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Archive for the ‘royal family’ Category

Adopt The Tradition of the Feast Of The Magi And The French Galette Des Rois Recipe

Posted by infinitygoods on January 4, 2008

galettedesroispostedonflickrby-tn-fnn.jpg French families have an Epiphany tradition to celebrate the Magi each January 6. Even non-religious families celebrate because they have such fond childhood memories and the galette, a covered almond tart or pie, is so good that they just can’t leave it only to the Christians.

I think you should adopt it too because your children will love the game (adults enjoy it too) and all your taste buds will rejoice. The recipe is easy and fast too if you don’t have a French bakery near you.

You’ll have to “draw a king.” After a fancy holiday dinner, everyone eats the Galette Des Rois (Mages). Inside the covered pie is a “feve” or a small ceramic figure or even just a fava bean or button. The figures are traditionally of the Baby Jesus, but can be of any of the nativity pieces, of a champagne bottle, a lucky clover, a horseshoe or anything symbolizing good luck for the New Year.

The mother or hostess cuts and serves the pie pieces while the youngest child gets under the table or simply closes his eyes to tell the server to whom each piece should go to without being able to peek at the little hidden figure.

When someone finds the figure, they are crowned King or Queen and everyone toasts to them with Champagne or non-alcoholic sparkling apple cider, and none will prevent you from drinking soda or milk if you prefer. Each time the King drinks everyone says “The King drinks!”

Then that person discretely places the figure in the glass of someone of the opposite sex so that the King has a Queen or vice versa. Everyone waits for the Queen to find her figure in her glass and when she drinks, everyone says “The Queen drinks!” The King and Queen wear their crowns all evening.

When children are participating, the mother strategically makes sure that one of the children gets the treasured figure. Should a parent accidentally become King, that parent should make a child the Queen (or King or Prince), NOT his spouse.

The game is rigged, but the gullible children have no idea and believe that each year they are just the luckiest kids in the whole wide world and it makes them quite happy and excited. It also boosts their self-esteem in a safe manner. You could crown all the children or even everyone present too.

When the game is played only among adults, it is often agreed upon that the King or Queen will host the Feast of the Magi the following year or bring next year’s galette or pie to the party, and everyone looks forward to more good times among good friends or family.

Whether children or adults, the King and the Queen are supposed to have good luck all year long!

You will need 2 crowns. Your children can easily make them out of paper and decorate them by drawing jewels or using stickers or gluing plastic jewels or sequins. It’s an easy and fun craft. Otherwise you can find crowns from the most basic paper to fancy gold plastic or even velvet ones at a party or costume store.

Nativity with  “feves” or little figures collected from year to year from the galettes des rois each Epiphany

For the figure you can use a bean or a button. Be sure to warn everyone so there is no tragic chocking! If you decide to play each year, you can even buy tiny figures on-line like the ones in the photo or even outside France at some French bakeries. E-Bay also auctions them as they have become collectibles.

Here’s the recipe:

Galette Des Rois
For 4-6 people

  • 2 circles of store-bought puff pastry
  • 1 1/2 cup of powdered almonds
  • 1 1/2 stick of butter (melted)
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 heaping cup of granulated sugar
  • Natural flavoring to taste such as orange flower water, rose water, pure vanilla extract, rum, Amaretto or Grand Marnier

Mix the sugar, butter, 2 eggs, almonds and your chosen flavoring. Evenly spread the mixture on one of the puff pastry circles. Insert your “feve” or a button or bean, and cover with the second circle. Make a pleasant design on the top with the tip of a knife and paint with 1 egg yolk. Bake for about 25 minutes or until golden at 325-350 degrees F. depending on your oven.

It is best served warm. You can also serve at room temperature.

Bon Appetit and Bonne Fete Des Rois!!

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Pope Announces U.S. Visit After Saudi King’s Vatican Visit

Posted by infinitygoods on November 12, 2007

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Pope Benedict XVI will celebrate his third anniversary as pontiff of the Catholic Church by traveling to the United States, where he will visit the White House and New York’s ground zero site of the 9/11 Muslim terrorist attacks, and will speak at the United Nations during a five-day trip April 15-20.

Archbishop Pietro Sambi, Vatican ambassador to the United States, told the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops today that “the pope will not travel much, but he will address himself to the people of the United States and the whole Catholic Church.”

A welcome reception will be held at the White House on April 16.

Sambi says the pope wants to show “solidarity with those who have died, with their families and with all those who wish an end of violence and in the search of peace.”

This official announcement comes six days after King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia gave a jeweled sword to the pope, and on the Monday of the Veterans Day federal holiday.

Pope receives jeweled sword from King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia

A sword is a traditional Muslim gift given to heads of state. Is it meant as a symbol of trust or as a warning? That is the double-edged question.

The meeting between the king and the pope will surely be the hottest topic between the pope and President George Bush.

Saudi Arabia does not even grant diplomatic relations with the Holy See. As Victor L. Simpson of the Associated Press so aptly said in his article about the visit on Nov. 6, “Islam is the official religion of Saudi Arabia and the kingdom requires all Saudi citizens to be Muslims. Only Muslims can visit the cities of Mecca and Medina.

“Under the authoritarian rule of the royal family, the kingdom enforces strict sharia, or Islamic law. It follows a severe interpretation of Islam known as Wahhabism which rejects the possibility of diplomatic relations with a Christian entity. This interpretation would prohibit a Vatican embassy in Saudi Arabia on the grounds it would be equivalent to raising the cross inside the site of Islam’s holiest places.

“It is forbidden to practice Christianity publicly inside Saudi Arabia, and it is illegal to bring symbols from religions other than Islam into the country. Bibles and crosses, for instance, are confiscated at the border.

“Some Christian worship services are held secretly, but the government has been known to crack down on them, or deport workers from the Philippines if they are known to hold even private services.”

The pope was also given a small statue of a camel by a palm tree and in return gave King Abdullah a 16th-century engraving of the Vatican and a gold medal of his pontificate.

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I Remember Diana …

Posted by infinitygoods on August 31, 2007

Today, Aug. 31, is the 10th anniversary of Princess Diana’s death. The untimely and tragic death, the culmination of a tragic fairy tale life, keeps Diana in our minds as a forever young and elegant princess.

I remember that night as if it were last night. My husband called me from work, stunned as were all the journalists in the newsroom. When the report suddenly popped up on their computer screens there was a loud collective gasp. Men and women, young and old, even the seasoned and jaded journalists were deeply, emotionally affected.

“Are you sure?” was my reply in complete disbelief at the irrational news. As I flipped the TV channels in search of more details, the local evening news was mum on the subject.

Yet, it was true, Lady Diana had died in Paris, my birthplace, and the next morning at the baby shower in honor of our soon-to-be-born son, the first words out of everybody’s lips were about Princess Diana.

We remembered Diana. We exchanged stories about staying up to watch her wedding in the middle of the night when none of us owned VCRs yet. We talked about her engagement, her dresses, her charity work, the paparazzi. We chatted, we laughed, we had a private memorial in between the excitement and joy of a wonderful and unforgettable baby shower.

I remember Diana’s funeral. Again, as I had done for her wedding, I was glued to the TV screen in the middle of the night, paying homage along with the millions of other people worldwide and the thousands upon thousands lining the streets crying and bringing their offerings of flowers, cards and mementos in person.

We remembered Diana, a true princess even in her passing.

To this day, move after move, I keep all the Paris magazines about Diana my grandmother sent me when I was a young teen. Cover article after cover article, Diana graced the photos and kept the issues flying off the shelves worldwide.

I remember Diana, our English rose, today on her 10th memorial anniversary, but also everyday as I look at my rose bushes, because the prettiest of them all are my Diana, Princess of Wales roses — tall, blushing pink blooms that never grow old, keeping their petals to the end and ever-beautiful at every stage, blossoming from shy bud to confident mature rose.

Goodbye England’s Rose … for now.

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