I am very excited about 2011. I don't know why. No resolutions made, only commitments to be better at what I do, which should be easy since I love what I do.
But on to New Year's Eve. I spent the evening of December 31 with great friends around my dinner table. I prepared a savoury feast of favourites and of course accented the meal with loads and loads of champagne. Is there any better side dish? I much prefer this type of intimate celebration to bumping elbows and other body parts with the masses at a generic party, or freezing said body parts off in a frigid square while feigning jubilation. Not my scene.
The New Year's Eve dinner in France and in Belgium, and other French speaking terrirories I presume, is called Le Réveillon (Ray-vay-ohn). It translates to "The Awakening." I love that. Le Réveillon comes from the ancient tradition of breaking a day long fast and eating a meal after attending midnight mass on Christmas Eve. I've heard two reasons for calling it Le Réveillon. The obvious religious shout out to the awakening to the meaning of Christ's birth, and the secular point to the awakening, or re-energizing, of those who have nearly passed out from fasting all day long. You choose.
Midnight Mass is becoming less and less frequent in Belgium, France and (Ah-hem, non existent in my family), but the massive meal tradition persists. Bien Sur! Christmas Réveillons are mostly for family but come New Year's Eve, Réveillon: Part Deux makes an appearance. This is a more social event and the meal is often more sumptuous with foie gras, oysters, meat, and of course, loads and loads of champagne popped until the wee hours. Yes, Réveillon is celebrated twice during the holidays. Gotta love the French. Any excuse to eat, non?
I didn't serve foie gras ...I had a vegetarian at my table and figured that might be a bit much...but I did make a meal worthy of 2011 and a new awakening, new starts, and new friends. And we did drink champagne until 3AM. I won't even get into what happened to the Christmas tree that night.
What happens at Le Réveillon stays at Le Réveillon.
Happy New Year and may your 2011 be awake and alive and full of adventure.