english

Sea Anemones

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A recipe from the book "Memories of the Life and Cooking of Agde" by Madeline Cornal, as dictated to her son Michel Adgé.

Here is the recipe for a delicious dish but which requires some warnings for the gathering. It is necessary to go barefoot among the rocks, taking care not to step on a sea urchin.

With your fingers, unstick the anemones from their rocks, which will not let go without difficulty.  The pretty iridescent tentacles of this animal are venomous and stinging, as they serve to paralyse the little fish and other marine animals on which they feed. The people of Agde don't call it Stinging Nettle for nothing. Only a thick layer of grease on the fingers will resist it.

This venom is destroyed by cooking, which permits the cooking of this delicious dish.

You must bring a container of sea water to keep the anemones alive and to wash the sand away which covers them. A child's bucket will do.
When you get home, coat the "nettles" in flour, splitting the biggest ones in two, and let them cook in a big fryer and turning them over in the boiling oil like fritters. Above all, they must be fried to a golden brown. On tasting, this dish is also soft and as good as brain fritters.

Additional information:

Other names of this anemone are Green Actinia, Common Anemone, Fritter Anemone, Sea Anemone, and Ortigo (in Provence).
Anemones huddle together in all seasons. It is preferable to fish those in 50 cm of water. Plan for 15 anemones per person.
In the Mediterranean, we rinse the anemones in vinegar before rinsing them in clear water to stop the stinging effect.
Wash them, remove their sand, gut them, salt and pepper then and then roll them in the breading.  The pan must be hot. Use peanut oil. Serve them when the two sides are golden (A recipe from Corsica).

Generally, people eat them fried but sometimes also with garlic, chopped onion and tomato paste mixed in with the batter.
Hot and coated in crunchy batter, they exude a maritime flavour from the first bite.

Michel Adgé / Jean-Marc Roger. (traduction : Janet L. Clark)

 

"Morizot", creator of wooden figurines.

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Michel Izoird, from La Pointe Courte (Sète) was once an "odd-job" fisherman on the Etang de Thau, but like everyone else, he had to go into retirement.
He had been a jouster as well, but without going to excess, as he always favoured his role as a shield collector.  He also picked up the jousters who fell in the water, and that left him little time for jousting personally.  He was the logistical support during the tournaments as once a jouster fell in the water, it was necessary to replace him quickly to balance the weight of the barques.  Michel was well-regarded in this field.
As a jouster, from time to time, Izoird caused an upset by throwing several heavyweights into the water while he was only of medium weight.  Therefore, yes he jousted, but there isn't a lot of information about it.
Following an illness, although he completely stopped jousting, he didn't stop being a shield collector.  Then, unable to put out the effort, he looked for another way to fill his now free time.
In 2007/2008, inspired by the painter Pierre François, a painter from Sète, he started to paint.  And naturally, he turned towards what he loved the most, the jousts.
"The clothes pins (which are the basis of his works) are always what I look at as an aspect of a man.  When in doubt, I started with half the figurine."  Then he started to progressively make whole forms and "since I invent, I create my people.  I am having fun."   
For the 2016 Saint Louis tournament, Izoird is preparing some small shields that can be pinned to one's chest.  The 33 shields that he has made this year he has offered to the female directors of the event.  He himself wore two of them (one red and one blue) during the Saint Louis luncheon that took place at the Pointe-Courte.  
"When I have some free time, I work on this or that part of my figurines and all that is done by hand, with the cutter and the scraper, but no other machine."
For next year, he is even envisaging the construction of two tournament barques, the red and the blue, complete with jousters buttressed and ready for combat.
Izoird presented his last creation, one with 4 traditional musicians of which one is a woman drummer, to the young female tambour player during this same meal.  Michel Izoird doesn't sell anything: he only offers.
Izoird likes to work below his home in front of his cabin at the left of the Pointe-Courte but sometimes he hears a pigeon cooing and he knows that he is expected at home for a hand of cards.  He can never resist this call and so he goes home to play two or three hands.  Then he goes back to making his figurines.
Ensconced in front of his workbench, he is already preparing for the next season.

Jean-Marc Roger / Janet L. Clark

"My Mother's Cooking" by Michel Adge

A lecture and demonstration of local recipes in the small garden of the "Chapter Room" in Agde.

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 This evening, entitled "Having Your Say", was organized within the framework of the enhancement of Agathois heritage by the association UBIK ART in collaboration with the Heritage Mission of Agde.
The guest speaker for the evening was Michel Adge, formerly a professor of physics, an impassioned and fascinating scientist who loves and defends the Agathois heritage from the Canal du Midi, about which he wrote a thesis in 2011 regarding the fauna and flora of Agde and its region, and about many other subjects as well. He is also the President of "l'Escolo Dai Sarret" (the founding association of the Agathois Museum Jules Badou) and a Chevalier of Arts and Letters.
This superb demonstration took place in the presence of Gilles D'Ettore, Mayor of Agde, Yvonne Keller, alderwoman in charge of cultural affairs, and Christine Antoine, city councillor and Heritage delegate, as well as the 33 invited guests.
The evening's program consisted of speaking about Agathois heritage and demonstrating two recipes, first of all the method of cooking chick peas " in a way such that one could not play marbles with them" and also the way to beat an egg without using mustard as "here, there are only kitchen workers who think you must beat an egg with mustard...."
"I want to go against certain popular beliefs and in particular the belief that the Agathois language is only good enough for the colonists who come from the northern part of France... Once the Agathois population was of foreign origin, but the people who came to Agde settled themselves into the local population, taking on the Agathois ways of speech and dress, whereas now the Agathois are interlaced."
"Our language has become a forgotten language and it is going to disappear. Optimistically speaking, we who know how to express ourselves in the Agathois language are only a few in number, around 10, and in one generation, it'll be over. It will have disappeared."
Hence we have the attempts by L'Escolo dai Sarret, of which Michel Adge is the president, to save this language, so that "in 50 years, in 200 years, if a Japanese or a Turk has the intellectual curiosity to know how one spoke in Agde, how one cooked in Agde, that he can find documents for that."
All the while peeling conscientiously the potatoes and garlic, Miche Adge continued to expand on his view on life by applying himself to the cause in a tongue-in-cheek manner.
"I want to refer to a book written in 1970, "The Peter Principal", that one can sum up like this: each individual can raise himself only to his level of incompetence... that is why, tonight, I am giving a lecture on Agathois cuisine...." This made everybody laugh, himself as well.
"I have lived my whole life surrounded by women who were all excellent cooks. For my whole life, I have fed myself without focussing on what was going on on my plate. And then there came a moment where I had to pick up the baton and I suppose that I was imbued, little by little, with what was going on around me to the point that my mother, when I started cooking, told me that I was doing better than her. That was false, naturally."
All while watching the potatoes cook, he spoke to us about the books he had taken to heart, those collected and written out by his mother, and which he intends to complete and re-edit, "if my doctor gives me an extension. in 20 to 25 years." The recipes which it contains are the "recipes of the small-scale farm households of which some cost practically nothing."
Michel Adge, in returning to the theme of the event, spoke next about his way of cooking chickpeas. "The chickpeas have been cooked for two hours, with the only shortcoming being the lack of cloves. The three secrets for the best result is to let them soak at least 24 hours with bicarbonate of soda, use non-mineralised water and especially never reduce the heat below boiling."
Michel Adge added a bay leaf and some cloves of garlic, whereas his mother, for her part, had put in a whole head of garlic. Then came the explanation of his basic recipe for anglerfish which would be cooked with the potatoes, the garlic and the onions, and in which one would then incorporate aioli.
The audience followed attentively all his preparations and soon after, he served them a taste of these Agathois dishes.

Jean-Marc Roger / Janet L. Clark

Nicolas Figuerolles, "discoverer" of Césarion.

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 The day after Christmas, December 26, 2001, Nicolas Figuerolles, amateur diving fanatic, had the luck to discover two magnificent bronze statuettes.
That day, he got into the water in a zone that he frequented regularly right by the beach by the sea near Marseillan-Plage, and he made these two incredible discoveries.
"There were winter storms which stirred up the bottom and moved the sediment."
During this dive, not only did he discover the statuette of Césarion but another right next to it, that of Eros, the God of Love.
"I saw the calf of the first statuette, Eros, and I delicately extracted him from the sediment and underneath I then noticed Césarion... I had a moment of emptiness.  For 10 or 15 seconds I didn't know if I was breathing...."
The two statuettes are in bronze.  Eros has eyes of silver and Césarion  had eyes of glass paste but they have not been found.
The desire to dive struck Figuerolles in 1997 during training at the School of the Sea in Sète.  He had a professor friend who loved to dive.  This friend had a keen interest in everything that was a wreck or an antiquity.  And at each of their meetings Nicolas Figuerolles didn't stop asking his friend to bring him diving.  And "giving up", he brought Figuerolles diving in this  area "in fact so that I would not go rummaging around in his own zone."
From which zone these discoveries were made after four years of exploration.
"When I finally found it, that was well-worth the four years of excavations.  There are those who spend as much time without finding anything."
Right away, there was the discovery of the Mosaic on May 10, 2003.  The Mosaic, named "The Musical Joust of Apollo and the Condemnation of the Satyr", weighed at least 40 kg.  It was discovered in the same zone as the two statuettes.
"One day, I wanted to change my depth gauge (the instrument that divers use at all times to check the depth they're at), as in all dives the important thing is the water level to know if the sand has left or not.  Therefore, if you come back to the same site and notice that 20 cm of sand is missing, you just might find something."
"And that day, in trying it in the this same zone, I happened upon the Mosaic.  It was planted vertically, half-buried in sand.  Coming back to my place with the object, I phoned right away to advise them of this discovery."
"In order to find the emplacement again, I took care to put in place a metal carabiner which allowed, ensuite, to localize the exact point of the discovery."
This polychromatic mosaic is composed of a limestone base and a mortar assembly of 15,000 tessarae.
Despite all these discoveries of great patrimonial interest, Nicolas Figuerolles stopped his dives.  Having had an accident in his youth, he feels today that the repercussions and the fatigue no longer allows him as much diving as before.
On the day of my meeting with him at the Museum of the Ephebe at the Cap d'Agde, Nicolas Figuerolles had just dropped off a new "object".


"An object discovered off the coast of Balaruc-les-Bains, an object in bronze still not defined and therefore "unknown" which could be, after the first hypotheses a dish or a bracket from a hand mirror.  Its style dates it as ancient (even gallo-roman)."
Today, from the moment that "the object" was dropped off by its inventor, a study begins of the work (dating, usage, origin, ....) as well as a restoration in a laboratory specializing in the metal archeological furniture before it can be presented to the public."
(Informations given by Olivier Chambon, registrar of the collections of the Museum of the Ephèbe)


It is to note that after a stay of more than 6 months in Japan, Césarion is going again, accompanied by the emblem of Mosaic, to be ready for an exposition on the 50 years from DRASSM.   This exposition, "Memory to the Sea, Diving to the Heart of Submarine Archeology", will take place at the Museum of History of Marseille from April 28, 2016 to May 28, 2017.
More information at :  www.museecapdagde.com

Jean-Marc Roger/Janet Lee Clark‌