What the hell is Mardi Dahm, you ask? Mardi Dahm was a majestic party celebrating my dear friends Andrea and Brandon Dahm’s entrance into the Catholic Church the Sunday before Ash Wednesday. (Yes, we all know that Mardi Dahm technically means Tuesday Dahm and we don’t care; it’s still awesome.) Andrea and Brandon had been seriously considering conversion for two years and reading and learning about the Catholic faith even before that. So, when they finally made the decision and received the Sacrament of Confirmation, everyone was already over it. Wait, just kidding. Everyone was ecstatic and could not wait to celebrate this fulfillment of years’ worth of prayer and study and discernment and struggle and hope and obedience all day long. So that’s what we did.
The Dahms were confirmed at a high Latin Mass, so there was incense and chant and much reference to the Council of Trent. After that joyous (and long and Latin) consummation, we all drove out to a winery for a reception with snacks and cake and, you know, wine.
Friends and family had come from all over to celebrate and support the Dahms—primarily non-Catholics, which is pretty cool. And by “pretty cool” I mean a moving testament to how open and thoughtful Andrea and Brandon have been throughout their long path to the Church. Before their conversion, Andrea and I talked numerous times about how deciding to join the Church was very much like deciding to marry someone (Brandon irritatingly pretends to prefer the analogy of deciding to buy a car…which is absurd); and like a good couple (which, incidentally, they are), both of them had discussed their potential commitment to the Church with the people they love and worked towards that commitment in transparent and intentional ways. This was not an impulsive decision that friends and family had no way of understanding. Thus, their Confirmation was not like one of those weddings when people look nervously at each other and say “I hope this works oooooouuuuuuut.” Andrea and Brandon know what they’re getting into; it’s going to work out.
I left the reception a little early to prepare for Mardi Dahm, which was a slightly more intimate gathering later that night, primarily consisting of our Catechism reading group. Clearly, this party was Mardi Gras themed, so that did some of the planning for me—I already happened to have both mustard and purple colored table cloths (except that the purple one is just a big piece of fabric I bought for a craft that I never followed through on). I got some purple and green plates and napkins, made bacon wrapped apricots with sage, grabbed a bottle of bourbon, and of course we knew we’d need a King’s Cake. The Dahms love France and French food so I decided to make the French Galette des Rois (a puff pastry cake with almond filling). Easy.
The party was held at friend Ryan’s house, which is spacious and ready for a party. I realized after the tables were all set up with food and drink that I had totally forgotten to make a Mardi Dahm sign. It was one of those moments when you would throw a fit out of incongruously extreme frustration if it was at all socially acceptable. To compensate I sent my friend DeAnn a wholly unnecessary text expressing disappointment in myself for not making a sign. This is what friends are for. Luckily, Ryan saved the day with some cards and scissors, and I had just enough time to create a (perfect) Mardi Dahm sign, which Ryan then improved with the addition of Martin Luther King Jr.’s face. Nothing like MLK’s face for a Confirmation party.
After everyone had arrived and milled about and gotten a drink, a few of us offered toasts to the happy converts and expressed how lucky we are to know them and be a part of their conversion.
We then weirdly forced them to cut the King’s Cake together and passed pieces around.
And so that was Mardi Dahm: one of the best days of 2013. If you’re interested in the Gallette des Rois, I recommend this recipe. It is fluffy and rich and delicious. If you’re interested in bacon wrapped apricots with sage, then use your common sense. Just kidding, here’s the (probably unnecessary) recipe:
Bacon Wrapped Apricots with Sage
- Dried apricots
- Fresh sage leaves
- Preheat your oven to 350.
- Cut bacon strips into thirds.
- Wrap a dried apricot or apricot half and one medium sage leaf in slices you have sliced until you run out of bacon or apricots.
- Place them all on a cookie sheet and bake until brown (about 20 minutes). I turn them halfway so they’re browned evenly.
- Cool/drain on some paper towels.
- Try not to eat them all.