Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Of Serpents, Groundhogs and Crepes.

And more holidays coming to brighten the dark of Winter! Well, ok, it's sunny today but you know what I mean.
Actually our beautiful weather today might be a sign of some serious weather ahead.

Imbolc (on february 1st) is the day the Cailleac,  the hag of Gaelic tradition, who gathers her firewood for the rest of the winter. Legend has it that if she intends to make the winter last a good while longer, she will make sure the weather on Imbolc is bright and sunny, so she can gather plenty of firewood. Therefore, people are generally relieved if Imbolc is a day of foul weather, as it means the Cailleach is asleep and winter is almost over.

And here is a Gaelic Scottish Poem about the day:
 Thig an nathair as an toll
Là donn Brìde,
Ged robh trì troighean dhen t-sneachd
Air leac an làir.

"The serpent will come from the hole
On the brown Day of Bride,
Though there should be three feet of snow
On the flat surface of the ground."

February 2nd is Groundhog Day in the United states. If the groundhog sees its shadow when he gets out of its burrow (therefore if the weather is sunny) it means that there will be 6 more weeks of winter. Unfortunately or fortunatly, he seems to be right only 39% of the time.

In France it's the bear that will get out of its den to predict the weather. No words on whether he is more accurate than the groundhog however...

But more importantly, on February 2nd is La Chandeleur in France. To celebrate the return of the light people will make crepes. The roundness and color of the crepe symbolizes the sun (and its return). To bring good fortune to your family for the coming year, using your left hand, flip a crepe into the air and catch it again in the pan all the while holding a gold coin in your right hand.
I know that sounds a little hard. A bit. But I promise you can do it. If you don't you'll bring doom to your family.
No pressure.
Ok. What about the recipe for the crepes?

- in between 250-300g of flour ( 1 1/4 cup )
- 4 eggs
- 1 l. milk ( 4 cups )

Put the flour in a bowl, make a well and out in the eggs. While whisking add the milk. Whisk until the batter is smooth. As best you can anyway...Let rest for an hour or two at room temperature or in the fridge overnight. It's not absolutely necessary to let the batter rest. It just makes it thicker a bit. I have done it plenty of times without resting the batter.
Butter a frying pan generously and put a laddle full of batter in the center, tilting the pan to make the crepe very thin. When the underside is golden brown, flip the crepe and cook for another minute or two.
Keep the crepe warm under foil or in a lukewarm oven while you cook them all. the recipe should make around 25 crepes.
Then, at the table, you can fill them with all sorts of fillings.You can have a savory crepe (my favorite is ham, cooked mushrooms and gruyere cheese) or sugary with jam, sugar and lemon, nutella, applesauce....

This is my family recipe. As far as I know there are as many recipes as there are families. I usually double it. It'll keep for a couple of days in the fridge and it freezes very well. It makes the best crepes in the world... naturally.

Are there any traditions about weather or this time of the year in your region?

                                                                                At least we have plenty of Firewood.


  1. I will have to try these crepes. I made them once years ago.

  2. Let me know how they turn out if you do :)