Ok, so this is actually a picture of Eleanor having just tasted her very first crème anglaise (more on that in a second), but her expression perfectly captures how I am currently feeling having just found out that the feast day of the Chandeleur (Candlemas in English) (celebrating both the Presentation of Christ at the Temple and the Purification of the Virgin) was at some point replaced with Groundhog Day in America (and Canada). When, where, and how did that happen? Whose idea was it? How do you go from the Presentation at the Temple (pretty big deal) and the Purification of the Virgin (also a big deal) to a Groundhog named Punxsutawney Phil. ??? The Wikipedia entry on Groundhog Day, though entertaining, does not provide clarification. The entry on Candlemas is very detailed, but the mystery remains. I would have loved to have been at whatever 19th century Americana gathering that was: "Candlemas? Why that's a tradition of the old country!" "Yea! On to the new!" "How about a Groundhog?" "Woo-hoo!" Wow.
Crème anglaise is a magical cream (think a kinder, gentler egg nog) that is part of the truly magical dessert, "l'Ile Flottante" (the floating island). The island itself is a meringue and no (eternally sad to say when it comes to me and desserts), I did not make it - but you can buy a four-pack at th grocery store (the caramel drizzle comes in its own packet!). I didn't even get a chance to take a picture before the kids pounced on theirs (Mac, too). Iris loved the "some assembly required" aspect of the dessert. Oliver commented that "the meringue is basically foam" and, well, you've seen Eleanor's reaction (actually, seeing Iris drain the serving dish it came in is pretty funny, too).
As festive as the dessert was, I still failed utterly tonight on the dinner front. I made a lovely fish (a "julienne" - no idea what it is in English, but it was delicious, baked in white wine on its bed of onions, garlic and carrots), but no, no, no - you're supposed to make crèpes on the Chandeleur. And we live in the heartland of crèpes!!! I make crèpes for dinner about three times a week - of all the nights not to do it! I'll have to make it up to the kids tomorrow. :-) My mom and I used to sing this great song about the Chandeleur - it was a round, where she would start and I would follow and the melodies would overlap. Great stuff.
If Oliver and I go through with our plan tomorrow, this blog will have a guest author. He is eager to put some images of his life here, as seen through his eyes, for his buddies back home to see. Here he is in his classroom at the exuberant end of his day! Happy Candlemas/Groundhog Day, everyone! May you enjoy crèpes and/or a short winter!
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