TODAY'S WORD: envers
: to, towards
à l'envers = upside down
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La vraie générosité envers l'avenir consiste à tout donner au présent.
Real generosity towards the future lies in giving all to the present.
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A DAY IN A FRENCH LIFE
by Kristi Espinasse
After our chat about tout et rien et espadrilles, I walked my neighbor home. Taking a raccourci through our back yard, Annie paused before the permaculture garden, which is wilder than ever during this time of transition.
"Tu es le chef d'artichauts!" Annie said, approaching the raised garden beds. "These are the violet variety, non?"
I wasn't sure. When we first built the stone beds, I remember casting a variety of seeds--before crossing my fingers that luck would spring up (mostly a lot of fennel appeared--which already grew like weeds in the surrounding fields!).
Viewing these artichokes through the eyes of Annie, I saw them in a new, spectacular light.
"You ought to be eating them!" Annie, said. I realized I had been waiting to harvest them when Mama Jules arrives, May 29th...
There were at least 10 artichoke plants, each with 5 or more of the delicious globes--some, as Annie remarked, had a faint purple undertone. Each plant had two or three ripe masses that were ready for harvesting. As we stood admiring the plants, it finally occurred to me Why not offer Annie some?
"Wait! I'll be right back!" I said.
Returning with a paper sack, I began to collect the large "flowers" with delectable leaves and was feeling the sheer joy that comes with giving... when another impulse gradually overcame the positive emotion. Maybe I should keep some for myself? Wouldn't they be delicious with homemade mayonnaise or melted butter or canned in olive oil and herbs? We could keep some for a rainy day if we didn't give them all away!
Tangled there inside another artichoke plant (I had climbed up into another bed to access the hard-to-reach chokes) I heard Annie calling and her words only mirrored my own: Gardes-en pour toi! Keep some for yourself!
Yes, pour moi! Moi! moi! moi! (Ah! That was the voice of Gimme Gimme La Radine. The stingy low-life avec sa pingrerie that lives beside the trash heap of my lower persona. It voices itself from time to time--usually when it comes to food... like when my husband asks for a bite of my dessert).
Thoughts teetering between lack and abundance, I emerged from inside the giant leafy "Cynara cardunculus" to begin handing over more and more artichokes to my neighbor. It was the only remedy--the quickest, the nearest, the surest--for what had unexpectedly ailed me: l'avarice.
"Merci! C'est trop gentille!" Annie said. Then she mentioned she'd return to my house in a little bit....
And she did--with a plateful of deep-fried artichoke hearts. It was her Italian grandmother's tasty recipe! Looking down at the plate of sliced, breaded and fried chokes it seemed Annie had taken all I had given her and returned it to me (she insists there remained enough for her family). And in so doing, Annie gave me another precious recette, a universal Recipe for Generosity:
Whatever you give will be returned to you--often better, larger, and improved!
* * *
envers = toward
un raccourci = shortcut
le chef =chief, master, chef
l'artichaut = artichoke
l'avarice = miserliness
la pingrerie = stinginess
radin(e) = stingy
c'est trop gentille = it's too kind
la recette = recipe
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