Come in, come in. This morning I am serving coffee with a heart motif and strawberry tarts. It is strange how my mind works…..let me tell you how I got to the hearts and tarts……..
This week I wrote a post about Mardi Gras (let the good times roll)…….how the celebration was started in Europe and flourished in New Orleans, Louisiana. I couldn’t help but wonder what my many greats-grandmother must have thought about New Orleans, when she arrived in 1842, at the age of 12, with her parents, brothers and sisters, emigrating from France. It must have seemed like a very strange world for a poor farmer’s daughter, who was used to living in a room over the animals. I have visited and done research in the very, very, very small village that my grandmother’s family came from and was always interested in why people would pack up and move, leaving everything they owned behind and venture to a new world, that they knew little about. Hearts delivered. So, I’ve been thinking about France.
All that thinking led me to a book about Madame Tussaud. For some reason, in my head, I didn’t think Madame Tussaud, of the wax museum fame, was a real person. Not only did the book, Madame Tussaud : A Novel of the French Revolution, by Michelle Moran reveal the story of Madame Tussaud; it was an in-depth study of her life during the French Revolution. Oh, the things she had to do to live! I didn’t realize how many people, among them innocent women and children, were executed by the guillotine during the French Revolution! I thought it was just Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette! So, it gave me a better understanding of the times and life during my great-grandmother’s parents and grandparents time. Really not pleasant times and very unsettling. Hearts stopped.
Another interesting fact I learned was about Joseph-Ignace Guillotin, (1738-1814) a surgeon during the French Revolution, who promoted the use of the guillotine, as a means of a more humane method of capital punishment for all people, rich or poor. Prior to the guillotine, the rich were beheaded by ax or sword and poor people were hung. Dr Guillotin thought those means of death, barbaric. The use of the guillotine made a swift death and everyone equal, which was the focus of the French Revolution, to get rid of the ruling classes and the privileged Catholic Church and not distinguish between rich or poor. Prior to Dr Guillotin, another French surgeon, Antoine Louis, is credited with designing a prototype of the guillotine, which he called a louisette! However, the louisette became so popular and synonymous with the name Guillotine, it was forever attached to it during and after the French Revolution due to Dr Guillotin’s ideas about democracy and fairness. He was so appalled by the exorbitant use of the guillotine ( some say that up to 400,000 people were beheaded during the French Revolution) that he appealed to the French court to have his name removed from it. The court said no and Guillotin then changed his family’s name, so they could not be associated with it forevermore. It shows how good intentions can go bad………..and his name is still associated with it. Appalled heart………..
And this week, a day after Mardi Gras, we celebrated Valentine’s Day, (a joyous day for all hearts) which should have been another happy occasion, but will be remembered by many, as another day for the death of innocent children, who were killed in their school. Hearts broken……….
And the entire week I have been jog-a-walking the Alice in Wonderland races. There are six races altogether, over many miles. I just kept plodding along….. thinking of hearts, queens (Marie Antoinette, who was beheaded, and the Queen of Hearts, who said, “off with their heads!” and guillotines. At one of the interactive stops during the race a recipe was given for the Queen of Hearts, Strawberry Tarts…..
So this week I am serving hearts, tarts, queens, and guillotines……trying to make sense of it all………..
See you next week……..
PS, To see what others are talking about over their morning coffees look Here!