cakes, prose, woes -- the photos, food & thoughts of a french-speaking seattle-native in brazil

In the end, you're just happy you were there—with your eyes open—and lived to see it. -AB
In the end, you're just happy you were there—with your eyes open—and lived to see it.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Joyeux 14 Juillet - Bastille Day

Vive La France! & eat cakeToday is Bastille Day, la jour de fête nationale. I am not French nor will I ever be, but I choose, can, want to celebrate the day non the less. Whether I celebrate singularly here, with you at the Salty Cod, or miraculously (nice word for unlikely) find someone in plain sight enthusiastic enough to humor my need and muse on France, eat on France, vive on France with me is not the point. For Francophiles outside of France, a Bastille day is just to think of France, to keep her in the tête. The sighs may be made at yet more garble about France, but in the end what matters is what and who you decide to keep in your mind, you can't choose what makes you happy, but you can choose whether you let its reception bother you or not. I am not commiserating, moping, nor missing anything--I am celebrating. Celebrating the good things. On y va.

I woke up this morning with an overwhelming desire to hum and whistle the Marseillaise. Now, aside from the ardent fact that I am far from a nightingale and more akin to a quibbling harpy, no one wants to hear France's national anthem around here. So, French music: hum in the head. French dinner then, yes, let's have a French menu. Dinner already planned. zut. Keep French food in the head. Well, what can i bake that is French and can be disguised as non wholly French. Ah, what am I saying, no one says no to cake. Rummaging through the pantries and cupboards...what can i make...what can i make for France Day! Ahk! The drama! ok flour butter and sugars. Well, simple, but no one here knows that madeleines are as common a bakery treat in France as donuts are here in grocery market window. Ah yes, but at least now there is something to photograph.

Monochromatic Madeleines:
100 g (a tiny bit less than 1 cup) flour farine ~ 120 g (0.5 cup) sugar sucre ~ 2 eggs oeufs ~ 0.5 tsp (c.à.c) baking powder levure chimique ~ 100g (1 stick) butter beurre ~ cocoa powder poudre de cocoa
methode: 1) mix. 2) split batter in half and in one bowl add cocoa powder. 3) butter madeleine pan and fill half shell with dark, and half shell with white batter. 4) cook at 180
º (~350F) for 10-13minutes.

Allons enfents de la patrie, la jour de gloire est arrivé! No amount of writing could ever do justice to what France really means to me. Most writers and word snobs will admit, though at a cost of shock to some, that though words do indeed rule the day, there are a few things out there they fall short for. C'est vrai. The thing with love for a country, love for a way of life, love for a style, a culture--it is a love that doesn't break your heart. There are things one can live without, a country is one of them. Humans adapt, that's why we travel, that's why there are ex-patriots living in every corner of the globe. We can have two countries. Hey, we can even have three. As such, I want to wish a particular joyeux 14 juillet to the French ex-patriots out there--the few I do know and the many I don't know. Donc pour vous dans le monde du blogging, je vous souhaits une bon fête: Helen l'ecrivaine de Tartlette, et Bea de La Tartine Gourmande.

Celebrate what you want, when you want, where you want. There are enough national holidays that take place daily around the world that everyday could be a celebration. And why not then. Sounds like a nice life to me. We never have to stick to just our own culture, just our own flag, our own nationality--i will always have blue white and red tucked in next to my red white and blue. To own an unchanging culture is impossible and undesirable. My advice: stay open. If you don't understand the words, don't turn off the music; open a dictionary. My nationality is in a constant state of change: it is waiting to find yours--and incorporate.

Bon 14 juillet!

à bientôt


Ryan said...

Hehe.. I knew you would post about Bastille day. I enjoyed the French Revolution theme on Turner Classic Movies. I missed Marie Antoinette but was treated to the 1935 version of a Tale of Two Cities!

Núria said...

I'm with you here Mallory! Differences make us richer, let's embrace them all!
Here in Spain there's quite a big thing about Catalan, Basques, Castillians... Some people just don't won't to see how lucky we are to have all these different cultures and languages in the same country... Our food, for example, is so much richer :D. Yeap, let's be open minded.

Tartelette said...

Heck yeah for a plate of madeleines on Bastille Day! Lovely job!