Sunday, 17 January 2010

Magi Mix


For the first time ever I won the crown this year. Of course no one was on hand to photograph the event, so you'll have to take my word for it. And I did cheat, but only a little...

You can't get through January here without La Galette des Rois, the tart of the kings. (No sniggers, children.) The kings in question are the Magi. No social or family gathering is complete without getting together round the table in early January, about Epiphany time, and consuming one or two of these things, usually with a sweetish wine called muscat. Bakers' shops are full of them, in all sizes. They sell them with paper crowns included.

Dedicated Epiphany buffs prefer the sort pictured above, a type with layers of marzipan. The most popular version is a circle of bun sprinkled with large-grain sugar. Marzipan tart or crunchy sugar bun, they all have hidden inside one or two fèves, literally beans, little porcelain favours. Dedicated fève buffs collect them.

Whoever gets the fève in their portion gets the crown. I was serving and just happened to notice this little pink thing sticking out of the side of one of the slices. There is a tide in the affairs of men, which, taken at the flood, leads on to fortune... the fève entitling me to the crown turned out to be a little porcelain orang-outang. No, don't ask. I've no idea why.

Here are two crowned heads from a previous year.


I imagine that eagle falls into the category of chest protector, wouldn't you agree?

14 comments:

Dave said...

Does one win a dental crown if one bites the fève?

I, Like The View said...

oh

this reminds me of a story I read in my childhood

(-:

I would, naturally, be a collector of porcelain beans (must be a little like saving the silver sixpence from the xmas pud?) - in fact, I'd probably seek out a specialist (or not, possibly) baking shop so that I could buy a collection of my own without having to eat all the tart

love the crowns - they have far more style than the average paper cracker equivalent. . . or seem to (perhaps it's a case of the crowns being shinier on the other side of the channel?)

glad you're feeling a little better

Christopher said...

Dave: Aha. Do you hum 'Crown him with many crowns' on the way to the dentist's? Excellent accent, by the way. Very grave.

I: A crowned head one year complained at our table that there never seemed to be any fèves érotiques. I don't know what opinion you might have on this.

Much better, thank you, and that's mainly due to my dear correspondents' concern and a diet of chicken noodle soup, Haägen Dasz strawberry ice-cream and Cadbury's Special Export Strength Fruit and Nut.

I, Like The View said...

I couldn't possibly say

(seeing as I don't "do rude"*)(*online** at least)(**unless I'm winding up*** Vicus and/or Dave)(***well, attempting to wind them up)

Christopher said...

Just like some grandfathers, they won't even give you the time of day if you don't wind them up.

Rog said...

I think you'll find the traditional saying to the lucky recipient of the "bean" is to say the following day : "J'ai trouve un fève hier".

That's where the word for February comes from.

Christopher said...

I quite agree, Rog, and I salute you as the lone, unafraid pioneer of the new science of analysing word derivation through examination of what has passed through the gut. Is there a name for this science? I might think of endowing a university chair for it, or at least a stool.

Rog said...

Ah, a stool, Christopher!!!!

Sadly I fear I would be merely going through the motions.

I, Like The View said...

this reminds me of one of the images KAZ has shared with us today

Christopher said...

I'm sorry Kaz appears to have no garden to plant it in. It would grow into a magnificent specimen.

I, Like The View said...

perhaps she has a window sill

Christopher said...

Let us pause and consider for a moment. While inspecting her new flat, known throughout the North-West for the generous extent of its window-sills, Kaz finds in the oven a calcined sausage suggesting the Cumberland or Braughing variety. To some this sausage resembles a magic broad bean conferring king- or queenship on the finder, to others it looks like a turd. Convinced by sage counsel that if planted it might grow, Kaz trots round to Mr Abdul's corner garden centre, in her understandably overwrought state greets him with 'Salami' instead of 'Salaam', and buys a window-box and a pack of John Innes No 1 potting compost. The window box is consecrated by Dave, the sausage is duly planted and bidden to be fruitful and multiply.

In the night Kaz is woken by an excited barking and a sort of canine puffing and scraping. She lifts the corner of the curtain (made by a Mr Tiresias), looks out, opens the window and shouts 'Lil! Put that down at once!'

There's the supper gong. Not before time.

UberGrumpy said...

Nice crown, bogus t-shirt. Is she French?

Christopher said...

Hi, UG. No, she's Dutch. Not my old Dutch, you understand. Just Dutch.