Tuesday, December 8, 2009

What's great for a snack and fits on your back....?

It's Yule Log, Yule Log! It's round, it's cakey, it's wood
It's Yule Log, Yule Log! it's better than bad, it's good!

Did anyone get my Ren and Stimpy reference? I hope so... or rather I hope not as it was a pretty inappropriate cartoon in the early 90's. Regardless, I hope you got the idea that this post is all about the Yule Log also known as the Buche de Noel, which is the name I will be using for now on to pay respects to it's French origins. I will be making this intimidating cake this Sunday but will be doing a series of posts leading up to the finale as I will be working on it in stages.

The aim of this post is to give you a little history lesson on the Buche de Noel. However, you will have to use your brain, or your imagination which is way more fun than using your brain, to decide which tale relates the true origin of the cake since there is not a clear birth story for this sweet baby. So turn on your switch of whimsy and wonder, or reason if you choose the boring route, as you read the two stories below.

Story 1: The origins of this most well-known French pastry can be found in the ancient Celtic tradition of celebrating the winter solstice. On this shortest day of the year, the Celts would search for a large trunk and burn it as a symbol of the rebirth of the sun. Over the years, logs become smaller and more elaborately decorated until they finally took on the delicious edible form of the Buche de Noel we know and love today.

Story 2 (aka the story I prefer): The great (or crazy) Napoleon Bonaparte of France issued a proclamation stating that houses in Paris had to keep their chimneys closed during the winter because of the cool air that caused medical problems. (Does he not sound a little bit like Burgermeister Meisterburger?) This prohibited Parisians to use their fireplaces. But ingenious French bakers then invented this dessert as a symbolic substitution around which the family could gather for story-telling and other holiday happiness.

Although the cake's beginnings are muddled, it's composition is not. It is traditionally made from sponge cake, filled with butter cream and rolled up to resemble a log. It is also elaborately decorated to look just like a log ready for the fire complete with all or some of the following elements: a knob indicating a cut off branch, meringue mushrooms, snow, moss, etc. Personally, I am thinking about having David the Gnome poking out of mine.

So that's what you have to look forward to, and now you have some context for my subsequent posts. So you better some back or ill get you, "you EEDIOT!"

PS: Did anyone else catch that I referenced 3rd old cartoons in my post? Wow I must be feeling really nostalgic! In case you you want a healthy dose of nostalgia, watch this!

1 comment:

  1. I thought we were baking Christmas cookies Sunday? :( j/k