While anyone with any sense of decency has been celebrating Mardi Gras for at least a few days now, tomorrow is the big blowout — Fat Tuesday. It's the day where we all load up on everything wonderful to eat and drink before the devout among us pare down for Lent. There's no sense in being stingy tomorrow, so go ahead and fill up your shopping cart so you can go a little crazy and have the fattest Fat Tuesday, ever.
The secret to success is to plan to eat and drink all day long. Forget going to work. Forget eating vegetables. Today is about excess.
Start out with a tall stack of pancakes first thing in the morning. We like both classic buttermilk and spiced pumpkin pancakes, although a giant Elvis-inspired pancake stack cake would not be inappropriate. Not only are pancakes tyipcal Fat Tuesday fare in the Anglican (and often Catholic) tradition, they are also delicious and full of stomach-lining carbs. You will need these carbs as you enter the drinking phase of the day, which starts in minutes.
Since it's likely early morning, and you're planning to celebrate all day long, you'll want to start your alcohol consumption on the lighter side. Think mimosas or another Champagne cocktail, such as this cranberry fizz. If it's already warm outside, a frozen rose slushie wouldn't be out of the question, and neither would be a Topo Chico paloma.
Now that your stomach is starting to get full of food and drink, it's time for an activity. If you're in a city that is hosting parades, head down for a few hours of street partying. If not, we recommend taking an hour or two to decorate hats and masks for later. Keep snacks on hand, such as buttermilk pralines or Cajun crackers, as you paint, glitter and dabloon up a storm.
Finally. It's lunchtime. There's no better Mardi Gras midday meal than giant po'boy sandwiches. Our favorite po'boys are filled with fried shrimp, but really, the sky's the limit when it comes to filling. Fry any seafood you like, or even go meaty with roast beef. Our quick remoulade sauce is a crucial ingredient, but luckily, as the name implies, is easy to whip up. If you don't want to pull out a fryer, you can also use shrimp remoulade as a filling — all it requires is a pot of water for poaching.
Or skip the po'boys all together and head to the deli for muffaleta fixings. If you buy your olive salad pre-made, these sandwiches can be ready in minutes.
If you're entertaining a crowd, buy several baguettes and slice them sandwich-size. Have your guests build their own sandwiches, buffet-style, with protein, sauce, and plenty of lettuce and tomato. On the side, Zapp's chips are a must-have, along with Abita beer to drink.
Ok, let's be real: It's probably time for a nap. We recommend leaning into this urge and take what is known among certain blogger circles as a "coffee nap." Pour yourself a cup of joe (or chicory coffee, if you're feeling especially NOLA), drink it quickly, and then lay down in bed. Chances are, you'll be snoozing before you know it. When the caffeine kicks in after 30 or 45 minutes, you'll be wide awake and ready to start celebrating again. (Note: This has not been recommended by actual doctors.)
After eating and drinking for most of the day, you'll likely want to cook up something on the easier side for dinner. Our one-pot jambalaya is an excellent choice, not only because it is easy, but also because its mix of carbs and protein will give you energy and sustenance to see you through the rest of the night. You could also consider cooking red beans in an Instant Pot and serve them atop a bowl of rice, or go big (since that's what we're doing today) with a pot of gumbo. Make the roux in the oven to prevent scorching while you sip on another beer. Or if you really need a quick and easy dinner option, toss together these jumbo barbecue shrimp — the recipe takes less than an hour, start to finish.
To drink with dinner, you can certainly open a bottle of wine or two. Sparkling wines pair with all kinds of dishes, and they're celebratory, so those get our vote. If liquor is the name of the game at night, channel New Orleans with a few sazeracs or boost your energy with a big batch of black tea-filled Strong Palmers.
For dessert (there must be dessert), you can't go wrong with a giant king cake. We've got two recipes if you're up for baking your own, or you can order one online, plastic baby included. If your frier is still up and running after lunch, you could also whip up a batch of quick beignets — just don't forget to follow our guide for mess-free eating.
Pull back out those masks you've decorated and don them as you dive into your dinner. Feeling indulged? Good. You've done it up right.
Want some more ideas?
Check out our full guide to Mardi Gras here