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A French Celebration the US Needs

Source: www.lespress.fr

Source: www.lespress.fr

Although most people probably welcome the end of the Christmas season as a much needed respite from a tornado made out of invasive family members and ultra-rich foods, I personally feel that the post-Christmas festivity void could be filled with more food-based celebrations. That is why I think Americans should definitely adopt Chandeleur Day, which basically consists in eating rich food and laughing in the face of Winter.

The Chandeleur is a Christian celebration that takes place 40 days after Christmas, on February 2nd. It is supposed to coincide with the presentation of Jesus at the Temple, but, like many Christian rituals, it is also linked to a more ancient pagan ritual which in this case celebrates light. If you ask a French person what the Chandeleur is though, chances are they'll tell you it's a day on which we eat crêpes, which makes sense considering how little we tend to care about religion as opposed to how important food is to us. Each year, the period around the Chandeleur sees crêpes recipes flourish on cooking websites and the cider sales spike (cider is a popular drink of choice with crêpes).

The nice thing about crêpes though is their simplicity. All you need for 24 of them is 250 grams flour (yes, we're going metric, deal with it), 3 eggs, 3 tablespoons sugar, 2 tablespoons oil, 25 cl milk, 25 cl water, 1/2 teaspoon salt. You can also add a touch of liquor like rum or Grand Marnier. I personally use just a little bit of beer.

Now all you need is to get stuff to eat with your crêpes. My family traditionally eats sweet crêpes on Chandeleur Day. So our table tends to disappear under a collection of jams, although Nutella, sugar, honey and whipped cream should also not be missing (not surprisingly, as a child, my favorite combination was a redoubtable Nutella - whipped cream combination).

If you like savory crêpes, which are equally awesome, you can find a ton of recipes online. My favorite savory crêpes use sarrasin flour. Regarding the toppings, you can let your imagination fly: swiss cheese, mushrooms, tomato sauce, Hollandaise sauce, blue cheese, salmon, cheddar, ham, eggs...even minced meat!

And if you need any more excuses to make Chandeleur Day an American thing: the Chandeleur Islands, which are located in the Gulf of Mexico, off the coast of Louisiana, were named so by the French explorer Pierre Le Moyne d'Iberville because he "discovered" them on the eve before Chandeleur Day.

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