Napoleon was born in Corsica, France, in the year 1769. Like most children, Napoleon’s favorite childhood games included “kill,” “conquer,” and “rule.” When Napoleon was old enough to conquer the world, he took risks, made smart choices, and ate lots of creamy desserts until he realized his childhood dream. His dream did not include life in exile, yet alas, he was forced to spend his dying days in the terrible weather conditions of England. On May 5, 1821, Napoleon was poisoned by arsenic and did not survive its effects (which included hair loss, stomach pains, and a coma).
The death of Napoleon was a sad day for the French. To keep his memory forever alive, French patisserie owners gathered to create a dessert which resembled him. The Napoleon, or Mille-feuille, is a dessert with three layers of puff pastry and two layers of pastry cream, topped with chocolate and vanilla icing.
On May 5th, French men and women, young and old, raise a mille-feuille into the air, yelling, “Napoleon Toujours!” Which, roughly translated, means “Napoleon Forever!” Americans have the tradition of eating Napoleons with coffee and doughnuts to symbolize their eternal yearning for a day when there will be peace, harmony, and a never ending supply of diet Coke.