On Sunday I went to a family celebration with my husband. It was the 20th birthday of his niece (the daughter of my husband’s brother). In France the 20th birthday is a special birthday to celebrate a kind of “coming of age”: when a young person enters into adulthood. My husband comes from Aveyron, a very rural region of France where maintaing tradition is still very important.
One of these traditions is the family dinner. On Sundays and on important holidays and events, families get together and have a big, lavish meal with traditional French food, and more importantly the traditional food of Aveyron, which is different from food in other regions of France.
At the birthday party on Sunday, we had six courses, all prepared by the wife of my husband’s brother: the first course was a salad with homemade foie gras and cantaloupe; the second course was white fish and scallops with mangoes in a cream sauce; the third course was steak and a special potato dish called aligot; then there was the cheese plate (in France they eat cheese at the end of a meal). And of course every dish was served with a different kind of wine!
After all that we had two kinds of dessert: first a sponge cake with pears and cream and a raspberry sauce; and FINALLY we had a very special traditional cake called gâteau à la broche. This is a tall cake in a cone shape cooked slowly by an open fire. Everything was really delicious! But after all that food and wine I was really tired! We started eating at around 1 o’clock in the afternoon and we didn’t leave the table until about 7 in the evening – that’s six hours eating! And my husband told me that when he was a child, the dinners were twice as big – sometimes about 13 or 14 courses!