le coin du feu (kwan dew fuuh) noun, masculine
Mais il existe un havre où l'on peut toujours savourer une relation authentique: le coin du feu chez un ami auprès duquel on peut se défaire de ses petites vanités et trouver chaleur et compréhension.
But there is another realm where we can always find something true, the fireside of a friend, where we shed our little conceits and find warmth and understanding.
--Kressmann Taylor, author of Address Unknown
by Kristin Espinasse
The words "Chestnuts roasting on an open fire" meant little to the pint-size Phoenician who once sang them. More than thirty years later, and Jack Frost still isn't hanging outside my window. (Though it is snowing in parts of Provence...)
One thing roasting "fireside" in my childhood home was cheddar cheese, this, over a flour tortilla (and this, beneath the oven's grill). As for snug fireside seating, my mom got creative: she pulled a few chairs across the cramped linoleum floor, flush with the oven's open door (on which we set our
feet -- all four!).
(Wait a minute... isn't this account of "My Mother Stuck Our Feet into the Trailer Oven!" the stuff of a gritty memoir? Move over Frank McCourt. Step aside Mary Karr! On second thought and before I get caught--like that guy who wrote about alcohol, drugs, rehabilitation and whatnot--I'll have you know the oven's "fire" was low, and that's as far as my gripping tell-all goes!)
Back to my story, which takes place early morning in the desert, near Christmas time....
...Feet resting on the oven door, box of black licorice between us (or orangettes,* depending), my mom fueled her fire for fiction, and I, warm and toasty beside her, watched literature light up her face...
* * *
Should mom make it back to France (quelle chance!* quelle chance!), she'll now have a fireplace on which her feet might dance. And I might roast chestnuts beside her, listening, as she spoke, of rearing us girls while damn near broke.
A chestnut recipe for you -- with instructions in French & English! Click here:
orangette (chocolate) candied orange peels; quelle chance! = what luck!
"The Liars' Club: A Memoir" by Mary Karr
James Frey's "A Million Little Pieces"
:: Audio File ::
Listen to Jean-Marc pronounce today's French word & quote:
Gifts and shopping:
The Complete Pepin: Techniques and Recipes (DVD)
In music: Paris' Most Beautiful Songs
Made in Provence: Savon et Cie Bath Salts: in calm/soothing lavender
French Alphabet Blocks -- complete with letters, numbers and animal pictures
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