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Let the good times roll! Good bye king cakes!

Thank goodness Fat Tuesday has finally arrived.

The king cake season is about to be over, concluding a long and arduous season of gluttony that began with the build up to Halloween.

Tomorrow will be the day for repentance and begging for forgiveness.

Time to give up all the excess and turn to a Spartan life, and in my case, hopefully lose some of the extra weight I’ve put on during the long holiday season.

After all, spring is on the horizon and with it will come the swimsuit season, or at least the time to don the shorts and T-shirts.

Fortunately, Mardi Gras came a little bit earlier this year than last, one more week might have put me over the limit of king cakes and I’d have to go out and buy a whole new set of elastic waistband pants.

In case you haven’t noticed, king cakes come in a variety of flavors and from a variety of makers, available even in these parts throughout the Mardi Gras season.

King cake makers, mostly from the New Orleans area, are adept at shipping their cakes off to our grocery store shelves.

The basic king cake has a little bit of cinnamon with a sugary, multi-colored sprinkling on top.

They are good, but in case that’s not enough to keep you happy, makers now put cream cheese inside the round confections that have a hole in the middle sort of like a giant donut.

As if the cream cheese were not enough, and perhaps inspired by donuts, king cake makers also have a variety of fruit fillings they are happy to add to the cakes to pull you in — cherry, strawberry, blueberry, lemon, raspberry, apple. Woo!

I love them all and so far this season I’ve eaten almost all of them.

As if the multiple fruit fillings were not enough, you can get pecan praline flavored king cakes, almond wedding flavored king cakes, Bavarian king cakes . . . the list goes on and on.

Then there are the king cake flavored ice-creams, king cake coffees. I’ve even seen an advertisement for a king cake-flavored vodka.

No wonder we have lent, which begins the Wednesday after Fat Tuesday each year and lasts approximately 40 days until the Thursday before Easter or thereabouts depending upon which religious tradition you might follow.

The purpose of Lent, according to Wikipedia, “is the preparation of the believer for Easter through prayer, doing penancemortifying the fleshrepentance of sins, almsgiving, and denial of ego. This event is observed in the AnglicanEastern OrthodoxLutheranMethodistMoravianOriental OrthodoxReformed, and Roman Catholic Churches. Some Anabaptist and evangelical churches also observe the Lenten season.”

Even if you don’t follow a religious tradition a period of abstention might be advised after the long glutinous holiday period.

Can I get an Amen?

So for this Lenten period I hereby give up king cakes, all flavors, all sizes and all varieties.

I’ll even go one further and say, I won’t eat any king cake until next Mardi Gras season, and it shouldn’t be too hard to do since the king cakes will magically disappear from store shelves and out of temptation’s way after today and will not come back until after next New Year.

Thanks goodness!

Happy Mardi Gras and let the abstention begin.

Scott Hawkins is editor of The Natchez Democrat. Reach him at 601-445-3540 or scott.hawkins@natchezdemocrat.com.