Bonjour, Candlemas! Bonjour Crêpes!
Today is Candlemas in France.
Actually, it's called "La Chandeleur." I know this from looking at the About.com French language site written by the fabulous Laura K. Lawless. She's featured in my upcoming book, "Bonjour, Happiness!" Laura explains that Candlemas is also known as Crêpe Day and that the good people of France have fired up their crêpe pans and are flipping these delectable very thin "pancakes" into the air. Oh, and then adding all sorts of yummy things--powered sugar, jam, chocolate, whipped cream.
I could go on.
In Auvillar, they serve them with vanilla ice cream, prunes and armagnac--the specialty of region.
Candlemas is also the French Version of Groundhog Day.
You see, rather than relying on Punxsutawney Phil to come out of hiding and to see (or not see) his shadow and determine whether or not we'll have an early spring, the French take matters into their own hands...or skillets! Yes, the French version of Groundhog Day involves cooking and family fun and crêpes! Speaking of family fun, I must tell you about my Falmouth friend, Linda Steele. She owns the West Falmouth Baking Company and has posted a lovely blog about making crêpes with her daughter. And it includes the perfect and very simple recipe for making crêpes. Visit her blog and you'll see!
Here's a pretty photo of mother and daughter:
When I first came home from Toulouse with my broken ankle and my leg in a cast, Linda came to visit bringing a basket of white chocolate, cranberry and blueberry cookies. They were her red/white/blue cookies. Very patriotic. Very French. Very delicious! Merci, beaucoup, Linda!
Back to Groundhog Day.
Yes, Punxsutawney Phil did not see his shadow today. And so this means (although I'm not sure this makes sense) AN EARLY SPRING!!!
There's a wonderful little article in today's Washington Post that poses this thought:
Groundhog Day could be viewed as a commentary on the nature of modern celebrity. A cute, hairy creature has become famous for doing something with minimal accuracy because he is surrounded by men in funny hats.
How very American.
Now, in France, they do not defer to any hairy animals with big teeth. Rather, while flipping crêpes, the French hold a coin in their writing hand and the crepe pan in the other. And then, they flip the crêpe in the air. If they manage to catch the crêpe in the pan, then they'll be prosperous for the rest of the year. Oh, and this means an early spring. At least this is what Marceline, my beautiful and elegant and completely brilliant French tutor has told me. And I believe everything she says! Especially when it comes to fun and all things French!
Happy Groundhog Day! And Happy Candlemas to all my French friends! Enjoy your crêpes! And may you catch them all and have a very prosperous year again!