For Epiphany Day the French bake very large round cakes called galettes and hide a small porcelain figurine inside. They invite friends and family over, and the youngest person present has to hide under the table while someone else, usually the host or hostess, cuts the galette. The person cutting asks, "Who is this piece for?" and the hidden person responds with the name of someone present until everyone has a slice of cake. Then the deliciousness happens, and everyone eats their cake, keeping a close lookout for the hidden porcelain, which is very small and has been known to chip teeth or cause choking. The person who finds the figurine in his/her cake is then crowned King or Queen and may choose his/her Queen or King. We decided to try out this tradition ourselves, so we invited some friends over to celebrate. Sarah, our friend from Scotland, was the youngest person present, so she conceded with good humor to hide under the table and dole out cake.
Patrick, another American, was the lucky winner of this game, and thus we made him our King. There was near mutiny when he named Andrew his Queen, though. A couple of days later, the family we tutor for surprised us on Friday by whipping out a galette and taking us through the tradition. We feigned ignorance. It was Andrew who found the figurine this time. That boy has all the luck. King AND Queen, all in one week? Very suspicious if you ask me.
For the past week, we've had snow flurries off and on, and it's been pretty cold. It's made traveling to and from school a nightmare, but is very pretty to look at.
On Sunday, we went with Patrick and Catherine to the symphany. Unfortunately, they were completely sold-out, but for the bargain price of $12/person we could sit on "blocks" next to the orchestra. Turns out they didn't mean "blocks" so much as trashcans, albeit very clean ones, and sitting next to the orchestra meant we were actually on stage with them, right behind the violins. It was certainly an interesting experience, and it was kind of neat seeing the instruments up close and talking to the conductor as he shuffled on and off stage. At one point he told us that after two hours of close observance, we should be able to play the instruments now. We promised him we were ready to step in should any of the musicians suddenly fall ill.
Notice the black, upside-down trashcans