gourmandise (goor mahn deez) noun feminine
: a fondness for food
J'ai mangé par gourmandise et non pas par faim.
I ate for the fondness of food and not for hunger.
A Day in a French Life... by Kristin Espinasse
I am sitting cater-corner from my husband, on the edge of the B&B bed. I have covered the hand-sewn lace bedcover with two small bath towels. I would not want to drop so much as une miette anywhere in Vittoria's chambre d'amis, prepared with such care and hospitality.
Outside, the camellias are in bloom and the fresh scent of citrus perfumes the air. Only in Sicily! It is wintertime but the flowers in southern Italy are blooming like well-nourished souls, which brings me back to my mission: le dîner.
As for the evening victuailles, it is each to his own or chacun pour soi tonight, especially since we have enjoyed a copious lunch, one that lingered on into the afternoon.... Jean-Marc, at the head of the bed, is reading, but that won't keep me from eating. I reach for the paper bag, wondering how to say "delicatessen" in Italian? I should have paid more attention to the names above the shopfronts but my eyes were trained on the colorful cauliflower (in purple!) and the plethora of prickly pear, or fichi d'India, that decorate the streets this time of year.
Currently all of my attention goes into opening this paper deli sack as quietly as possible. I try to be discreet because I can't bear it when my husband stops to watch me eat. He always has to make such a big deal about it, as do all of the French with their vocal voeux of "bon appétit!"
I stole away to Sicily last week... with him...
With Jean-Marc completely absorbed in his book, I reach into the noisy sack. I notice that my husband has bought two kinds of cheese, quelques artichoke hearts in olive oil, two typical bread rolls (one covered with toasted sesame), a box of bruschetta crackers, and two chocolate bars....
I begin with a hunk of piquant cheese -- one teeming with black peppercorns! I break off some bread to cool my mouth. The second cheese must have chili peppers inside... for more broken bread is needed to temper these taste buds!
So busy am I unwrapping cheese and bread that I forget about the commotion that is being made. Jean-Marc sets his book down and smiles like the devil.
"Ma chérie," he begins, "t'as une petite faim?"
Et vas-y! Go ahead and tease me! I nod my head, "and how's your book?" I inquire, in an attempt to divert his attention. It works: Jean-Marc returns to his book and I reach back into the bag for some olive-oil-drenched fonds d'artichaut.... Heavenly!
The crunchy bruschetta gives me away this time....
Jean-Marc raises his eyebrows. "Encore faim, ma chérie?" and there goes the devil, teasingly.
Calmly, I respond. "No. I am just eating slowly!" (the insinuation being that it may appear that I have eaten a lot, but in fact, I have not!)
My feathers are ruffled but this won't keep me from dessert. Nevetherless, I wait, once again, until my husband's eyes are wrapped around the words in his book. With that, I reach for the candy bar....
It takes several minutes to quietly unwrap the bar of white chocolate... in the end my efforts are in vain.
"Et ben! Tu as faim, mon amour!"
Bon, ça suffit, I give in!...
"No. As a matter of fact, I am not hungry!" Emboldened, now, by the chocolate bars that beckon, I admit, "Je n'ai pas faim du tout! JE MANGE PAR GOURMANDISE!"
Let's Grow Our French Vocabulary in the New Year!
une miette = crumb
une chambre d'amis = spare room, guest room
le dîner = dinner
les victuailles = food
chacun pour soi = each to his own, fend for yourself
bon appétit! = enjoy your meal!
quelques = a few
ma chérie. Tu as une petite faim? = My darling? A little hungry are you?
* see faim entry, here
Et ben! Tu as faim, mon amour! = Well, would you look at that! You're hungry my love!
Bon, ça suffit = enough is enough!
Je n'ai pas faim du tout! = I'm not hungry at all!
Je mange par gourmandise! = I'm just eating for the pleasure of it!
*reading: while I devoured the food, Jean-Marc devoured the book Palmento: A Sicilian Wine Odyssey (At Table)
Smokey (one year ago), learning to wait his turn for les bisous, or kisses, from my brother-in-law, a.k.a. "Uncle Jacques". Oh, it's so hard to wait, so hard to wait! I might just chew on this lace to pass the time...
Speaking of time, do you have a minute for another story? Thanks for taking the time to read about a friendly fisherman-artist in Marseilles. Click here to see photos of Jean-Marc and Camille and read the latter's story.
Thank you for the time you've spent reading my column. If you have learned more than a little vocabulary here and find yourself looking forward to the next story, please know that ongoing support from readers like you helps me continue doing what I love most: sharing these missives from France. Your support is vivement apprécié! Donating via PayPal is fast and easy when you use the links below. Merci infiniment! Kristi