I wonder what toppings Mr. Phil would have on his crêpe today…escargot? Here in the United States, Punxsutawney Phil is pulled from his cozy cave to shadow search, and in France, they are flipping crêpes with gold coins to determine whether a year of prosperity lies ahead.
Or, Candelmas, is a French tradition with Christian origins. Who knew the Christmas season extended past Kings Day/Epiphany on January 6? February 2 is the date that Jesus was presented to the Temple, and so Candelmas is celebrated in France and around the world.
Nowadays, La Chandeleur is also known as Le jour des crêpes (the day of the crêpes), and the tradition is to hold a coin in your dominant hand and the crêpe pan in the other and try to successfully flip (and catch!) the crêpe, which will guarantee prosperity for the year.
Sort of like us eating our greens on New Year’s Day. Although I am not a huge fan of greens, it sure takes a lot less talent to just eat them, than to try to flip and catch a crêpe using your weak hand.
Adages for Forecasting
La Chandeleur has numerous proverbs that predict the remainder of winter, much like Punxsutawney Phil makes the call for an early spring of six more weeks of winter depending on his shadow:
A la Chandeleur, l’hiver cesse ou prend vigeur.
At Candelmas, Winter stops or gains strength.
Chandeleur couverte, Quarante jours de perte.
Overcast Candelmas, 40 days lost.
Fun fact: while researching for this article, I learned that our American tradition is derived from a German tradition, where they use a badger (or hedgehog or other small animal). The French have been known to use a hedgehog, too. These European meteorologists must not have a PR team like Phil, because until I started researching, I had no idea that this tradition originated in Germany.
What’s a crêpe?
It’s a super thin pancake. These pancakes can be sweet (ah, Nutella and banana crêpe) or savory (chicken, mushrooms and cheese, for example). The batter is different depending on whether you prefer sweet or savory – all-purpose flour for sweet crêpes and buckwheat flour for savory. The ingredients are much the same as pancakes, the quantities are just different, and there is a super important rest time for the crêpe batter.
What we have planned for today:
We’ll be using a French kid’s recipe book, and the crêpe pan that my sister bought me years ago. I love any excuse to cook with MC, so we will be making some crêpes today – mess guaranteed!
She will not be trying to flip her crêpe in the pan, though – maybe she can try to flip it on her plate…Whether or not our crêpe lands on our plate correctly, we’ll feel rich just being able to have some yummy crêpes and make messes and memories together for this holiday.
Resources for parents and kids: There are many activities, coloring sheets, a crêpe song, and a recipe sheet available at tête à modeler, a website with lots of resources for parents/kids.
What is your favorite crêpe topping?
Read more kitchen adventures with MC in these posts, and check out my Instagram for more toddler approved activities and culinary fun: