Happy New Year from France!
This is the time of year where many people make New Year resolutions from what they wish to accomplish or wish to complete.
With this in mind, I did some historical research to figure out where the whole tradition started.
According to several sources, the tradition of the New Year's Resolutions goes back to 153 B.C.
Janus, the mythical king and Roman god of beginnings and the guardian of doors and entrances, was placed as the head of the calendar. He was depicted with two faces, one on the front of his head, the other on the back, and it was this that allowed him to look back on past events and look forward into the future. Thus, Janus became the ancient symbol for resolutions.
At midnight, the Romans imagined Janus looking back on the past year and forward into the New Year. Romans then began a tradition of exchanging gifts on New Year’s Eve by giving one another sacred tree branches for good fortune, which later on, coins with the god Janus’ visage or nuts became more common.
In fact, the celebration of the New Years is one of the oldest of all holidays, first observed in ancient
Babylon more than 4000 years ago. Of course, back then, the Babylonian New Year began with the first New Moon or first visible crescent moon after Spring Equinox in March. According to historians, it made sense to begin the New Year in Spring, as it is the season of rebirth and when Mother Earth is ripe for planting new crops.
They go on to say that the Babylonian New Year celebration lasted for eleven days!
The Romans continued to observe the New Year in late March, however it was in 153 B.C. that the Roman senate changed the calendar and declared January 1st to be the beginning of the New Year. Calendar tampering (by various Roman emperors) continued until Julius Caesar established the Julian Calendar in 46 B.C.
Caesar allowed January 1 to continue as the New Year, however in order to synchronize the calendar with the sun, he had to let the previous year drag on for 445 days. Ave Caesar!!
Can you believe it’s already 2012? How time flies and how it seems to drag on. As we look into the coming months and the changes this year will bring, I wish you and your families good luck, fortune, health, and above all love as you make your RESOLUTIONS, may they be your REVOLUTION and your EVOLUTION, whatever they may be!
Check out the recipe and tradition below! ENJOY!
Galette des Rois/Brioche des Rois: A French Tradition and Recipe!
In France, the entire month of January is synonymous with sharing dessert in celebration of l'Epiphanie. This is the day on which the three kings (“Les Trois Mages”) Gaspard, Balthazar and Melchior came to pay their tribute to the world-famous baby born just a couple of weeks before.
The actual day is January 6th, but it’s celebrated all month long.
This day has lost its religious significance in most French families, gaining a sweeter, much more buttery one. Families and friends in Paris and the North share a “Galette des Rois”, a flaked pastry pie filled with frangipane, a butter-rich, smooth mixture of crème d'amande (almond cream) and crème pâtissière (pastry cream); However in the South (so, here!), the tradition is maintained with a Brioche des Rois, a delicate cake.
The best thing about the Fête des Rois, apart from its delicious cake and another excuse to get together, is the family ritual that goes with it. The youngest child of the family hides under the table, an adult divides the galette in even slices, and the child calls out which slice goes to whom.
This is VERY important, because “la fève” is hidden in the galette. Historically a dry fava bean (hence the name), it is now a little porcelain figure. Whoever gets the fève in his serving is named King (or Queen) for the day, gets to wear the golden paper crown that comes with the galette, picks who the Queen (or King) will be.
It’s also so easy to make your own. Here’s the recipe:
3 Galette des Rois
2 sheets ready-made pie crusts, pâtes feuilletées (au beurre)
140g almond powder (poudre d’amande)
75g butter, softened
Mix the butter and the sugar until the mix whitens, then add the beaten eggs and the ground almond, mix well. In the middle of the first sheet of puff pastry, pour the mix.
Don’t forget to place “a fève” in at this point!
Lay the second sheet on top, and roll the sides of the sheets together towards the inside to seal the galette. With a knife, draw diagonal lines in both direction (so that they cross each other) to create the pattern. Then with a brush, spread the yolk on the whole cake to give it a golden colour.
Put in an oven for 30 minutes at 200° C Serve warm.
Written and Recipe by Linda Martin, an American living in Bordeaux
Ma Vie en Rose!
My love list for December 30, 2011
Mussels (moules): So good and tasty and easy, you'd want to slap somebody!
Feast your eyes and indulge in this super easy, super tasty dish!
French food can remain a mystery to many, however as I have come to learn, (and will definately share!) all it takes is just a little creativity and a willingness to try something new!
With that said, I give you Moules à la Margot!
To give you a quick backstory, her name is Margot: A beautiful French woman who I met while walking my dog. Turns out, Margot lived in the United States for a short spell and was eager to practice her English with me and thus invited me over for an apéro (ah pear oh). So, I showed up to her place armed with a bottle of wine and didn't leave her apron strings until she told me to sit down and enjoy, and I did!!!
This is what she made, hence the name.
Again, this is one of the easiest and tastiest meals I have prepared! My sweet husband and my sweet 3-year-old nephew throughly enjoyed this, in fact, he told me and I quote, "C'est TROP BON, Tata!" -- "It's too good, Auntie!" Bless his heart! :D
Key to mastering French food:
1. Don't over think it.
2. It is all about presentation
(still working on that one myself)
3. Use BUTTER or CREAM or BOTH!
Moules à la Margot!
Mussels have hair, you need to cut them off with either your knife or scissors. Use scissors, it is easier. Must do for each mussel!
But First, cut the hairs off the mussels. (pic 3 & 4) This can be a bit time consuming, so I use scissors, in my opinion, it seems to go faster!
Bonjour et Bienvenue!
Thank you for stopping by for a spell!
I am a 40-something year old American woman. Born in Texas, raised in Las Vegas!
Frenchified for Life
is a fabulous little lifestyle blog about truly embracing French life!
My intent is to simply inspire you to create something unique and beautiful in your everyday life. The French have this wonderful and annoying habit of seeing the world through rose colored glasses, might as well learn something from them!
That said, I lift my glass to you!
By the way, I mention the name Cachou (or The Cash) a lot, I'm referring to her...