Friday is 1st April, the day of the poisson d’avril (April fish) when Ruadhri and all his friends at school will be trying to sneakily stick fish on each other’s backs, without being detected.
So what’s the best way to make super-sticky poissons? Last year Ruadhri and I went for cardboard fish with small squares of Velcro stuck to them. These worked very well on jumpers and fluffy coats, but were no good on slippery coats. Hmm. In previous years I used a small circle of sellotape, but these weren’t very sticky by the time Rors got to school with them. Blutak? That would stay stickier than sellotape but like the Velcro would most likely slide off shiny clothes. How did kids do it pre Velcro and sellotape and blutak I wonder? Maybe a blob of flour-and-water glue?
I’ve just had a quick chat with Ruadhri and we’re going with Velcro again, only this year we’re using fabric fish. And here they are! We reckon that if they’re pretty, people won’t mind getting ‘fished’ so much perhaps!
Where did this tradition, the French equivalent of the British April Fool’s Day, come from? There are several versions. One is that it all began with a silly fish trick. Someone would be sent to the market to buy an out-of-season fish, which made them look really foolish. Even babies in food-focussed France know what food is in season when! Another idea is that the ‘poisson’ element is a corruption of ‘passion’ which is associated with Easter. But the most persuasive explanation goes back to the 16th century. The New Year used to begin at Easter, often around the beginning of April. However, in 1564 King Charles IX changed it to 1st January. But in some areas the tradition of giving New Year’s presents around 1st April lingered, and because it was only the ‘false’ New Year, they gave ‘false’ presents i.e. they played tricks instead! See my last year’s post for April sayings and Easter traditions.
It doesn’t really matter how it all began anyway. It’s a fun time for kids, especially as adults are meant to reward them with a chocolate fish for each fish that ends up on their backs! Ruadhri is planning a major fish-sticking campaign on us!
Caitlin tells me that they have ‘poissons d’avril’ for lunch at lycée on 1st April. These are puff pastry fish with chocolate inside them. I’ve been trying to find a recipe but the best I’ve found so far is for fishy biscuits. Ruadhri and I got busy.
Here is Ruadhri’s first batch of biscuits. We’ve already eaten them all! The recipe was 50g soft butter, 50g sugar, 100g flour, bantam egg. Mix together, knead and roll out and cut fishy shapes with a knife. Bake approx. 10 mins in hot oven.
And not to forget my knitting since it’s knitting blog week. The subject is what has happened to various projects we have created. Most are still fulfilling their original roles – my pile of winter knitting on the shelves in the hallway get plenty of use from November to March. A lovely jumper I made for Ruadhri, but which he finally outgrew, is now a shopping bag. A neat bit of recycling if I say so myself! I’ve also used the sleeves of another outgrown jumper as peg bags. I sewed them onto one of those little plastic hangers that come with packs of underwear. Not the prettiest I suppose, but very practical and eco-friendly. (Like me!)