ceremonies or something. But they summed up New Orleans, Baton Rouge etc to me. Hot jazz, smoky bourbon etc.

Living in the UK, all this is so tremendously exotic! Still, we have Whitby, Bram Stoker and Dracula so it ain't all bad...

Anne Huskey-Lockard said...

Hey Susie,

And YES! I know Whtiby and Bram---a big Dracula fan!!! And St. Michael's Mount where they filmed the exterior scenes of the Frank Langella version of Dracula.......
The different ex-votos are usually (if I have this right) purchased and put in the church, praying for a healing of the item specified; if you have foot problems, then a foot ex-voto would be what you would want. I am not sure if this goes back to Spanish influence since the small silver washed Milagros are still used in Mexico....
But truly, that photo IS some of the real, unique history of the area!
The pancakes sound really good too---but then pancakes always sound good to me! :) Most food does...

XXOO!!
Anne

yoborobo said...

Hi Anne! You took us on a trip! LOL! I've never been to NO, but I am determined to get there. I can tell you love the place, and I can see it has influenced your art. :) As for cake, leave out the plastic baby, please, but pass me a slice! xoxo Pam
PS Congrats on the 400th post!

Anne Huskey-Lockard said...

Hey Pam,

I think all us bloggers should MEET UP down there and wreak havoc on the Quarter!!! LOL!!
And we'll just BUY beads and give them to eash other.....much safer, less humiliation! HA!
Today is pennance....sewing....pffft! >:(

XXOO!!
Anne

Leslie said...

Oi, three hundred and 50 to go to catch up, LOL.

I haven't seen a King Cake that looked so pretty in a long time.

I thought the person that found the baby, bean, coin, whatever, was therefore King Fool or somesuch? Didn't realize they had to bake a cake.

Anne Huskey-Lockard said...

Hey Leslie,

Well, I figure if you have to bake the next cake, then you're pretty much King Fool! LOL!!
That is what I have heard from the very old parties; it could be different in different areas....
All I know is I am perpetually King Fool!

XXOO!!
Anne

*Ulrike* said...

I always love reading your post. I've heard about the cake, but never seen one. I've been wanting to make a trip to New Orleans, probably a 7 hour drive for us. My hubby used to live in Lake Charles for a while. 400 posts is quite a lot! It will be a while before I'm there!
Take Care!
Ulrike
~~~
P.S. I'll skip on your snow now since we've had ours! Oh! and I looked to see if the German online shop was still selling the heart tissues, but didn't see any. :(

Marie S said...

Oh Anne I loved reading this.
Now I want to go to New Orleans more than ever.
My dad used to tell me stories so well. He was there alot as a kid.
Congratulations on 400, have a great week.

Mary Helen-Art Saves Lives said...

Oh Anne I have never been to Now Orleans but I have always wanted to go and take in the city with all my senses...yes I have been warned about the smell. The history, the arts, the foods and music are all Pied Pipers to entice one to travel down South. I was so happy to hear that the Saints won the Superbowl 2010 was a special gift to all the survivors! I love your post...Tristan is right it is like we are on a journey with you. Imagine and Live In Peace, Mary Helen Fernandez Stewart

Magpie's Mumblings said...

It's 11:30 p.m. and my bed is calling, but just popped in to say thank you for the King Cake info...it looks & sounds SO good!

Anne Huskey-Lockard said...

Hi Ulrike,

Y'all ought to try and go to N.O. around Halloween. It is a lot of fun then, MUCH cooler (though that is relative!) and eventhough there are tourists, it is not as jammed and wild as M.G. We always went in the Fall and loved it.
I don't think I could breathe in the dead of Summer, but if humidity is not an issue, you can get some good rates then!
hey, thanks for checking in the tissues!!!♥♥♥

XXOO!!
Anne

Anne Huskey-Lockard said...

Marie, GO!!! I guarantee with the work you do, you would be so inspired; shape,texture, different things to design.
Write it off as a business expense, but GO! :)

XXOO!!
Anne

Anne Huskey-Lockard said...

Hi Mary Helen,

I remember the first time we went, the SMELL just about sent me to the pavement! It had been a wet summer and, well, swamp land doesn't smell like a rose!
You get over the shock after the first day, or at least as day turns to twilight and the whole place takes on this different century quality.....
I'm not sure I could walk it now, but I want to return at least one more time.....

XXOO!!
Anne

Anne Huskey-Lockard said...

Hi MA!!

Sure wish we all could sit with cup in hand together and cut into one! Would be most delightful!!!
Thanks for taking a sec to pop in!

XXOO!!
Anne

Ces said...

OMG! I walked yesterday and tried to squeeze it in my tight schedule, I almost fainted, so I rushed back to the office before my 4-hour class/training on a new application. They had a Mardi gras celebration and guess what KING CAKEs Yes!!! Cakes. So I ate a lot of King cake and that saved me from fainting. Long Live the King (cake).

I thought the items on the header were from the cobblers! Heheheheh!

Thank you dearest Anne for the offer of five million sugar ants. Thank goodness, maybe we don't need them BUT, I am so grateful that you led me to Audrey. First the Angel Tree is non-pareil. Then Audrey is a wonderful and sweet lady. So thank you for introducing me to her.

Have a wonderful day dear Anne.

Anne Huskey-Lockard said...

Oh Ces, I should be pea-green with envy, but you made me laugh hard enough that the cake-envy passed!!!
I think the ant offer is still valid for anyone who tries to steal from anyone's blog, but most of them are dead now, so I'll just save them in their sticky-traps....LOL!!!
Thought you'd love Audrey!

XXOO!!!!
Anne...cakeless.....SOB!

Ces said...

I am so happy I made you laugh. I hope you are having a most prolififc and creative day! Tsup!

They had leftover King cake in the coffee Room but I am eating Girl Scout cookies... see now I know why I am not losing weight. Hahahahaha!

Ces said...

Oh Anne, I really don’t know whether I should tell you this because I feel bad that you have not had any King cake. Next year, please remind me so I can Fedex a cake for you. I followed your advice and I ran to the coffee room and sure enough the King Cake leftovers were still there together with poisonous cookies and pastries. Who brings all these terrible cookies, pastries, donuts and cakes to work? Only the King Cake is good. So to honor you, I had to force myself to eat a leftover King cake. It was hard for me since I just finished eating peach yogurt and a banana but as a good friend I must not fail you. So I ate the King cake AND the King was still on it and as I gave it my first bite I murmured “This one is for Anne.” I even had the event photographed. I will share it later when get home. I washed the King and he is now on my desk. Do you want me to send the King to you? He is naked.

Silke said...

Oh, I just read Ces's comment about king cake and I remember a cafe in Albuquerque selling it before Mardi Gras. I'm not sure though - it had a sort of almond paste filling and I just LOVED it! Ok, now I'm hungry...

I hope you are doing well today!! Are you doing something fun?!? Love, Silke

Anne Huskey-Lockard said...

Silke,

I had used almond paste as a filling once and did not want to share! It was soooooo good! Reminded me of some of the pasteries we got over seas, where they KNOW how to make pastry!
Ces made me laugh so hard I am useless.
It is her fault..... <:)

XXOO!!
Anne

Ces said...

OMG! What are you doing to me?!!!

Yes! I licked the naked King and I played with him with my tongue I almost swallowed him and almost choked. Thank goodness I had very good gag reflex. The King is happily sitting on the throne standing in front of me.

Ces said...

Oh by the way, yes, the King tasted like Almond.

Ces said...

Yes, the King is happy. he is surrounded by six women, a mental ninja and Hello Kitty!

Deborah said...

Oh my, Anne, you are better than an encyclopedia! Much more entertaining. Grandmother...would that be the nasty, not-nice grandmother? BOOOOOO HISSSSSS.
Now I'm hungry. But Ces licked all the cake. ♥♥♥
Deb

Anne Huskey-Lockard said...

Deb, I am more COLORFUL than an encyclopedia! HAHAHA!!!
And yes, Ces licked all the cake and left none for us, and she ENJOYED IT too! ;)

XXOO!!
Anne

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