TODAY'S FRENCH PHRASE: mener à la baguette
: to boss, to boss around, to rule with a rod of iron
ECOUTER--Hear these French words spoken by Jean-Marc:
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Pendant le repas et la séance de peinture, la charmante Tess nous a mené à la baguette.
During lunch and the painting session, charming Tess bossed us all around.
A DAY IN A FRENCH LIFE
by Kristi Espinasse
Betty, one of our guests at yesterday's lunch and winetasting, asked how I come up with the word of the day. Voilà mon secret: I first write the journal entry and then try to find a word to summarize the story's theme. This is easier said than done, and I end up scrambling for a French word--any French word! Tant pis!
Case in point: yesterday's meetup. Most of the thematic words that could have worked have already been used in the years of journal entries that I've stashed online--words like festin (September 2005), dégustation or, given the gastronomic theme, un fouet (August 2004, "Tribute to Julia Child").
Unable to come up with a word for today, I relaxed back and recalled scenes from yesterday's convivial RDV. And that is when I heard it! A slight murmur....a snippet from our table lively conversation at the table.
Was it Meiling or Wendell or Thelma who said it? Peu importe! What matters is what was said: "There goes Miss Bossy Boots again!"
Miss Bossy Boots is my dear friend, chef, and artist Tess (wearing purple and cutting this baguette). She created a delightful and enriching way to experience France, via her Paint Provence vacations--and she often brings her "darling hearts" (or, more often, "Naughty ones!") as she calls them, to our home--and brings a gourmet lunch to boot. (To boot, hey....). Smokey adores Tess as she is the most generous and leaves behind tasty salmon skins and all les restes.
Hearing our guests call Tess Miss Bossy Bottes, I'd found our word of the day! Only how to say it in French?
Jean-Marc suggested chef, so I looked that up. "Faire son petit chef" does indeed mean, "to boss around". But so does mener à la baguette ! And this was the more colorful of the two idioms--plus there was a foodie theme in the phrase!
Hélas non! The baguette in question refers to an iron rod...and not a warm, golden and fluffy loaf of French bread weilded by an authoratative English woman!
Ah, well, as Tess would say, "Darling Girl, don't worry about it!"
Well who am I to argue with Miss Bossy Boots? All worries aside, I leave you with that delighful phrase-of-the-day...and these souvenir photos from yesterday.
Eugenia, Kristi, and Tish. We are all wearing blue, hinting to the sky to change colors. They gray eventually gave way! And we enjoyed a sunny moment...before the rain came down.
Tish took this picture of our new deck, facing our front porch. What should be planted in the bed below? (Extra credit if you name a perennial food crop!). Comments welcome here.
"The Angels' Share."
Missing from this photo is my beautiful friend Cyn and her adorable Bandol neighbors, Cathy and Jean who didn't speak English and who were wonderful sports! Pictured: Cyn's husband Ian, Mary Lynn, Jean-Marc, Betty, Eugenia, and Tish. Jean-Marc is talking about "The Angels' Share". This is the amount of wine that evaporates, each month, from the wine barrel. The French say the evaporated or missing wine goes to the angels, La part des anges...
I think I'll leave off on that ethereal note--and let this story enjoy a heavenly ending!
Tant pis! = oh, well! (too bad)
Voilà mon secret = here's my secret
le festin = feast
la dégustation = tasting
le fouet = whisk
RDV = rendez-vous, meet-up
peu importe = no matter, it doesn't matter
hélas = unfortunately
les restes = leftovers
amicalement = warmly
Marjorie R. William's new book on French food and culture: Markets of Provence.
"Thorough, accurate and mouth-watering. Essential reading for all market-hoppers.” ―Peter Mayle, author of A Year in Provence and A Good Year". Order a copy here.
I am so excited to see my blurb on the back of this book, in between these Provence and Food experts! Thank you for ordering a copy HERE.
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