It’s been a couple of years since we last had gallettes. I always look forward to Jen making them, but they are admittedly a multi-hour event since a single iron only produces a single gallette every few minutes. They are also known to those from the southwestern PA town as New Year’s Day cakes, and the time investment explains why this is usually a once a year event.
For years Jen has been using the recipe handed down from her grandmother on a stained 3 x 5 notecard, and for years she’s heard from her dad that her Aunt Louise made the best gallettes he ever tasted. Figuring that recipe had died with Aunt Louise and all the other Belgian immigrants from that area, she stuck with the recipe she’d been given.
In the last year, we’ve been through almost every inch of her Dad’s house, from the back corners of the attic to the crawlspace under the floorboards. We’ve probably read through and organized every scrap of paper in the house in an effort to organize his life again. It got so that we could speed-sort envelopes based on their color, weight and size. And the amount of paper we wound up
throwing out recycling was immense. Contractor bags full of paper, boxes of books, enough to fill dumpsters—40 years of not just one life lived, but the lives of the whole family. Everything they’d collected and stored and forgotten about. We’ve boxed up the stuff worth keeping and tossed the rest.
So it was with surprise that Jen found a folded, yellowed piece of paper on top of my extension cords as she was putting something into the back of the CRV one day at her dad’s. At first she thought it had fallen out of one of the multiple tool boxes I had packed for the day’s work and nearly ignored it. The door was nearly closed when something told her that paper was worth a second look, so she picked it up to examine it and discovered a recipe for gallettes written in an unfamiliar hand. She knew immediately she’d “found” Aunt Louise’s recipe as given to her by Mrs. Bertiaux, the daughter of one of the original Belgian immigrants brought to the town to work in the glassworks. Jen said she literally looked around behind her to see who could’ve put it there.
Saturday afternoon she followed the new recipe’s increased ingredient list and more complicated instructions to create a fresh batch of galettes. And I’m here to tell you, these gallettes are amazing. So much more flavor, a lighter texture, just incredible all the way around. I’ve been trying not to sneak into the kitchen and eat them all myself, but it’s been very challenging. It’s so good I dusted off my eBay account and set up an alert for another gallette iron so we can do two at a time.
I told Jen I have no idea where that scrap of paper came from or how it got there, but I think it was meant to find its way home to our house.
(thanks to Jen for filling in the details in this post).