King Cake, Bakeries and Mardis Gras Oral History Project

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King cake coffee, king cake candles and even king cake vodka appear during Mardi Gras season. The flavor has become synonymous with the festival season. Discussions about king cake arise around the city and throughout the United States. Debates about the merits of the traditional brioche or newer Danish pastry abound. Arguments emerge over whether the king cake baby should be placed within the cake or on the side. Each year competitions try and uncover the best king cake of the Mardi Gras season. To examine, analyse and celebrate the distinctive food culture of New Orleans a new Oral History Intern, Rachel Wallace, is running an oral history project on king cake at the Southern Food & Beverage Museum.

Rachel Wallace is a history PhD Student at Queen’s University Belfast in Ireland. She will be researching and interning at the Southern Food & Beverage Museum for the next 6 months. During this time, she will be conducting interviews for the King Cake oral history project which will become a digital and online exhibition in the museum as well as contributing to academic articles on southern foodways.

The King Cake Oral History project will consider the history, evolution and significance of king cake to Mardi Gras in the city. It will also examine the central role of bakeries in this New Orleans tradition.

We are looking for participants to share stories of King Cake, bakeries and Mardi Gras traditions

  • Do you work at bakery that sells King Cake during Mardi Gras?
  • Do you or your family buy King Cake every year during Mardi Gras?
  • Are you part of a Mardi Gras Krewe or tradition that incorporates, or has in the past incorporated, King Cake?

The interviews will take between 30 minutes - 1 hour and will be conducted wherever is convenient to the narrator. Rachel is happy to organize an interview at the museum or she can arrange to meet interviewees at an appropriate location near to their home or business. Interviewees can remain anonymous, if preferred.

This is an exciting opportunity to be contribute your story to SoFAB and be part of the southern food history celebrated at the museum.

If you are interested in participating or would like to ask further questions please contact:

Rachel Wallace