We love traditions and the mix of cultures. While Americans gathered round the ever-larger television to watch the Super Bowl, they feasted on ‘down-home’ historic football fare. Starring roles were played by chicken wings and nachos and sandwich trays and all sorts of tasty treats, that brought them back again and again to the buffet table.
On the same day – exactly 40 days after Christmas – the French celebrated a fine tradition – “La Chandeleur” – in essence, a multi-generational and very convivial Crêpe Day. While the history and traditions are complex and date back to pagan Celt and Romans celebrations, churches and temples ultimately transformed the meaning of the events to honor Christ as the light of the world or to celebrate the birth of first sons. The golden circles of the “crêpes” suggest the sun, and children in particular love the celebration.
We were privileged to celebrate Crêpe Day with our local Alliance Francaise in Orlando. http://www.aforlando.org/ The annual galette party entertains guests of all ages, as the ingénues learn to perfect the galette and seasoned French cooks step with confidence to create their masterpieces.
We watched intently, as the batter was stirred and a modest amount was ladled onto the tilted crêpe pan to be gently swirled into a perfect, thin circle. Once browned, the delicate disc was carefully turned and topped with one of two major offerings – ham and cheese or salmon and cheese. After slight browning on this second side, the galette was folded in two and topped with a generous dollop of sour cream.
We felt perfectly adequate with our own deftly-created galettes and only wished we could have followed with sweet Crêpes topped with Nutella or sugar. As always, the food was quite enjoyable, but the real show and joie de vivre was the people – those who took their turns in line at one of the four crepe stations and chatted amicably among themselves. The wine server who dipped into his own stash of white wine to satisfy my desire to forego the red (left, we presume, from the Beaujolais Nouveau celebration).
The children enjoyed magic and ventriloquist shows, but my own experience highlight came from observing a French girl in training. Mind you, she really appeared to be a graduate, but she was a delight to watch.
Either a tall ten-year old or a very style-conscious teen, she walked here and there across the room with great confidence. Head to toe, she was French, French, French. Her long gray sweater topped tight leggings, and lots of curls peaked out from a darling gray knit hat with a knit flower in the front. Yes, necklaces and earrings were well chosen, but those large blue-framed glasses were the pièce de résistance.
I predict she will one day, she will have many Crêpe Day celebrations under her belt and own a closet full of silk scarves!