The View
from Here:
    Ellen Lampert-Greaux lives in Petite Saline, and when she's not organizing the St. Barts film festival, or supervising the local volleyball league, or writing for various magazines, she turns her all-seeing eye upon local happenings.
    August'03
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    A Tasty Tradition
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    Behind the veneer of glitz and glamour, far from the six million dollar villas and the mega-million dollar yachts, there is another Saint Barth. A gentler, old-fashioned world where values center around the home and hearth, or at least the kitchen. And while I'm not a fan of curried goat, there are some island culinary traditions that are quite tasty. At the top of my list is the "galette," a small round bread, not too unlike a biscuit. My mother-in-law is a specialist at making them, and when she does, they disappear as fast as you can spell galette. Eaten hot with a gooey slab of butter that you lick off your fingers. Yum. Or at Christmas Eve dinner you can make little sandwiches with warm galettes and fresh foie gras or smoked salmon. Even yummier. A few weeks ago during the annual festival on Flamands Beach, galettes and chicken soup were on the menu. For three euros you got a bowl of soup and a galette; extra galettes just 50 cents each. On Sunday, a woman at the far end of Flamands, in the part of the neighborhood called The Point, made a large batch of galettes to donate to the proceedings, as the festival is run by a local non-profit association. Then a funny thing began to happen. No sooner did someone walk down to The Point to fetch Florise's galettes and deliver them to the BBQ area on the beach, than other residents of The Point began a march to the beach. They stocked up on soup and galettes as well as chicken legs and ribs and walking back to The Point with their booty. Florise might as well have set up a galette stand right in front of the charming Saint Barth cottage where she lives with her sister, and saved everybody the walking back and forth in the noonday sun. In the meantime I was thoughtfully chewing on a galette myself when I saw an American woman who was on vacation in Flamands. I gave her a taste and she too was a convert. These galettes are certainly better than a stale baguette or a soggy croissant. So when she was back in the States and emailed me for the recipe, I figured I better make a batch myself. But who had a recipe? Did any of the Saint Barth women share the secrets of their kitchens, or did they all cook instinctively like my grandmother: a little bit of this and a little bit of that turning into a delicious meal. But the Lion's Club came to the rescue. In 1989 they had published a little booklet called Cuisine de Nos Grand-meres (Our Grandmothers Cooking) and there was the recipe for roasted galettes. I knew my mother-in-law fried hers, so I played around with the recipe, kneading the four cups of flour, one cup of water, baking powder and salt, into one sticky mess (yes, I remember from first grade that flour and water make paste). So after adding more flour I managed to make about a dozen oddly shaped galettes and after letting them sit the required 15 minutes I fried 'em up. And I must say, for a first attempt they weren't too bad. I don't know if I feel confident enough to make a gross for the Flamands festival next year, but who knows? By then, mine might just be as light and tasty as the best of them.
    More to come,
    Ellen Lampert-Greaux
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