Curtained doors and French charm in the village of Serignan
:: Bonjour New York City! ::
If you happen to be in the Big Apple next month, then let's meet at Crawford Doyle Booksellers, a small store located around the corner from the Metropolitan Museum between 81st and 82nd Streets on Madison Ave. I'll be there, perusing the stacks, on April 15th, from 4:00 to 6:00. RSVP here.
futé (foo-tay) adjective
sharp, smart, astute, crafty
une petite futée = a sharp little thing, a clever one
Think out of the box? No, the French don't think out of the box. They think out of the cone! Make that the culinary cone: handmade of clay, shaped like a pyramid, only with rounded edges, and glazed in a fiery stove. You guessed it: Tagine!*: an epicurean essential when you cook Moroccan instead of Provençale.
On Saturday night, I got to thinking about tagines. Specifically, if we were set to eat Tagine Chicken, then how come our hostess just placed a bright-red Dutch oven in the center of the table? Back to thinking out of the box ... or cone....
Aurore, our hostess, explained: "Tagine, simply, is the name for Moroccan stew. But you don't need a tagine to cook a ragout. Any slow-simmering pot will do!"
Aurore's breezy reply matched her style: witty, warm, and improviste;* a style she's been perfecting ever since marrying Alain, the quick-to-criticize "cook". You might say Aurore and Alain are the French version of "The Honeymooners"*. He's Ralph, she's Alice. He's the wise-cracker, she's the clever counter-attacker.
While seated next to Isabelle, discussing language, I kept my ear partly tuned to our hosts' playful banter. "Carrots!" Alain remarked, of his wife's simple entrée. "Darling, carrots will render you agreeable!" she countered, citing a famous French dicton.* Aurore had a witty comeback for every one of Alain's teasing criticisms. And though many of the French-language subtleties eluded me, I could appreciate Aurore's character. But, how to describe it in a word?
Meantime, Isabelle and I, seated in the couple's crossfire, were discussing the French word "futé".* While Isabelle tried to explain its meaning, Alain launched another playful vexation. On hearing his wife's witty retort, I looked over to Isabelle. "Futé... I get it!" I said, impressed with our hostess's endless repartee, thoughtful words not to be confined to a box, let alone a culinary cone.
tagine = http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tajine ; improvist(e) = improvised; honeymooners = http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Honeymooners ; carrot dicton = Les carottes, ça rend aimable = Eating carrots makes you agreeable; futé = clever
Get yourself a tagine! - read the rave reviews here.
A must read: "Cooking at the Kasbah: Recipes from My Moroccan Kitchen" by Kitty Morse
Featured Francophile gift: Paris Metro Subway Apron
Tune Up Your French: Top 10 Ways to Improve Your Spoken French
A French salon favorite: Kerastase Volumactive Shampoo
Le Creuset Round French Oven
Ongoing support from readers like you helps me to continue this French word journal, now in its 18th year! If you enjoy and look forward to these posts and want to give something back, please know your contribution makes a difference! A donation by check or via PayPal is greatly appreciated.
♥ Contribute $10
♥ Contribute $25
♥ Contribute the amount of your choice