Friday, December 24, 2010

More on 'Getting Fat'...

I already knew that French meals were longer and more drawn out affairs than their American counterparts.  I had spent hours beneath the sun at French barbeques, enjoying the six course afternoon lunches of patées, fresh salads, grilled meats, sausages, pastas, cheeses and fruit pies.  (Yes, in that order) 

But nothing (and I mean nothing) had ever prepared me for what the French call ‘Le Réveillon’. 

Not even Thanksgiving. (And that’s saying something)  Now, there are probably many variations in tradition depending on the region and family- (kind of like how we Yankees like the green bean casserole and the Suth’rns gotta have their macaroni and cheese or sweet potatoes.)

It all begins with a Kir Royal (champagne with a spot of cassis berry syrup mixed in) accompanied by the French version of appetizers. 

Les Appéritifs – In this case we usually have little thinly cut white breads spread with tarama (I think it’s ground up cod eggs), tapenade (ground up olives and anchovies), and tuna or salmon patées.  There’s also these miniature hard boiled eggs you dip in mayonnaise and little rounds of soft cream cheese adorned with pink or black fish eggs. 

Once we sit down at the table.  We don’t really get up again for at least three hours.  (Between the wine served and the amount of food we eat, that’s probably in everyone’s best interest.)

There are several ‘Entrées’.  –Of which, the seafood is usually served first.  

Seafood Entrée(s)--(Cue ‘seafood wine’- usually white & dry) We have thin breads or in some cases ‘blinis’ (kind of like airy, salty pancakes) spread with sour cream and pieces of smoked salmon with squeezed fresh lemon juice on the whole. 

Then there’s the oysters served with thin slices of dill bread to seep up the sauce.  Some like them with fresh lemon juice.  I prefer a shallot and wine vinegar sauce. 

Snails are served stuffed with a garlic herb butter which is very good!  But I prefer the sea snails or 'bulots' with mayonnaise to be honest.

Meat Entrée- foie gras. (cue ‘foie gras wine’-usually white and fruity)  Foie gras is a huge duck liver that’s been prepared with porto or spices and then stuffed in a terrine and cooked at high pressure then cooled so it comes out in perfect round slices.  According to my father in law, it’s against all that is holy to spread foie gras.  It must be ‘placed’ on the toasted white bread or toasted ginger bread before consumed.  I like it with fig jelly.

Main Course(cue main course wine- usually red)  Most often a cooked turkey or a game hen stuffed with a chestnut, sausage and liver stuffing and accompanied by vegetables.

Cheese plate  (cue cheese wine- still red)

Salad and clementines- to HELP DIGEST (?).  


Dessert- the ‘bûche’ is a cake made to look like a log.  It’s a symbol of the ‘yule log’ that was once burned throughout the winter holidays.  They come in every flavor, frozen, fruity, chocolate, etc… and they’re delicious.  And, of course, served with champagne.

Then… we all drive home:)

Have a very Merry Christmas people!


mshatch said...

wow, I think I'd feel so bloated after a meal like that I'd want to waddle home instead of drive :)

Candyland said...

*Moving to France with stretchy pants STAT*

Vicki Rocho said...

Not a fan of seafood/fish, so despite all that food I might starve if not for the bread and cheese!

Anne Gallagher said...

As a family we always ate the "French Way", lots of food, loads of wine and time.

We haven't done it for a long time but tomorrow we shall once again. I can't wait. Yoga pants are de rigueur in my house.

Joyeaux Noel Katie!

Dianne K. Salerni said...

Wow, that is one heck of a meal! Pace yourself, Katie!

Have a wonderful Christmas!

Hey! The word verification is "pastries!" How did you do that???

Susan Fields said...

I feel stuffed just reading about it! I love a meal with a seafood course!

May you have a merry Christmas and a blessed 2011!

Old Kitty said...

Right. That's it. Me and Charlie are packing up and moving in with you.

Oh wait. I'm vegetarian! Quelle disaster!! Oh but Charlie will eat anything! LOL!

Have a wonderful Christmas Creepy Query Girl and family!!

Joyeux Noel!! Take care

Unknown said...

Now I'm hungry ... again. Awesome.

Happy Christmas!

DL Hammons said...

Heck with my wife. I'M GETTING FAT!!

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year Katie!! :)

Laura S. said...

Oh. My. Sounds soooo delicious. I love meals that take a while! It's wonderful to savor every bite and dish. :) Merry Christmas, Katie!!!

Melissa Gill said...

That sounds like quite an experience. We just load up our plates and cram our faces in my house. How nice to sit down and really enjoy your food and family.

Roland D. Yeomans said...

Wow. I feel full just reading all that. I envy you such a rich experience with family. I pray Christmas Eve and the Day itself goes well and magical for you. Roland

Carolyn Abiad said...

Hmmm...Do you take reservations? I'll take any available! :) Merry, merry!

AiringMyLaundry said...

Now I'm all hungry. I LOVE French foods even if they make my thighs big.

Merry Christmas!

Avo said...

Hahah, yep that sound like a traditional french réveillon all right. : j
Try the same in Romania! The french are "petits joueurs" (small time) in comparison. Romanians sure do know how to eat and drink in large quantities! Christmas dinner is a two day affair... There may be some brief interludes of singing and church in between courses. ; j


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