Thursday, June 17, 2010

Coupe du monde 2010, un blog célèbre chien France - Celebrate France at the World Cup

I'm sure most of you remember Maxdog of South Africa - our valiant Golden Retriever who is now waiting for his Maxmom at the Bridge. Living Life to the Max is Maxmom's blog that continues on without her precious Maxdog. Filled with great photos of South Africa and pooches Tammy, King Toffee and Tommy, Maxmom is sponsoring a month-long event for those us who would like to get into the South African-World Cup Spirit, UNITY in DIVERSITY. Hit the button on my sidebar to travel to South Africa and Maxmom's blog. There you will find out all about UNITY in DIVERSITY! ALL the cool dogs and cats will be there - you snooze, you loose!

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.

Pyrenees Mountains
The Pyrenees mountains form chain across south-western Europe. This chain stretches from the shores of the Mediterranean Sea to the Bay of Biscay on the Atlantic Ocean. It forms a natural barrier between the Iberian Peninsular and the rest of Europe, providing a convenient border between sovereign states. The chain also creates a climatic divide. Northern slopes receive abundant rainfall while the southern slopes have a steppe-like climate.

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 studiesAll I asked of her was to be gentle and sweet and kind and she was all that and more.

 Willow, 1996 - 2005
I can't tell you how often I cringe when I overhear someone saying that they want this breed of dog or that breed of dog because of it's looks without taking the time to learn about the animal's inherent and inborn traits. Just because an animal is gorgeous or muscular or tiny or large doesn't mean that it is the right dog for you.

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.

 French Fries
The basic premise that the French Fry did, in fact, originate in France, remains solid. In French cooking, frite specifically refers to deep fat frying as opposed to saute which is used for pan-frying. There's plentiful evidence that frying potatoes in oil was common in France before October 4, 1830.

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.

Why am I sharing a recipe for crepes? Why, because they are my all-time favorite dessert!

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
Special equipment:
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.
Why Chanel No. 5? Because I l♥ve this stuff!

The creation and conception of this exceptional perfume is surrounded by many legends, to which Coco Chanel and Ernest Beaux contributed themselves considerably:[4]

Chanel No. 5[1] 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,[2] and the company estimates that a bottle is sold worldwide every 55 seconds.[3]

We are the world!

National Canine Cancer Foundation


Inigo Flufflebum and d'Artagnan Rumblepurr said...

Mmmmm crepes! What a great post, thank you guys :)

Thor said...

Interesting post! Thanks for tell us about Willow! She was a beautiful girl!

Jake of Florida said...

Ah, dear friend, something else we can share: Every quatorze juillet, I wake my husband with a passionate (and loud) singing of La Marseillaise. I too had a French teacher in high school who made us a, e, i, o, and that special u as warmups to each class. I was a francophile at age 14, spent a summer in Paris between high school and college -- and eventually lived there for six years. And wear Chanel's Coco....

But none of that is as important as what you say about loving our dogs for who they are and not for who we would like them to be.

Your post today was inspirational, as so many are!!

Wirey woofs from my saddened at the South Africa loss Barkalot Bafana Bafana! But vive la France!!

xx Joan

Frankie Furter said...

Dear Furends, I liked the entire post, BUTT the comment about how two leggers choose (or reject) a dawg breed REALLY hits the nail on the head!!!!

Kira The BeaWootiful said...

Wooos! Mum is still singing along, much to my ears dismay..... she took many years of french class too, because of living near Montreal....
We really liked woo Willow story, so touching, and yet so true, so many humans do not understand there breed before adopting one. As Scampi and I can attest too! It is one of things Mom emphasizes in puppy class!(She gets rather into it!)
~husky kisses~
-Kira The BeaWootiful

Priscilla said...

Yummy crepes! I love crepes and thanks for sharing the recipes and the info. I'm not so into Chanel, just feel it's a bit too strong for me.

Mrs. JP said...

Hey, I remember that song from Casablanca!
Thank you for the Pyrenees tribute. We have one, her name is Speedbump. JP, rescued her when someone had dumped her on a very busy road (4 lanes where she was!) She is a dear heart, she might be a pyrenees, golden mix but she has that face and coat. We're not sure we just know that we love her.

sophie said...

Hidey Ho...thanks for the heads up for Tweedles...I've actually been following the little cutie for awhile but it's always good to have hints for new friends!

Samantha said...

Wow Mimi! A great post, with so much research! I agree about the Marseillaise! The world's best anthem, hands down! I adore France and all things french. I was raised speaking it, so that may bear on my adoration of the place, their food, their cities and cathedrals. Their passion and love for things beautiful. And I love Willow! What a lovely girl! I've gone on too much, but thank you again for such a great Unity in Diversity post - terrific!
Hugs xoxoxo

houndstooth said...

Willow was just beautiful! We know someone on a greyhound forum who has a pyr who is deaf. He's one funny dog!

I love crepes, but I didn't know they were considered dessert! I've always had them as a breakfast food!

Khyra And Sometimes Her Mom said...

Quelle tres bonne poste ;-)

Mom was also Frenchlie challenged in skhhool - took it from Grade 7 to Grade 11 - sometimes she amazes herself at what she rekhalls -

AND other times, well, woo know!

Thanks fur sharing!

We love to see Karen Ramstead's 'Cricket' - she's a Great Pyr too!

AND Mom still khan see some of one of her favourite passengers: Frosty - he was a Great Pyr / Northern Breed mix - and his foster bekhame his furever Mom!


Gros Bisous,
PeeEssWoo: Merci au Google!

JackDaddy said...

Hmmm, I think Jack must have some GP in him as well! :)

Ginger Jasper said...

Great post, realy interesting.. My mum loves chanel and wears it a lot.. HUgs GJ xx

MAXMOM said...

Whew Mimi!
What a bumper post! You have done another amazing job...I am learning so much too! Who would have thought that Willow would have also touched the world? From now on, whenever I watch the Tour de France, I will think of her and her rescue angel (You!)
Wonderful! Wonderful post! Thanks again.

Sugar the Golden Retriever said...

Woof! Woof! My peeps LOVES France. Dad BFF is French. In my case LOVE French Fries. Oh! I believe they make a CoCo Pup Chanel ... Lots of Golden Woofs, Sugar

Asta said...

What a bootiful powsst honowing Fwance and youw sweet gowgeous Willow!

My Gwamma was such a Fwancophile that Mommi took hew ashes to Pawis.
smoochie kisses

Tweedles -- that's me said...

My Mimi
I feel like I just soared to the top of those gorgeous mountains the Great Perineeeeeeeeees.
So beautiful a land. I can smell the fresh air from mountain top- I see it separate the regions and create a barrier- I feel what you say- I so feel it.
And now I feel the love you had for the beautiful Willow who stole your heart.
All those foods are making mommie and me a little hungry right now- for something sweet!
What a beautiful post on more diversity for our earth and our people.
Thank you for sharing

Sam said...

Yummm... The recipes sound so good!


Sue said...

That was a magnificent post. You touched on just about all my French favorites, too.

We need to stress over and over again to do your homework when choosing a dog breed. What you see isn't always what you get. Porties are so cute, but they are very strong willed and are working dogs that need to be kept busy. The owner who doesn't will be unhappy when the dog devises his own means of staying busy.

George the Lad said...

I enjoyed reading your post, you are so right about getting the right dog breed to suit a person.
See Yea George and Jan xxx

the booker man said...

miss mimi!
my mama was so excited to see your post about france, too! she studied french from grade 7 all the way through college, where she majored in french. after the good ol' USA, france is her favorite country. so of course, we loved your post! we also thank you bunches for sharing your beautimous miss willow with us. she was a lovely lady for sures.

à bientôt!
*ouaf ouaf*
the booker man

Salinger The Pug said...

Ahem....**Standing up straight and tall** ALLONS ENFANTS DE LAAAAAAAA PATRIE.......(that's all mom remembers from La Classe de Francais)

Very cool post! Those crepes look nommable.

Mom always swipes a sample of Chanel No. 5 when she walks through Macys! HAHAHAAA!