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Why celebrate Mardi Gras when you can be neurotic and celebrate Mardi Gratzer instead?

a slice of vegetarian muffaletta on a plate and a glass of beer
Savory vegetarian muffaletta sandwich
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I prefer Mardi Gratzer

Mardi Gras. Fat Tuesday. Day of festivity, masquerade, debauchery. Last-ditch, all-out effort at fun until Easter. Un-Valentine’s Day for singles.

I’ll be honest. None of this really speaks to me.

I prefer to celebrate Mardi Gratzer — Mardi Gras’ slightly more neurotic, less fun-loving, homebody cousin, derived from my maiden name. Mardi Gratzer takes a lot of the pressure off a winter Tuesday in suburban NJ, a grey snow day with kids piled on the couch with their too much screen time and their CAN I PAINT and all of us still wearing matching Christmas pajamas at noon.

Am I alone this fat Tuesday in preferring less fun, but with really good sandwiches? Somehow I doubt it. So here are a few pointers for celebrating a successful Mardi Gratzer.

Five Tips for a Successful Mardi Gratzer


Spend some time looking at your neck in the mirror. Why does it suddenly look like that? Are you slightly dehydrated? Is that medically significant? Has some secret age threshold triggered a further downward progression of all your bodyfat, leaving the twitchy neck to freeze in the elements while the fat settles all too comfortably on the hips? Is that a swollen lymph node? You know what? It’s probably nothing.


Drink water by the Klean Kanteen-full. Don’t hold back. There’s not enough water in the world to counteract the dehydrating effects of the longish flight back from Nicaragua five days ago and the sub-freezing NJ air. Wonder whether it’s possible for your lips to shrivel completely into your face and disappear, or whether that trend will derail before its ultimate end. Think about how things are chapped that should not be chapped. Do some quick research to see whether there’s a chaps reference that could work here. Realize you cannot un-Google “Mardi Gras A$$less Chaps.” You just can’t.


Think about registering the kids for swimming lessons. Gratzer, you’ve been thinking about doing this for six months now. How many times have you driven past the Y this week alone? Wasn’t 2015 supposed to be the year of Getting Things Done? Let me tell you something: if you never amount to anything more than you already have, it won’t be because of the neck.


Get up to stretch and walk around. Discover and wipe up an almost physically impossible amount of paint spill. Discuss how saying I won’t get any paint on the counter is not really the same as not getting any paint on the counter. Even while you’re still talking, realize how often you’re just going through the parenting motions, saying what’s supposed to be right in case in sticks. A little paint on the counter? Who cares. When you decided on marble you knew it would look lived-in before too long. That’s the kind of kitchen you wanted to have. The kind of person you wanted to be. Swipe a bite of roasted salmon on your way past the stove. Maybe another, or, you know what, two more.


Debate whether to tell people that we actually ate this sandwich yesterday. Do you know what? Full disclosure. We ate this sandwich yesterday. That’s a little sacrifice I made so that you could eat it today. It was worth it. Try it! And I hope you have a wonderful Mardi Gratzer. Though if you prefer to celebrate Mardi Gras, this sandwich will work for that, too.

Whatever you call this day, I hope you enjoy it. Here’s some actually useful information on muffuletta sandwiches.

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About Carolyn Gratzer Cope

Hi there, I'm Carolyn Gratzer Cope, founder and publisher of Umami Girl. Join me in savoring life, one recipe at a time. I'm a professional recipe developer with training from the French Culinary Institute (now ICE) and a lifetime of studying, appreciating, and sharing food.

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