Sunday, January 08, 2006

Bow down!

Today is Epiphany! Epiphninous Epiphany to you all!

I began the day with several rousing hours of coffee-drinking and knitting. Then, to fight the Ass-Expansion of '06.... well, my ass never gets big- it's more my hips, so in order to fight the Great Hip Widening, I took a walk. I really didn't want to, as it was cold and foggy. Was? Pfft. Is. It is always cold and foggy during the winter here, as far as I can tell. There's a special quality to the fog where it seeps in under your clothes and makes you feel extra cold. Naturally, I didn't want to go outside, but I did.

It looks kind of sunset-y here, right? It was 3:30.

Luckily, too, as I saw the first patch of blue sky that's been around for weeks. See it?

This evening, I went to dinner at the Houvilles to celebrate Epiphany. What, you infidels don't know what epiphany is? Well, me neither!* But it's a holiday where you eat stuff!

At the table with the Houvilles and another family. I know them at "Patrick's Family" because I can only reliably remember the name of Patrick. They used to be the Houville's neighbors in Menetru, now they live, like 5 miles away. Patrick is a cooking teacher at school. They're an enormously delightful family.

Here's what you do on holidays in france: eat.

Oh, and talk.

But what's special to Epiphany is that you also eat galette du roi, or, king's cake. Judging from the picture below, it's an extremely somber event.

Ha ha! Not really! In fact, it's an event that required plenty of sparkling wine AND children yelling things from under the table. The tradition is that a small ceramic king is baked into the galette, which is a cake made with extreme quantities of butter and almond paste and deliciousness. At the table, the youngest child goes under the table while someone cuts the cake. The kid says whom each piece is for. Then, we eat the cake. Whomever finds the little king in their piece gets the crown, and is king for the evening.

Guess what ............................ I WON! Well, this didn't really involve skill - more, the kindness of Patrick's heart, as I saw him switch pieces so that I'd get the king-baked cake. Don't get all riled up, though, I was merely a figurehead for the evening and posessed no real power. Believe me, I tried to double our fleets in the eastern oceans but nary a vessel took to sea.

There's pictures of me wearing me [entirely impotent] crown. We'll just have to wait for Bernard to email them to me. I hope you're in this for the long haul.

*Actually, it's the day that the three kings came to visit lil' baby jesus; hence the king's cake.


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