We’re all cleansed and perky over here. My computer, until someone re-hacks me, has been successfully detoxed. So, let’s get down to business.
In order to control my wayward mind, I shall rely on subheds (as we say in the biz), to help all of us stay on message — more or less.
The Shocking Galette des Rois
Most of you probably know this, but a quick review to get the back-story in context: Le Galette des Rois is the flat “cake” or galette served on the Epiphany, the 12th day after Christmas. Classically in France (as far as I know or can discover by cursory investigation) is filled with frangipane. Many other fillings exist from chocolate to raspberry, and if someone were to ask my opinion, which no one has, I would opt for the chocolate.
The galette, about which few seem to care or remember, is the symbol of celebration for the visit of the three kings, Balthazar, Melchior and Gaspard, to the new born Christ child. ( I know their names because we have a friend who named her three sons after the Magi.)
Hidden inside the galette by the boulanger is a féve or lucky charm/token, usually made of porcelain.
Moving right along in my abridged edition of the story and soon getting to my point. . .
The ritual that accompanies the galette goes like this: the youngest member of the group — one hopes a child is present, most adults don’t like to do this — goes under the dining table and calls off the name of each person around the table whereupon someone at the table cuts a piece of the cake and gives it to the designated party.
The person who finds the féve, hopefully without breaking a tooth, is the king (or queen, which doesn’t make any sense, but never mind) for the day and dons the paper crown, also provided by the boulanger.
Back to the lucky charm, occasionally they can be quite lovely — or downright weird, case in point: Carla and Nicholas Sarkozy — and many people collect them. Some may have a religious theme, but in my experience most do not.
As the world turns however, aberrations invest our cultures and customs. Perhaps it’s the “15 minutes of fame” obsession that transcends traditions. I can’t think of another explanation, except cupidity of course, which provoked the boulanger in the Vaucluse to fill his galettes des rois with féves depicting the positions in the Kama Sutra.
The stunning crown at the top was designed by Christain Lacroix for Ladurée.
Today is the first day of the government legislated winter markdowns. I certainly don’t need anything, in fact I don’t think I want anything. But as we all know neither of those conditions has anything to do with anything. I’ll keep you au courant and let you know what I see French women buying.
Better Late Than. . .
In December I promised you a story from the award-winning playwright, Brooke Berman, on the subject of holidays and families. At the time, Brooke was verrrrrry pregnant, in fact, in the throes of creating her own family which has given her new insights on the subject.
Between tending to Benjamin and trying to find time to sleep, she wrote an essay on the conjuncture of her new and old perspectives. She wrote a book, published last year (featured on Elle and Cosmopolitan magazines “best summer reads” lists) about her conflicted love affair with her mother, Marilyn.
I’ve known Brooke forever and love her dearly. Her mother was a close friend.
Tomorrow, Brooke owns this space. I’ll tell you more then. I hope you’ll be here to read what she has to say and if you don’t know her, it will be an opportunity to meet an extraordinary talent.