Monday, January 08, 2007

Wheels

The Christmas season in France generally comes to an end with the feast of the Epiphany, which occurs every year on January 6th, twelve days after Christmas. It's the "Twelfth Night", made famous by William Shakespeare in the eponymous play.

Of course, as with every special day in France, the French have associated a culinary tradition: in this case it's the Galette des Rois, what is called in Louisiana - and in many dictionaries - the "King Cake". Actually, Amerloque has never really liked the "King Cake" appellation: he feels that there is very little romanticism in two consecutive one syllable words. They are somewhat brutal: far too short and sweet, overly ordinary to describe a delicious pastry which comes around but once a year.


For some time Amerloque has been seeking a replacement locution. Last year he finally sat down and invented one on his own: the "Wheel of the Magi". After all, the cake is in the form of a wheel, and the three kings are the Magi. What could be simpler ?

Amerloque is now seeking a suitable word to use for "fève", which is the French word for the "charm" (or "token", or "trinket") contained in the Wheel of the Magi. Perhaps by next year he will have found one !

The beginning of the new year is always a hectic time in the Amerloque household, what with wrapping up the old year and ringing in the new. This year has being particularly painful since Amerloque decided to upgrade all his computers. Part of the upgrade is brand-new dictation software, which had to be installed and, more appositely, trained. Sometimes Amerloque felt that he was simply spinning his wheels as he spoke into his computer and the hard disk drives whirred. Only after several days was he satisfied with the texts that the new software was supplying.

Amerloque can't help thinking that this year there will be many wheels within wheels in France, since presidential elections are scheduled for the Spring. Slightly more than one hundred days remain before the first round. Contenders are desperately maneuvering to obtain the necessary five hundred signatures required to validate their candidacies. Although the media proclaim that the second round of the election will see Segolène Royal lining up against current Minister of the Interior, Nicolas Sarkozy, Amerloque – at least as of today - is not convinced that this will necessarily be the case.

Rumors abound that Jacques Chirac, the current French President might run for a historic third term. Other more and more insistent rumors assert that Jean-Marie LePen, the rightist outsider, will end up being a finalist against Mme Royal when push comes to shove. One of the big questions this year is whether or not traditional ("parliamentary") conservative forces will be able to maintain enough unity to come out on top against the expected Socialist candidate. Yet other rumors state that François Bayrou, the centrist candidate from the south of France, will do much, much better than expected.

An interesting year in perspective !



L'Amerloque



Text © Copyright 2007 by L'Amerloque
Images © Copyright by copyright holders, including Amerloque

10 Comments:

Blogger La Rêveuse said...

Mmmm... looks good. Too bad the Louisiana version is so different now. Really doesn't resemble the Galette des Rois at all--you can read about it here: http://southernfood.about.com/cs/cajuncuisine/a/kingcake.htm

It's actually more of a brioche-type thing, with icing and candied fruit and colored sugar--I think they lost something in the translation! But hey, sugar is sugar...

Bon Fête!

5:13 PM  
Blogger LASunsett said...

Hi Amerloque,

//Rumors abound that Jacques Chirac, the current French President might run for a historic third term. Other more and more insistent rumors assert that Jean-Marie LePen, the rightist outsider, will end up being a finalist against Mme Royal when push comes to shove. One of the big questions this year is whether or not traditional ("parliamentary") conservative forces will be able to maintain enough unity to come out on top against the expected Socialist candidate.//

Do you see Le Pen having a legitimate chance if he runs against Royal in the runoff election? Would the other right wing parties support him, despite his apparent poor reputation among the left?

Obviously I cannot vote, so I rarely take a position. But if I could, I'd have to look at Sarkozy. But I admit I am a bit biased towards his pro-business stances.

6:55 PM  
Blogger blueVicar said...

Wheels within wheels and life goes round and round...

2007 holds much for the world, Amerloque, we can only hope that some of it is good. It is another year filled with potential, if we can but find the way to make good choices.

Good luck to you in your computer endeavors...there is not much fun in the set up, but hopefully in the use.

And, of course, Bonne Année!

Meilleurs voeux!!

9:49 PM  
Blogger L'Amerloque said...

Hello La Reveuse !

Many thanks for stopping by ! Amerloque has never tasted the Louisiana version (smile). As La Reveuse says, hey ... (wider smile)

Happy New Year !

Best,
L'Amerloque

12:36 AM  
Blogger L'Amerloque said...

Hi LASunsett !

/*/Do you see Le Pen having a legitimate chance if he runs against Royal in the runoff election?/*/

If LePen were to make it to the runoff, there would simply be a rerun of 2002, in Amerloque's view.

"Stop LePen !" would be on every media outlet, in every paper, on billboards, all over the country, in the schools, in the universities, in the church pulpits, in company emails, just like in 2002. Demos in the streets, shouting heads on TV, day after day, for two weeks. The political programs and their strengths and weaknesses would simply fall by the wayside. (This, of course, would be a boon to the opposing candidate ...).

It wouldn't particularly matter who his opponent turns out to be, either: left or right, the call would be to vote "to stop LePen and fascism". One should have no illusions about that, given past experience.

/*/Would the other right wing parties support him, despite his apparent poor reputation among the left?/*/

The "Parliamentary Right", i.e., the traditional rightist parties, would probably not support him - openly, at any rate. It would be a kind of political suicide, since the "diabolisation" of LePen would leave a lasting taint on them. Of course, some individuals might undoubtedly come out for him, fully knowing that they are placing their careers in jeopardy.

/*:Obviously I cannot vote, so I rarely take a position. But if I could, I'd have to look at Sarkozy. But I admit I am a bit biased towards his pro-business stances./*/

JMLP's business stance - at least the clearest portions - calls for a) income tax cuts and b) exclusion of the principal place of residence in the calculation of the wealth tax (owed if one has over 760,000 euros in assets, which, given the enormous recent increases in real estate values, is far too low a threshold, in Amerloque's view). JMLP's economic honcho, a fellow named Martinez, is pretty laissez-faire (in the Amerlican sense). Amerloque was struck by JMLP's and Martinez's unpreparededness to discuss economic matters when JMLP reached the second round in 2002: they really weren't expecting to have to talk economics !

Best,
L'Amerloque

1:06 AM  
Blogger L'Amerloque said...

Hi bluevicar !

/*/2007 holds much for the world, Amerloque, we can only hope that some of it is good. It is another year filled with potential, if we can but find the way to make good choices./*/

Amen to that, as the old saw goes. Amerloque is on the same wavelength there (grin).

/*/And, of course, Bonne Année!/*/

Many thanks ! A very Happy New Year to bluevicar !

Best,
L'Amerloque

1:08 AM  
Blogger Frania W. said...

Bonne & Heureuse Année L'Amerloque wishing you great participation on your blog!

Too bad you are not making any prediction for the year 2007 that promises to be rich in events of all sorts.

*Amerloque is now seeking a suitable word to use for "fève"...* Maybe we can help?

Two sites on Epiphany & Galette des Rois.

http://recifs.free.fr/recettes/galetroi.html

http://fevesenfolie.site.voila.fr/

9:39 PM  
Blogger L'Amerloque said...

Hello Frania !

Happy New Year ! Amerloque is glad you stopped by. Many thanks for the URLs: perhaps they'll give Amerloque some valuable insight !

A bientôt !

Best,
L'Amerloque

12:07 AM  
Blogger Ken Broadhurst said...

Isn't the fève a prize just like the ones we used to get in Crackerjack and cereal boxes? By the way, you can have what has become the standard Galette des Rois year-round in France -- just buy the cake called a Pithiviers. It's the same thing: puff pastry filled with almond paste. It sounds like the Louisiana version is based on the brioche-type cake that is eaten on the Fête des Rois in the southern parts of France.

10:56 AM  
Blogger L'Amerloque said...

Hello Ken !

Thanks for stopping by !

/*/Isn't the fève a prize just like the ones we used to get in Crackerjack and cereal boxes?/*/

Oh, yes, the idea is quite the same!

The "Pithiviers" are wonderful. During the year, when Amerloque is nostalogic for Christmas ... (smile) ... There's more info here:

http://www.jedecouvrelafrance.com/f-2089.loiret-pithiviers.html


Best,
L'Amerloque

12:23 AM  

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