Two years ago, I had the pleasure of attending a friend’s Thanksgiving celebration at her New York home. It was my first Thanksgiving dinner; the humble tradition of food and family and friends is distinctly American and I loved it! At that first celebration, there was a rather large turkey, creamy mashed potatoes, and a lovely green bean dish with pine nuts sprinkled on top. I brought a bottle of French Bordeaux.
This year, I’m back in Paris for the American holiday, but I already have in mind a dinner for my own family here -we won’t be celebrating Thanksgiving like my American friends, but I love the tradition of sharing a long, savory meal with my closest and dearest, so I’ll be doing it nonetheless. Here’s what’s on my menu:
Main Course: Duck Confit with oven roasted semi-sliced potatoes, each with a side of black truffles. My duck confit has a secret ingredient that my family can never quite name, but they love nonetheless: Nutmeg! A tiny bit of freshly grated nutmeg gives it “un je ne sais quoi”…
Salad: Red and Gold beet salad, with fennel, and a lovely Alili Olive Oil, with fresh squeezed lime juice and fleur de sel.
We’ve found this interesting article by Lindsey Partos from www.confectionerynews.com, dealing with packaging waste.
A developer of a corn-based plastic claims that if we switched Easter egg packaging to a biodegradable plastic made from corn starch, we could save enough energy to power 350,000 homes. In Australia only, Easter egg packaging produces 1,200 tonnes of waste. 3,000 tonnes of Easter egg packaging waste are produced in the UK each year writes Lindsey.
This is only during Easter. The article adds that Australia produces over 1M tonnes of plastic (or 71 kg per person), which, if made of biodegradable plastic, could help the country save enough energy to power 17 million homes.
It is critical to constantly bring up awareness on packaging recycling before it becomes too late to save our planet.
According to Christians, Jesus was resurrected three days after his crucifixion. This resurrection is celebrated on Easter Day (also Resurrection Sunday). The Easter season lasts for the fifty days until Pentecost.
Easter is a moveable holiday, meaning it does not fall on a fixed date in our Georgian calendar (which follows the cycle of the sun and the seasons). Instead, Easter is the first Sunday after the first moon whose 14th day (the ecclesiastic “full moon”) is after March 21. Therefore, Easter can fall on 35 possible dates – between March 22 and April 25 included. It last fell on March 22 in 1818, and will not do so again until 2285. It fell on March 23 in 2008, but will not do so again until 2160. Easter last fell on the latest possible date, April 25, in 1943 and will next fall on that date in 2038. However, it will fall on April 24, just one day before this latest possible date, in 2011. The cycle of Easter dates repeats after exactly 5,700,000 years, with April 19 being the most common date (source: wikipedia). Easter 2009 is April 12.
The English term Easter comes from the Old English word Ēostre. It refers to Eostur-monath, or Oster monat the April month of the Germanic calendar.
The symbolic Easter Bunny seems to be originating in Alsace and western Germany where it was found in writings in the 17th century for the first time. The first edible bunnies were made of sugar and pastry in the early 1800s.
German settlers brought the Easter bunny in America in the 1700s. Their children were told about the “Oschter Haws” (a phonetic transcription of the German Osterhase). “Hase” means “hare,” not rabbit, and in western European folklore the “Easter Bunny” indeed is a hare, not a rabbit. The tradition wants that only good children would receive gifts of decorated eggs in the nests that they would build out of caps and bonnets and place in secluded areas of their homes. The nest has turned into the manufactured Easter basket as the tradition spread, and the placing of the nest in a secluded area has become the tradition of hiding baskets. Thus the Easter egg hunt was born.
The idea of an egg-laying bunny seems to be the result of a European folklore confusion between hares raising their young at ground level and the finding of bird’s (plovers) nests nearby. So in the Spring, eggs would be found in what looked like hare hollow.
The egg was used in Pagan celebrations of Spring as a symbol of the rebirth of the earth (just as new life emerges from an egg when the chick hatches out) which was then adopted by Christians. The old tradition consists of dying or painting chicken eggs while modern habit is to substitute chocolate eggs.
Persians have been painting eggs for Nowruz, their New Year celebration which falls on the Spring equinox, for at least 2500 years. The walls of Persepolis in Iran carry sculptures showing people bringing eggs for Nowruz to the King.
As a modern society, let’s take great pride in preserving the world’s heritage by celebrating such an old tradition.
The story of Knipschildt boxes starts in Nepal.
Lokta is a Nepalese bush that has the characteristics of re-growing again and again after pruning.
Beautiful handmade “paper” can be made of the inner bark of this wild bush. The fibrous paper is prized for its attractive soft texture, its exceptional durability, strength and resistance to insects. The 2000 year old art of lokta papermaking is being preserved through equal opportunity cooperatives which teach and provide income to many Nepalese.
Easter may be the perfect opportunity to get your hands on these Easter chocolate boxes made by Knipschildt and share this great story with your family and friends.
If you’re looking for a little something that says ‘I want you’ and that both women and men would be happy to receive, there is nothing more sexy that this trio of chocolate bars. Each bar is adorned with a silkscreen depicting Eve Kitten in her favorite lingerie outfit, to be enjoyed piece by piece. Choose all three fruity cherry, romantic rose or uplifting coffee flavors at www.savorique.com
Officially titled Washington’s Birthday in 1880, it is the first holiday to honor an American citizen and was celebrated on Washington’s actual birthday which is on February 22. But in 1971 the federal holiday was shifted to the third Monday in February following strong suggestions that the day should honor both Washington and Lincoln.
The term “Presidents’ Day” (Presidents in plural) began its public appearance in the 80′s thanks to advertisers. After all many Presidents were born in February and a few state governments had officially renamed their Washington’s Birthday observances as “Presidents’ Day”.
Marketers contributed to this shift of term and this is very likely why this holiday signals big retail sales and usually a day off from school and work. Make some time to browse savorique.com where you can find the premiere chocolatiers, artisan bakers and unique vendors of those hard to find pantry items. Skip the crowds and settle in for some unexpected fun on this cool site.
The history of Valentine’s Day is obscure, and further clouded by various fanciful legends. So little is known in fact that the Catholic Church removed his feast day from the official list in 1969. This pagan holiday roots in ancient Roman times.
Most scholars believe that Saint Valentine was a priest who attracted the disfavor of Roman emperor Claudius II around 270. At this stage, fact ends and myth begins. According to one legend, Claudius II had prohibited marriage for young men, claiming that bachelors made better soldiers. St. Valentine continued to secretly perform marriage ceremonies but was eventually apprehended by the Romans and put to death on Feb 14th.
Ever since, lovers exchange gifts such as chocolate on that very day. Chocolate contains substances, such as theobromine, which relax and lower inhibitions while increasing desire for physical contact. It was actually banned from some monasteries centuries ago! Chocolate contains more antioxidant (cancer preventing enzymes) than does red wine. The secret for passion is to combine the two.
Both can be found on savorique.com
So, benefit from Casanova’s lead and become a chocolate fanatic too!