Bird’s Nest Soup
April Fools’ Day is celebrated on April 1st. It is the name given to the custom of playing practical jokes on friends, or sending them on fools’ errands. Sometimes, elaborate practical jokes played on friends or relatives last the entire day. Even the news media sometimes gets involved. Whatever the prank, the trickster usually ends it by yelling to his victim, “April Fool!”
The history of April Fools’ Day, sometimes called All Fools’ Day, is not clear. There is no first “April Fools’ Day” that can be pinpointed on the calendar, although it is known to date back to at least the sixteenth century. Most historians believe that this day originated in continental northern Europe and then spread to Britain.
In England, tricks can be played only in the morning. If a trick is played on you, you are a ‘noodle’.
In Scotland, April Fools’ Day is actually celebrated for two days and the custom is known as “hunting the gowk” (the cuckoo), and April fools are “April gowks”. The second day is devoted to pranks involving the posterior region of the body. It is called Taily Day. The origin of the ‘kick me’ sign can be traced to this observance.
In Ireland, a common practical joke was to send someone to deliver a note that read “send the fool further.” In many places, these ‘fools errands’ would be accompanied by a verse for the recipient, which said “don’t you laugh, and don’t you smile, send the gowk another mile.”
In France, children fool their friends by taping a paper fish to their backs. When the young victim discovers this trick, the prankster yells “Poisson d’Avril!”
In Portugal, April Fools’ is celebrated on the Sunday and Monday before Lent. The traditional trick there is to throw flour at your friends.
Here is my own brand of April Fools’ humor whipped into a recipe I call Bird Nest Soup:
1 bird nest (I hear swallow nests are best)
6 tablespoons crushed rock sugar (to help balance any acidic taste the nest might have)
2 cups clean water
Go over the nest and pick out any loose feathers, dirt, or droppings. Prepare the nest for soup by soaking it in cold water for several hours (or overnight). Rinse well. Go over the nest and pick out any loose feathers, dirt, or droppings.
Bring a pot of water to boil and simmer the bird’s nests for about 5 minutes. Rinse well and gently squeeze dry. Go over the nest and pick out any loose feathers, dirt, or droppings. Place the bird nest in the soup pot and add 2 cups of clean water. Bring to a boil and simmer until the nest is quite soft. Add the rock sugar, stirring to dissolve.
Serve the soup hot. Then, after eating, brush, floss, and rinse mouth thoroughly.