29 November 2010
November in Paris and Thanksgiving Cheer
I have long thought that France had more federal holidays than the US. It seems the French are always having days off, especially in the spring. In May it feels like every week there's a bank holiday. (Actually, this is not just an impression, there are French federal holidays on May 1, May 8, and this year May 13 and May 24.) However, contrary to what I thought, France only has one more holiday per year than the US. The major difference is that half the French holidays are Catholic ones (and you can bring that up next time one of your French friends mentions the proliferation of the phrase "God bless America" and how secular France is). In case you're curious (I know I was), the bank holidays in France are:
New Year's Day, Easter Monday, Labor Day (not the same day as the US, but the same idea), V Day (aka "the allies beat the Nazis day"), Ascension Thursday, Pentecost, Bastille Day, Assumption Day (yes, the day the Virgin Mary rose into heaven), All Saints Day, Armistice, and Christmas
For you non-Americans, US National holidays are:
New Year's, Martin Luther King Day, President's Day, Memorial Day, Independence Day (aka July 4), Labor Day, Columbus Day, Veterans' Day, Thanksgiving and Christmas.
Besides the religious quality of French national holidays, the other main difference is the time of year. France has the most holidays in the spring, which is nice because it's starting to warm up and everyone wants to play hooky anyway and lie around in the sun. The US has the most holidays in the fall and winter, which is even nicer, perhaps, because it's a time of year when it gets dark early and everything is black and white and gray, and everyone needs a little cheer.
That is what I love about Thanksgiving. Less pressure than Christmas because there are no presents to buy, Thanksgiving is just about sharing a good meal with family and/or friends. When the sky is low and drab as it has been for weeks here in Paris, that is exactly what I need! This year, we had Thanksgiving with Nick and Camille and a friend of theirs. It was a no stress, low key event (we all had to work thurs. and fri.) but like all meals with foodies, it was very yummy!
I made a version of this blue cheese potatoes au gratin that included the celeriac I got in my CSA and a chocolate pecan pie (basically my original recipe, but with less corn syrup and chopped chocolate added). We combined our CSA spinach into creamed spinach. Camille made her signature wild mushroom bread pudding, sweet potato/yam purée and delicious gravy, and Nick made turkey roast. We topped it all off with some good wine for a perfect November-blues-beating evening!