Mardi Gras, Fat Tuesday, the ancient festival celebrated all through Europe, officially starts on 11/11 at 11:11, and ends with Mardi Gras, the day before Ash Wednesday, fifty days before Easter—Lent, a fifty-day span of denial.
Masquerade parties and get-togethers involving food, drink, and fun conclude on Tuesday—the day preceding Ash Wednesday.
Traditionally Kreppel – a yeast-based pastry fried in hot grease – is eaten on fat Tuesday – the last day of indulgence and reveling.
Even though living far away from Europe –my German friends who live in Point Pleasant, Cottageville, Coolville, Gallipolis, Pomeroy, Vinton, Athens and Bidwell, and I have frequent get-togethers sharing food, friendship, ideas and reading materials, with one of us being hostess for all of us.
My turn in February one year, I planned to have Fat Tuesday, Mardi Gras at my home. All of us dressed up in a variety of costumes: Monika was a clown with a pink-blue-yellow wig, Alix was Marlene Dietrich in a slinky dress, multi-jewelry and a meter-long (fake) cigarette, Gabi wore lederhosen, knee socks and a Tyrolean hat, Marianne and I, wearing traditional Dirndl, were Moroccan Princess with an embroidered outfit, crown and jewelry.
The house was decorated with streamers, balloons and sparklers. Karnaval songs were piped in on the hi-fi and accompanied by our singing and humming.
Everyone especially enjoyed Kreppel (krapfen), which were served hot, right out of the pot.
Kreppel, a cousin of beignets; so popular in New Orleans.
1 package active dry yeast
1-cup warm water (105°-115°)
¾ cup canned evaporated milk
¼ cup Sugar
1 tsp. salt
1 large egg, lightly beaten
4 to 4-½ cups all-purpose flour
Sifted powdered sugar
Combine: yeast and warm water in a 2 cup glass-measuring cup, let stand 5 minutes.
Combine yeast mixture, evaporated milk and next 5 ingredients. Gradually stir in enough flour to make soft dough. Cover and refrigerate 8 hours.
Turn dough out onto a well-floured surface, kneading 5 to 6 times, roll out, and cut round or oval Kreppel.,
Pour oil to depth of 3-4 inches into deep-fry pan, heat to 375°. Fry 3-4 Kreppel at a time 1 minute on each side or until golden brown.
Drain on paper towels, sprinkle with powdered sugar; may fill with jam or cool whip if desired.
Yield: 2-2 ½ dozen.
Ilse Burris is a member of the Point Pleasant Writer’s Guild which produced a book called “Recipes and Remembrances.”