Next Tuesday is Mardi Gras. One traditional way to celebrate on the Gulf Coast of the United States is by eating a king cake with friends. The king cake is a traditional brioche cake shaped like a ring. It’s colored inside and frosted with the traditional colors of Mardis Gras: green, purple and gold. The Oxford Encyclopedia of Food and Drink in America describes its origins:
The tradition of the king cake arose from Catholic cultures in Europe. In celebration of Twelfth Night, families would share a cake into which a bean had been baked. The person who found the bean was made King or Queen for the day, the finding of the bean commemorating the Wise Men discovering the baby Jesus. Colonists from France and Spain brought the tradition of the Twelfth Night cake to America, and the bean was soon replaced with other trinkets, including coins, amulets, and porcelain babies.
In the United States, the trinket is usually a plastic figurine of a baby. The person who finds the baby in his or her slice must provide the king cake next year.
Food Drunk, a catering service in New Orleans that offers “alcohol influenced cuisine,” made a burger fit for the occasion.