Bastille Day – July 14th

“Let them eat cake.”

Now while it was statements such as this that most likely lost Marie Antoinette her head, it’s not such a bad theme for a Bastille Day cocktail party.

It was on July 14th, 1789 when a group of angry Parisians feed up with the way France was being bankrupted and mistreated by the aristocracy took matters into their own hands and stormed the Bastille Prison releasing the seven people held prisoner there.

This single action is seen as the tipping point for the start of the French Revolution and all of its Liberty, Equality and Fraternity.

An interesting historical note, it could have been King Louis XVI’s financial and military support of the American Revolution, having over extended France’s resources, that later played a large part in the collapse of his empire.

As for the “cake” statement, there is some clearing up that needs to be done.

For starters, cake wasn’t cake. The phrase actually reads “Let them eat brioche”. Which is a popular French pastry, but could more closely resemble decadent bread that is sold in bakeries. But over the years lost in translation and time the word has morphed from brioche to cake.

As to who said it, it’s anyone’s guess, but it isn’t believed to be Marie Antoinette.

While she may have been guilty of being privileged and extravagant, the late monarch can most likely be let off the hook for this callus statement. The phrase appeared as an anecdotal story in a biography written by the famous French philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau in 1769. In it he credits this off the cuff response to the lower class’s bread shortage to a “grand princess”. That’s all fine and good, but Marie Antoinette didn’t even arrive to France until 1770 and at that time was merely an Austrian Archduchess. So it could be safe to deduce Marie wasn’t the utterer. History is going to have to find another scapegoat.

Menu:

Tarte Tatin

Cherry Clafoutis

Punitions

Profiteroles with Coffee Ice Cream and Chocolate Sauce

Libations:

Champagne with Strawberries

Red and White Wine (preferably French)

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