December 14th National Bouillabaisse Day

It seems a bit odd that after Thanksgiving we should be talking about bouillabaisse. Most of us still have left-over turkey in our refrigerators and now we are talking about fish soup!?!  Well, if you are not fond of fish this day may not be your favorite.

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This dish comes to us from the Mediterranean Sea area where fish dishes are prevalent. It can have nearly any kind of fish in it but most contain Cod, Snapper, Flounder, Halibut, Sea Bass, Monk Fish (Any white fish) or it may contain all of them.

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The dish seems to have come from France, Marseille to be exact. Here’s a popular recipe from the area. It is also popular in the United States around the New Orleans area which, of course, use to be a part of the French colonies.

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You really do have to enjoy fish to enjoy Bouillabaisse. I have had it before and it does taste pretty good, normally a little spicy, but I d have to admit it smells pretty strong. It is somewhat healthy and maybe a welcome break from all the turkey and mashed potatoes you’ve had that comes with the season.

How to celebrate – Have Bouillabaisse for supper tonight. Save up all your left-over fish from dinners and put it in your soup, or stew. Visit New Orleans or Marseille.

December 12th Gingerbread House Day

Dec. 12th – Gingerbread House Day

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This has become a traditional part of the Christmas holidays. It actually came about somewhere around 992 AD when Armenian monk Gregory of Nicopolis brought back ginger from his travels. He began to teach the French Christians how to prepare food with ginger and one thing led to another and the Gingerbread House was invented.

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It did not become popular until the Grimm Brothers used it for Hansel and Gretel in their terrifying tales.

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How to celebrate – Make a Gingerbread House. Read Hansel and Gretel. Write your own Christmas story featuring a Gingerbread House.

July 14th Bastille Day

I have always thought the French Revolution was an odd occurrence. Not that it happened, the people wanted democracy over the Constitutional Monarchy. Don’t blame them. What is odd is that the monarch of France thought it was a good idea to help America win it’s revolution with out any thought that his own people might do the same!

Well, they did, and on July 14th, 1789 they stormed the Bastille to take over the country. Now most think the Bastille was a government building and I guess, in a way, it sort of was. It was a prison. The people freed those who could lead the rebellion against the king, most of whom the king had put in the Bastille. In France it is known as “Fete de la Federation”.

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One thing we should remember is that freedom is something won, not given. It has to be fought for and to fight for it, you have to have weapons. The first thing Germany did before World War 2 was to take away all weapons from the people. They could not fight back. Same thing after the Russian Revolution bringing communism into power. In fact, nearly every country that has had it’s right to bear arms taken away has lost it’s people’s freedom. (Not so in the UK)

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Bastille Day has been celebrated ever since July 14th, 1790. It will continue to be celebrated as long as the French people are free. Just like here in the US. We should love one another, but be able to defend our freedom from all those who would take it away. If you look at every country where people are suffering, you will find they have no way to fight back.

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How to celebrate – Throw a Bastille Day party! Celebrate your freedom! Study history to know how we all got to be where we are.

May 24th National Escargot Day

Here’s another one of those days I just don’t understand, National Escargot Day. For those who like Escargot I guess it makes perfect sense and is a wonderful day to enjoy one of their favorite foods. But who discovered it as food?

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I mean, look at it. Who is going to reach down on the ground and pick up a snail and go, “Yum, that looks good enough to eat”!?! My thoughts are, someone pretty darn hungry.  Did they see animals eating them? Did they watched what the snails ate and decide that made them taste good. I would say apparently not because  there has been a lot of experimentation on how to prepare them to taste their best.

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I guess the butter, garlic, parsley and pepper cover up the actual taste of the snail. You still have to look at it, unless you close your eyes. I have never personally found something crawling on the ground something I wanted to put in my mouth. For those of you that love it, wonderful I think it is probably more the though of eating it to me than the taste.

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But if you like Escargot, this is your day! You can order without thought of what others think and enough it down to the very… very… shell of it. My guess is that you have to eat a lot of them to fill up, they aren’t very big.

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But make sure it is well done, or your dinner might leave the table on it’s own.

How to celebrate – Have a snail for dinner tonight. Go snail hunting. Try a slug instead of a snail.

December 9th National Pastry Day

Well this ought to be a tasty day! We should thank the French! They call their pastry, patisserie in which case I thank the English for shortening the word. Actually I thank the Pastry Chefs who make the pastry!

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I was surprised to find there is more than one type of pastry. There is shortcrust, flaky, puff, choux, phyllo and hot water pastry. Does anyone really care? Probably not so long as you are invited to eat at least one of the varieties.

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It’s sort of odd that something so light and airy can be so rich and filling. Don’t get me wrong, I am happy about it, but still amazed. As it should be, the French have made a real art of food with their high point reaching pastry.

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I say that because when you consider some of the other dishes the French make might be a bit questionable. Snails strike me right off. I mean, if you like them good for you but I am not sure who saw a snail crawling along the ground and said to themselves, “That looks good enough to eat!”

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But back to the subject at hand. I can see someone walking by a table filled with pastries and saying, “That looks good enough to eat! I think I’ll have ten or twenty of them!”

How to celebrate – Have a pastry! Take in some pastries to work today (Or at least pretend to since today is Saturday!) Become your household pastry chef by learning how to cook pastry yourself.

May 24th National Escargot Day

You know, sometimes ya just got to wonder who looked at something like a snail and said to themselves… “That looks like good eating!” Something crawling through the slime and the mud on the ground or in a pool of stagnant water, oh yum!

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I mean, I don’t really even want to touch them let alone put them in my mouth. Now I am sure that prepared right they probably taste pretty good. Oh, who’s kidding who, they taste like… like… like… snails!

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Besides, with those long… ah, ears(?) they are sort of cute. They carry their home around on their backs and don’t bother anybody! It’s not like you have to hunt them or chase them down when they try to get away. So where’s the sport?

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Of course, I guess when we die and are rotting they feed on us so turn about is fair play. And how many do you need to eat to get filled up? Do they pop when you bite into them? Do they slide down your throat like oysters? And once they get in your stomach do they start to make their way back up?

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How to celebrate – Well, if you like Escargot, this is your day, go ahead and have a plate full, in fact you can have mine too! I wonder if it makes a good breakfast like left-over pizza? If you start searching early in the morning you mind find enough snails for supper tonight!

October 7th National Frappe Day

Wouldn’t a Frappe taste good right now? There are three different types of frappes. The one most of us know is the blended coffee, or espresso, drink topped with Whipped Cream. One of a fruit type dessert than is frozen and serves with shaved ice. And the third just in general, a milkshake.

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Though the word is actually French, the drink itself comes to us from Greece where it was accidentally invented by Dimitris Vakondious in 1957 in Thessaloniki. It is defined as something between a Slushes and a Iced Coffee.

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Of course your local coffee shops have made this a part of your regular daily choice for a beverage. They have added many flavors, styles and shapes to an already enormous selection.

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Here are a few recipes for you to try. Take note though, this is not a drink you want to down quickly.  This is adrink you will want ot take your time with, savor and relax with.

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How to celebrate – Either make yourself a frappe this morning or visit your ocal coffe shop and buy one. Wait until your work is done for the day and then sit and listen to some cool jazz, or your favorite, and sip your drink. Try your own combinations to make a totally original frappe that maybe someday will be named for you!