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updated: 2/6/2013 11:41 AM

Mardi Gras rice fritters

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  • Cheryl Boyd of Spring Valley, Minn., eats calas cake at The Old Coffeepot Restaurant in the French Quarter of New Orleans. Calas can be tough to find these days, but they have a rich history that spans the great cuisines of New Orleans.

      Cheryl Boyd of Spring Valley, Minn., eats calas cake at The Old Coffeepot Restaurant in the French Quarter of New Orleans. Calas can be tough to find these days, but they have a rich history that spans the great cuisines of New Orleans.
    Associated Press

  • Calas cake with powdered sugar is available at The Old Coffeepot Restaurant in the French Quarter of New Orleans.

      Calas cake with powdered sugar is available at The Old Coffeepot Restaurant in the French Quarter of New Orleans.
    Associated Press

  • Waitress Gaynell James serves up calas cake from the kitchen at The Old Coffeepot Restaurant in the French Quarter of New Orleans. Calas, tangy rice fritters born to go with cafe au lait.

      Waitress Gaynell James serves up calas cake from the kitchen at The Old Coffeepot Restaurant in the French Quarter of New Orleans. Calas, tangy rice fritters born to go with cafe au lait.
    Associated Press

 
By Michelle Kayal
Associated Press

A poor sister to the more glamorous and better known beignet, calas (ka-las) are made from leftover rice folded into a sweetened egg batter, then dropped into a fryer. deep-fried sweet lusciousness. for more than a century, calas were a staple new orleans street food, sold on sunday mornings by creole women carrying baskets of the fritters on their heads. but after world war ii, say local chefs and culinary figures, calas largely left public life, most likely the victim of wartime rationing.

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