ciseau
tourterelle

arnaquer

butter and cheese shop in old Salernes (c) Kristin Espinassearnaquer (ar-nah-kay) verb
  to cheat, swindle, rip off

Comme on serait meilleur, sans la crainte d'être dupe!

How much better we would be, without the fear of being fooled!
--Jules Renard

A Day in a French Life...

My 8- and 10-year-old lead me through the salon* to the dinner table, just opposite the fireplace. "OK, mommy, you can look now," Max says.

When I release my two-handed blindfold I see sweetness and light--the bright faces of two grinning gourmets and the fructose and sugar feast they have prepared. On the table are two jugs of flavored water. In one jug the water is forest green, in the other it is beet red from the over-measured amounts of syrup (mint and grenadine) that the kids have poured in. On each plate is a smile of unpeeled fruit--apple and orange eyes and a happy banana bouche.* In the center of the table, a glass bowl holds quartered strawberries with enough sucre* sprinkled on top to sweeten the devil.

"Sit down, Mommy," Max says. "Tu veux boire quelque chose? Would you like something to drink?"

When we are settled, Jackie asks her brother to pass the 'shon-tee-yee'.*
"But isn't it called 'crème fouettée'?" I say, pointing out the French word for pressurized cream (which is written across the can). The kids agree that I have a point there, but that 'shon-tee-yee' is what they and all their friends call it. Jean-Marc tells me that the term 'crème fouettée' is perhaps a bit 'vieux jeu'.
"Old-fashioned?" I reply, disappointed as only a language learner can be when another word has been plucked from her bag of tricks.

While Jackie divides up the strawberries, making sure we all have the same amount of fruit in our bowls ("pour ne pas se disputer," so as not to argue amongst ourselves," as the kids are fond of saying) Max delivers the news: "Maman, tu t'es fait bien arnaquer avec ces fraises! You were really ripped off with these strawberries. We had to throw half of them out!"

The strawberry swindle begins to eat at me as I realize that what looked ripe on top was, in reality, spotted and downright furry beneath. I ask Jackie to please pass me the canned shon-tee-yee where my finger will rest heavily on the plastic nozzle as I deal with frustration and loss the old-fashioned way--with extra helpings of cholesterol.

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References: le salon (m) = living room; la bouche (f) = mouth; le sucre (m) = sugar; shon-tee-yee (pronunciation for (la) chantilly = cream)

Listen to the word "arnaquer": Download arnaquer.wav

Terms:
une arnaque = a swindle
un arnaqueur, une arnaqueuse = a swindler, cheat
  synonyms for 'arnaqueur' include: un escroc (crook), un filou (rogue, cheat) and un voleur (thief)

Verb conjugation: j'arnaque, tu arnaques, il/elle arnaque, nous arnaquons, vous arnaquez, ils/elles arnaquent; past participle = arnaqué

Related books: "2000+ Essential French Verbs: Learn the Forms, Master the Tenses, and Speak Fluently!"

Tune Up Your French: Top 10 Ways to Improve Your Spoken French

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Words_in_a_french_life Words in a French Life: "...a heart-winning collection from an American woman raising two very French children with her French husband in Provence, carrying on a lifelong love affair with the language."
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