La truffe would have been the word of the day but it was recently featured as one of the Hardest Words to Pronounce. So enjoy this new term, taken from Tim and Gary's story:
"PORTE et FENETRE"
: a mutt, a crossbreed
Example Sentence & Sound File:
La dénomination bâtard, croisé, corniaud, coin de rue, porte et fenêtre, et j'en passe parce qu'il y en a beaucoup, n'est en rien insultant ou dévalorisant pour le chien, c'est juste une dénomination, cela n'enlève rien au qualité du chien. (Luvic, Forum-Chien.com)
The name bastard, cross, mongrel, street corner, door and window, and I won't go on because there are many, is not insulting or devaluing for the dog, it is just a denomination, that does not detract from the quality of the dog. (Google translation of Luvic's comment)
(Dear Reader, let us know in the comments below how you manage to listen to the recording while looking the example sentence. A few of you have written in, asking for help with this issue. Merci!)
by Gary McClelland and Tim Averill
Above the sound of the cigales and the breeze, we heard “ching, ching” interrupted now and then with a firm “arrête!” as we chased after Christophe and his truffle-hunting dog extraordinaire Cacahuète (“Peanut”). Our notion that truffle hunting was an old man’s stroll in the afternoon shade was replaced with the reality of dashing between trees in the early morning sun. Christophe must keep up with Cacahuète because, even as a porte-fenêtre (mutt, literally, “in the door and out the window”), he has developed a taste for truffles and if given the chance is “une chienne voleuse.” We thought perhaps “ching ching” was Provençal for “chien,” but Christophe explained it was his version of “Tiens, tiens, indicating to Cacahuète that a dog treat reward was being offered. This works about three out of four times.
Even when Cacahuète was digging atop a truffle, it was difficult for us to see it until Christophe dug it up with his knife. A few times Christophe cut off a small piece of truffle for Cacahuète to maintain his interest. Christophe did not want his beloved Cacahuète to get too hot so we harvested for about an hour, gathering about 750 grams of summer truffles that usually go for about 100 Euros/kg. A few of the truffles were pourri (spoiled, rotten), but most were ready for market.
We had been introduced to Christophe by our favorite Bédoin boulanger Jean-Pierre. Before and after our chase through his plantation of 1,500 live oaks, we sat around a table in the shade of a tree, discussing truffles, and eating Jean-Pierre’s bread and croissants with truffle butter made from the more luxurious black winter truffles, and looking towards Le Mont Ventoux, le Géant de Provence, in one direction and towards a tall ochre cliff in the other. We were very good at this part of the truffle hunting process!
Christophe, tall, lanky, and about 35, spoke with a lilting Provençal accent at a relaxed pace that was accessible even to non-Francophone listeners. He told us the story of inheriting this land from his father and deciding to plant trees to cultivate truffles, which grow around the root system of live oaks. He started small and initially the trees did not produce, but with agronomic advances and additional plantings, he began to see enough production to make truffles a business. Christophe’s affable mood only turned when Lauren asked him about truffle oil. “Ça n’existe pas. Ce n’est que de la chimie.” Like other artisans we have met in Bédoin, Christophe sees his work as a calling, an avocation rather than as a way to earn a living. He shared a few of his truffle secrets but we will not divulge them here!
Want to speak French fluently? 30-Day French will teach you everything you need to know to speak French on your next trip to France with 30 lessons based on real-life conversations. Try it out.
la chasse aux truffes = truffle hunt
la cigale = cicada
arrête! = stop!
la cacahuète = peanut
une chienne = female dog
voleur/voleuse = thief
tiens = here you go
porte et fenêtre = mutt
pourri = rotten
Bédoin = a village in the Vaucluse
le boulanger = baker
Le Géant de Provence = The Giant of Provence (a.k.a. Le Mont Ventoux)
ochre (from Old French ocre)
Dear Reader, help out with these last two terms regarding truffle oil--in the context in which they were used in today's story. Use the comments link at the end of this post.
Ça n’existe pas =
Ce n’est que de la chimie =
Don't miss Tim's post "False Friends: Faux Amis in French"
Be sure to read Gary's other posts including one about the beloved game of Pétanque, here.
Truffle ZEST : Vegetarian, vegan, dairy-free, gluten-free - made with real truffles, can be added to everything such as soups, potatoes, vegetables, eggs, rice, pasta, pizza and sushi.
Field Guide to North American Truffles: Hunting, identifying, and enjoying the world's most prized fungi
Thank you for the time you've just spent reading this French word story. If you have learned more than a little vocabulary here and find yourself looking forward to the next letter, please know that a one-time contribution helps me continue doing what I love most: improving these posts. Your support is vivement apprécié. Donating via PayPal is fast and easy when you use the links below. Merci infiniment!