I was feeling a little bummed on the morning of January 6.
I remembered it was Twelfth Night, and I wanted King Cake.
While I was in Louisiana for Christmas, I considered bringing the King Cake recipe with me back to Mexico. I found it YEARS ago in a book in the Calcasieu Parish Public Library: “New Orleans King Cake.” (I wish I could remember the name of the book.) I have made it half a dozen times or so since then–most recently, two years ago on a wet and freezing January day when pine boughs loaded with ice were falling into the roads.
But I rejected the idea of bringing the recipe to Mexico with me because, I told myself, my kitchen is too small, I don’t have the equipment, blah, blah, blah, etc., etc.
So there I was, really homesick, and I had just returned to Mexico from Louisiana the previous weekend! I looked around on YouTube and found a Twelfth Night in Lake Charles video. I wanted to be in Lake Charles. I decided I’d have one of my kids take a picture of the recipe and send it to me so I could make a King Cake after all.
And lo and behold, there was a King Cake in the teacher’s lounge!
Twelfth Night is the eve of The Epiphany; in the Christian tradition, the day the Three Kings came to visit the Baby Jesus in Bethlehem. Here in El Norte, El Dia de Reyes is celebrated as sort of an extension of Christmas Day, but with smaller gifts. The special bread is called Rosca de Reyes (literally, the Ring of the Kings).
Boy was I happy!
Sure, it’s different. It doesn’t have purple and green sprinkles; it has some candied fruits. It’s flavored with anise instead of cinnamon.
But it’s sweet bread and it’s in a circle. And it has a baby in it.
And if you “get the baby,” you don’t bring a King Cake next Friday. You bring tamales on Ash Wednesday.
Wow, I really love this.
I really do.