Of the countries that I chose to celebrate during the Unity in Diversity celebration, France is dear to my heart - for a couple of reasons. One, I will never, ever forget my high school French teacher, Mrs. Driscoll. If there ever was a woman devoted to teaching a bunch of 17 year-olds the intricacies of the French language, it was her. She had remarkable patience and a flair for the dramactic, as well. Do I remember how to speak French? No, not much but this I CAN DO - I can still sing the French National Anthem☺ Are you amazed? Well, I am, too☺
The Marseillaise may just be the greatest national anthem. It is certainly one of most stirring, but also one of the most sanguinary. It originated during the French Revolution, but did not permanently become the anthem of France until 1879. It was, ironically, composed in 1792, before the overthrow of King Louis XVI, by a monarchist, Claude-Joseph Rouget de Lisle, a captain stationed on the Rhine, who subsequently was nearly guillotined. The song got its name when a unit from Marseilles entered Paris singing it later in the year. The popularity of the song led to its official adoption in 1795, but it was then shunned by Napoleon I, the restored Kings, and Napoleon III. Only the advent of the Third Republic led to its permanent status.
Intended as a "war song," the Marseillaise is extraordinarily bloody in its imagery, but I have never heard of any movement to replace it as being too violent, as there is occasional talk in the United States that The Star-Spangled Banner is too war-like. It is now certainly unthinkable that anything but the Marseillaise should be the French national anthem.
The second reason I chose France was because I once shared my home and my life with a gentle giant from France. Her name was Willow. She was a Great Pyrenees. She was remarkable. She was beautiful. She stole my heart.
Willow was true to her breed. She barked. She dug holes. She hardly ever came when I called her name. My fenced yard was a MUST for her safety. Why did I live with such an unruly dog? Because I got a phone call one day from her family (they knew I did rescue). They didn't want her any longer because she barked and didn't come when called and wasn't an obedience champion. I already had a highly trained German Shepherd Dog so there was no pressue on this white cloud of a dog to excell in her studies☺All I asked of her was to be gentle and sweet and kind and she was all that and more.
The breed takes his name from the mountain range in southwestern Europe, where they are used to guard flocks on the steep slopes. In addition to its association with the peasant shepherd, the Great Pyrenees was also cherished by the nobility and appointed French court dog in the 17th century.
While affectionate with his family and quiet and tolerant in general, if there is something to guard or protect, the Great Pyrenees can become quite territorial. Because they were bred to work independently and make decisions on their own, Pyrs may not be the star of the local obedience class. New owners should be prepared for barking, especially at night.
There are many dogs that originated in France; however, in tribute to my dear Willow, I will leave others to mention their names - which are legion.
4 large Russet potatoes, about 2 pounds, peeled
Peanut oil, for frying
Potato Preparation: Fill a large heavy pot with enough oil to reach halfway up the pot being mindful not to overfill the pot. You don't want oil to overflow from the pot when you're cooking the fries. Attach the thermometer to the side of the pan. Heat oil over medium heat until it reaches 325 degrees F.
Meanwhile, fill a large bowl with water. Square off the potatoes and cut them into sticks about 1/4-inch thick and the length of the potato. Place sticks in the water. Drain potatoes and dry well. This will prevent splattering of hot oil.
Working in batches, add a handful of potatoes to the preheated oil. Fry for 5 to 6 minutes giving the potatoes a chance to cook on the inside without developing much color on the outside. Bring the oil back up to 325 degrees F before adding the next batch. Repeat until all batches are complete.
Let fries cool completely. Meanwhile, bring oil up to 375 degrees F. Add potatoes to oil again in batches until nicely golden, about 1 minute. Remove to a towel lined plate and salt immediately while they're piping hot.
1 1/2 cups whole milk
3 large eggs
3 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon salt
Scant 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1/2 cup brandy
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup all-purpose flour
Additional butter for cooking
Additional sugar or clear jelly such as apple or apricot for serving
Iron skillet or crêpe pan
Flexible metal or plastic spatula
In a blender, combine milk and eggs. Mix on medium-high speed until foamy, about 10 seconds. Turn blender to low speed and remove feed top. With blender going, add sugar and salt. Replace feed top and blend on high speed for a few seconds, then turn blender back to low. In the same manner, add butter, brandy, and vanilla, replacing feed top and blending for several seconds after each addition. Turn blender off. Add flour all at once and blend until just combined.
Place crêpe pan over moderately high heat. With flexible spatula, spread a tiny amount of butter in pan (an alternative method is to brush the pan with melted butter using a pastry brush) and heat until butter just begins to smoke. Pour 1/4 to 1/3 cup batter into the pan. As you pour, quickly tilt the pan in all directions to spread a thin layer of batter across the bottom. Pour in just enough batter to cover the pan.
Cook crêpe over moderately high heat until bubbles just begin to form on the exposed surface, about one to two minutes. Lift up the edge to check the cooking process — if the crêpe starts to burn before it is cooked through, turn down the heat. If it is not nicely browned after two minutes, turn up the heat.
When underside of crêpe is browned, flip and cook another minute or less, until other side is browned. Remove from pan and keep warm in the oven, loosely covered with foil.
Grease pan with a very small amount of butter and repeat process. Continue until all batter is used, stacking cooked crêpes on a plate in the oven. To serve, sprinkle each crêpe with sugar or spread with jelly and fold or roll up.
The creation and conception of this exceptional perfume is surrounded by many legends, to which Coco Chanel and Ernest Beaux contributed themselves considerably:
Chanel No. 5 is the first fragrance launched by Parisian couturier Gabrielle "Coco" Chanel, and has been on sale continuously since its introduction in 1921. It has been described as "the world's most legendary fragrance," and ranks on the top places in the perfumery sales charts. It remains the best-selling fragrance of Parfums Chanel, and the company estimates that a bottle is sold worldwide every 55 seconds.