veuve de la vendange

Mealtime and How to say "I'm full" in French

Mont Ventoux (c) Kristin Espinasse
A typical country lunch in southern France... read on, in today's story.

rassasier (rah-sah-zee-ay)

    : to satisfy, to satiate; (reflexive) to have enough, to be filled

Audio file: listen to Jean-Marc teach us three ways to say I'm full (and not "je suis plein"!):  Download MP3 file or  hear the Wave file

  1. Non, merci. Je n'ai plus faim.
  2. Non, merci. Je suis rassasié(e).
  3. Non, merci. J'en ai eu assez. 


A DAY IN A FRENCH LIFE... by Kristin Espinasse

  "An outward focus and an outstanding lunch" 

On Sunday we were expected at Yves and Roseline's house for le déjeuner. I thought to send Jean-Marc ahead without me, not wanting to distract the other diners with my bandaged nose

"J'ai l'air ridicule!" I assured Jean-Marc. It's just comical. How will the other guests keep a straight face?

"Why don't you just cut it off altogether?" he joked. I did not share Jean-Marc's sense of humor, which only fueled my frustration. That's it! No use hiding out at home, alone, with my husband's words ringing in my head!

Lunch at Roseline and Yves's was a welcome distraction. For the repas de chasse, we were greeted by six of Yves's black-and-white spotted hunting dogs, les epagneuls. Our gentle host offered a warm three-kiss welcome, before ushering us into the house, to sit beside the fire with the other guests.

Yves's wife, Roseline, appeared with the first of several apéritifs... Inside the little clear glasses, or verrines, puréed avocado held a layer of crushed, sun-dried tomatoes. Another tray included individual servings of pumpkin potage with a slice of foie gras on top of each mini soup. We used spoons to dip into the small serving glasses; meantime Yves poured champagne.... 

Also on the coffee table were three kinds of savory petits-fours: one of the buttery pastries was made into little feuilletés à la tapenade, another ( a kind of puff pastry cup) held fruits de mer in a creamy sauce. There were also little pancakes with crème fraîche and smoked salmon on top....

If we were going to finish lunch by 4:30 pm, we'd better get crackin'. It was almost 2pm when we switched tables, leaving the living room for the dining room. Roseline disappeared into the kitchen in time to fry up two omelets, carefully mixing in the truffles that were unearthed near the vineyard just outside her kitchen!

After the omelette aux truffes, Yves brought out his offering:


 Lièvre aux truffes. Yves caught the hare himself, and he and Roseline prepared it with truffles, foie gras, and cognac.

The other guests at the table teased the host, after a pellet was found on one of the diners' plates (I think it was Jean-Marc who pulled it out of his own mouth!).

"Be careful not to break a tooth when eating at Yves!" one of the table mates winked.

The four-hour meal continued... A plate of soft cheese, including Saint-marcellin and reblochon, followed, before two "kings cakes"—les galettes des rois— were delivered to the table, following the recent Epiphany celebration.

What with all the outstanding food, this bandaged nose hardly stood out.  What a shame it would have been to have missed out on a traditional country French lunch, surrounded by down-to-earth hosts and their delightful convives


Update: I return to the doctor's this afternoon, to have the stitches taken out, and to learn the results from this third biopsy. Many thanks for the positive thoughts you sent me! 



le déjeuner = lunch
j'ai l'air ridicule
= I look ridiculous
le repas de chasse = hunter's meal
un epagneul = English springer
un apéritif = usually refers to a drink, but can also refer to a snack, such as an amuse-bouche that preceeds a meal 
la verrine = a little see-through glass or cup in which one layers mousse or other savory or sweet "pureed things", topped or mixed, with non-pureed items, too 

le potage = a thick soup
le foie gras = a kind of pâté made of duck or goose liver
les petits fours = little snacks or hors d'oeuvres, made of puff pastry
les fruits de mer = seafood
la crème fraîche = sour cream
le lièvre = hare
un convive = guest (see the convive post, here, and hear the word spoken)  

Some of the Rhône wines that were served: Domaine la Soumade, in the village of Rasteau.

Domaine Rouge-Bleu, in Sainte Cécile-les-Vignes.

Blossoming-cover-kdpBlossoming in Provence is the perfect gift for a traveler, Francophile, or language lover, and the stories, with their in-context French vocabulary, make learning effective and easy! Click here to buy a book, and thank you! 


The baronnies hills and landscape (c) Kristin Espinasse
I wish I'd gotten a photo of the lovely Roseline (always too shy to ask to take a photo of the hostess. Will work on this!). Here is a beautiful landscape picture, taken not far from their home. Notice the galets that surround the vine trunks. In the distance, the Baronnies is a favorite area for hiking, horse-riding, hang gliding, and cycling.

Les Soeurettes (c) Kristin Espinasse
A snapshot from the archives. Smokey's sisters "les soeurettes". Would you like to add a caption to this photo?


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Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

Marika Ujvari

Smokey's sisters: A bucket full of Happy!

gail bingenheimer

the hare looks delicious!(lievre). I like how he was able to kill it himself and be able to prepare it.




I hope the news from your Dr. is good news. Think of you often and always wish you well. I have learned that it is our spirit that people experience, our essence, and they do not focus on our looks. Be gentle with yourself.

Helen Bradshaw

Trop loin de sauter.... There's probably a more elegant translation but you know what I mean. Also good luck with bio


Hope good news come with your biopsy results. I know you must be on tenterhooks, but keep the faith. You have lots if support.

My caption for the photo is "Sunbathing Sisters."


Good luck!! Not to worry.


Thinking about you today... and so glad you had that beautiful lunch with friends. Good food, laughter, and companionship are healing. And your description makes me want to make a little potage and sit by the fire, too.


Best wishes for the results!

I thought I heard from a French friend that actually "je suis plein" no longer means I am pregnant and that actually the French do use that phrase to end a meal? I could be mistaken here, but would like to hear your kids' viewpoints?

Kind Regards,


Karen Whitcome (in Towson, Md)

A pellet in the hare and trinkets in the kings cake! Guests must have been eating VERY gently!! Good for you to be among friends for that feast. Do they all go to church to celebrate the Epiphany. as well? I've always been curious about that.

Prayers are going out (and UP) for you today!!

Bruce in northwest Connecticut

Man, oh man! You people know how to live. That sounds like an amazing meal and a wonderful afternoon.

BTW, "je suis plein" was the very first faux ami I learned to avoid.

Bruce in northwest Connecticut

I just realized that "je suis plein" isn't really a faux ami. But you knew what I meant anyway, right?

Bill in St. Paul

What a meal with two great wines! Good luck on good biopsy report. Says one soeurette to another (the two on the left) "Those people down there look like ants."

Angela Sargent

Good luck with your results.I read somewhere - when fear comes knocking,send faith to answer the door. But I'm sure all will be well.



Those spaniels no doubt bark with a French accent? Even if they are English.
All good dermatological wishes!

Skip Anderson

Karen and I are awaiting your news and wish you the very best, Kristin.

I hope you, Jean-Marc, the kids and dogs are well.

Happy New Year from Karen and me.

Warm wishes,


Tonya in Arkansas

You are beautiful, bandage or not. I loved the description of the meal. I was housed, served and fed by a loving family while in a French-language school in Hyeres. My hostess said to just say, "J'ai bien mange, merci." to mean that I want no more food. They were not allowed to speak any English when I stayed there for the "immersion weeek". My prayers are with you and your pretty nose.


sounds delicious! Best wishes today!


Oh my, the French sure do know how to eat! That dejeuner sounds absolutely amazing! (in spite of the pellet) I am so glad you overcame your reluctance so you could enjoy it!

By this time, you probably have your results. I have been praying for you since you had the biopsy--so hope it's good news. I love what Angela said above. May your faith be rewarded with a clean bill of health. And remember, you are not alone in this.

Photo caption: The world out there looks a little scary. Let's stay here in the bucket with each other.

Hugs from California,

Tonya in Arkansas

Your nose will still be lovely! I was told by a lovely Hyeres couple, with whom I stayed, that I should say, "J'ai bien mange" , when I am full or finished.

Leslie Anne J.

Kristin, I have been following French Word A Day for several years here in Detroit, Michigan, but never left a comment. Today my Husband will also be getting results of a skin biopsy (his third time). I will be praying that you both have good results.

Sarah LaBelle near Chicago

What a spectacular meal! Le repas de chasse sounds delicious, exotic (those truffles from their own land), and leisurely. Glad you went.

You know you can handle what comes from the dermatologist now, right? I think you can, but hope the news is good at any rate.

Chris Miasnik

J'aurais dit "J'ai bien mange' ."

Chris Miasnik

Here is a little ditty to help you remember what to say: "J'ai bien mange', j'ai bien bu, le peau de mon ventre est bien tendu. Merci petit Jesus."

Young Paciello

When I first started speaking French (age 8)I often made a mistake in expressing how full I felt: I would say "Ouf! Je suis pleine!" which if you know the language well, means "I am pregnant!". Of course there would be many laughs, titters and snorts around the table. You definitely would have been noticed had you said that!!!

Lillian Kennedy

As usual your story is wonderful. Blessings on your lovely nose.

Kristin Espinasse

Good news! The biopsy came back and the growth was benign! Thank you so much for these kind words and for the reassurance. I believe your positive thoughts helped too....

Tom from Detroit

Great news re: biopsy result. Que Dieu vous garde, tous.


Does "Je suis content" also work?

Glenn from St. Paul

Bonne nouvelle !

Jan in Monument, Colorado

Woo Hoo! What a relief! So glad the news was good. As I was reading the comments, I found myself wishing there was a "like" button with each one that I could click on. As usual, GUS came through. and I'll try to remember Corky's comment about focusing on the spirit. I have a habit of not noticing when someone has shaved off a mustache, lost weight or gotten a facelift. From now on I can say I was focusing on that person's essence!

Faye Stampe, Gleneden Beach, OR

Congrats Kristin!! So glad the news is good!

I love these stories. Thanks for all that you do.

Stay well!

Ronni Ebbers

A fine decision to enjoy a special lunch with friends.

In admiration of your courage, humor and inner as well as outer beauty I wish you

Bonne chance,
from Paris(until mid-fevrier)

Julie Farrar

I'm so glad the results were benign. And that you didn't hide from a wonderful afternoon. When I return to the States my dermatologist wants to look at a spot. Then she gave me the name of a face moisturizer with even higher SPF than I'm using now.

I will be buying more "Blossoming in Provence," but I want you to know that on this trip to Dijon I have installed a copy of "Words in a French Life" on the bookshelves in my new apartment. I hope future visitors and renters will read it and then find you online. You're resting between Anne Morrow Lindbergh and Henry David Thoreau.

Nancy Barbour

Wishing you good luck! Growing up in Florida, I have similar issues/visits. I know this has probably been discussed before but I noted creme fraiche can be used for sour cream, what can be used for cream cheese?

Patty Nelson in Pacific Grove, California

Kristi...I am so happy for you that the medical news is good. Your luncheon sounds so very mouth is watering! And the google pictures of the verrines are awesome! I love the presentation...what a feast for the senses. I want to try making something like that here at home. Do you have any recipes? Or better yet, send your friends here to make another lunch for us poor Americans who are really missing out! Happy New Year to you and your family!

Lisa A.,Los Angeles, CA

Great news!!! I'm so happy for you and your family! :)

Diane Young

Wonderful news from the dermatologist! So glad you went to the dejeuner. Still can't believe how long the French can spend at a meal. How do they stay awake after all that food? Guess they know not to overindulge and you've told us they don't eat between meals. Enjoy the day which the Lord has made and give thanks for the good report.


Of course it was benign. There is nothing wrong with you, Kristin, you just have fair skin and got a little too much sun in Arizona, but that same sun also gave you Vitamin D to make your bones strong and provide you with a sunny disposition. Doctors overreact, overreact, overreact. Don't let them get to you.

One other thing: you will always be beautiful and nothing the doctors do will ever change that, it is a gift from God.

Rosalie Isom

All the best for the new year, Kristin. Thinking of you and the good results. Rosalie from Colorado


Our dear Kristi,
You've been--and remain--in our prayers,especially now, with results coming in soon,and (hopefully!) stitches coming out! When I've faced worrisome(frightening!) situations, I like to remember this (paraphrased) quote by Robert Frost:"I can sum up everything I know about life in three words--it goes on." My friend, all WILL be well.
There us nothing better to raise one's spirits than to be in the company of warm and wonderful friends. AND (bien sur) such an incredible repast! WOW!!
To say a good time was enjoyed by all would be a huge understatement!
THANK YOU for sharing this (and the beautiful pictures!) with us. We always
feel like we're right there with you. What a privilege.
Love, Natalia XO

Gretel so GLAD to hear of your good results! You will be SO relieved...I was holding my breath for you as well!
Your dinner sounds absolutely wonderful ...I enjoyed your description and felt that I was sneaking a little taste myself! ;-)
We also had friends around for dinner but being summer and hot we flung open the doors! I am also lucky as we have a wonderful friend who loves to cook and loves to take over my kitchen! He made pizzas by the dozens from scratch...everyone had a job right down to the children. As a bit of fun you may want to google him...Master Pasta from the wiggles... he cooks and sings opera at the same time!! A very funny fellow! :-)

Helga Tomala

Thank you, for sharing this. I enjoy all the photos, and I look forward to spending a month in France next year.
Blessings to your health.

Karen from Phoenix

WHOO HOO!!! So glad the results were benign.

Wow, all that food, I would be full after the first course. But boy it all sounded so good.

Love seeing pictures of those puppies.


Karen Whitcome  (Towson, Md)

Thank you, GOD!!!

and thanks for letting us know, Kristin!!

Going to do a little jig and make a thankful prayer, now!!!

Edie Schmidt


I love "Les sweet and saucy soeurettes"!

Edie from Savannah


We all are breathing a sigh of relief. Thanks for
posting the good news right away!

Devra Long

Hooray for the good news; was just about to post that prayers are with you!! So happy you didn't miss that deliciously divine dinner!!!


So happy!

Great news on your biopsy results. As a fellow "pressure nose bandage" wearer, I know how it feels, but am so glad you attended that marvelous party, wearing it as a badge of courage... thank you for all of your posts.

Sincerely, Irene from Alameda, CA


Great News. Celebrate and enjoy!

Ellen Sue Pilger

Everyone of your posts appeal to me and provide something to contemplate ... but this one touched on a particular love of appetizers which I will now call verrines. Forget the big American meals. This is how I'd eat all the time if it were not for my hungry husband. Can't wait to try out some of these new combinations. So lovely ... like you. Ellen Sue now in Boulder CO wher it is 15 degrees today.

Susan Klee

Yaayyy for the news from the determatologist! (so to speak)
Creme fraiche is not the same as sour cream, though. Sour cream (even "low-fat" sour cream, an oxymoron if ever I heard one) is quite thick, while creme fraiche is on the thin side. Next time you are in the U.S., go to a fine market where you can get creme fraiche (here in Berkeley there are three such) and do a tasting. (I'll come help you out if you insist.) You'll see the difference right away.
Susan K

I can sympathize. I had a basal cell carcinoma the size of a dime removed from my nostril. Not pleasant feeling or looking. There wasn't enough skin to stitch together so had to have a skin graft. In a little over 1 month it's looking almost normal. That's not such a bad price to pay, but why did I sit out in the sun every summer when I was a kid?

Susan Carter (Westminster, CA)

Read this before the previous one so didn't know about your nose--lots of positive thoughts coming your way. this post made me very hungry & the dejeuner sounds marvelous.

Susan Carter (Westminster, CA)

Posted the previous comment before reading your follow up with the dermatologist (I have an appointment tomorrow) - I'm so glad it was benign. You're on a new road now!

Janine Cortell

Chere Kristin:
I am so happy with your good dermatology results. What a relief for you and your family!!
When I lived in Southern France my friends told me to say "Merci, j'ai bien mange to mean that I had had enough to eat. My French Mom agreed that it was a good way to express thanks as well. Janine Cortell

Cynthia Lewis (Eastern Shore of Maryland)

Thanks for writing your wonderful good news from the "dermo" so quickly. Did you ever think that you would have hundreds of people worrying about you at the same time? You have become so endeared to all of us, your readers/admirers.

Your description of the "déjeuner" was great. I know that the French frown upon eating in between meals, but it occurs to me that they have little temptation to snack when lunch or an evening meal can easily last four or more hours! This is not a criticism...just a thought. Best always, Cynthia

nadine goodban

OUF - OUF ! ! ! Nos prières ont été exaucées. AMEN.
Merci, Kristin, de nous donner ces bonnes nouvelles aussitôt reçues.

Très bonne continuation et allez donc célébrer cette nouvelle victoire.

Cynthia : le dermato ....

nadine, Napa, CA

Kathleen from Connecticut

Glad to hear that it is benign . We hope that you don't have to go through another cutting in the near future.

The dinner sounds fantastic. Wish that we could have joined you.


Leslie NYC

Merci a Dieu.
Great news. I checked back before going to sleep to see how your biopsy went and, like others, marvel at the lack of distance between you and all of your readers. Two dozen might write back, but I bet thousands of us marvel at your courage and ability to wear your heart and fears on your sleeve. Merci pour les nouvelles, et bonne annee!


Hi, Kristin, SO glad to hear the good news from the dermatologist!

As for that idyllic lunch, my knees went weak as I read your description of it! Even more so when I checked out the VERRINES link. :-) It reminded me of "Babette's Feast", but in a more pleasant clime. You are so lucky, in so many ways!
Que Dieu te benisse, et bonne année à toute la famille!

Sarah LaBelle near Chicago

So glad to hear the good news. Now you to hope the incision heals as well as the others did.

Glad I checked the comments a secod time.

curtis smith

Please stop promoting foie gras! It is the dish of pain, vanity and agony!

Kristin Espinasse

Nancy, re cream cheese -- some of the big supermarkets are now selling Philadelphia cream cheese (I think Carrefour--and maybe LeClerc, too. Would mascarpone be the nearest equivalent? Maybe someone else reading has a tip!

Kristin Espinasse

Julie, re book placement -- what an honor! And thank you for buying more Blossoming in Provence books!

mary paulson

One word. Hallelujah!!!!


As appealing as the personal details, accolades, etc. are, this forum would be more useful if there were more comments about French language and culture. Just saying.

Audrey Wilson

Do I take it from some of the previous comments that it is good news re the biopsy ? If so Great news !!
Caption for the photo of the puppies " A Bucket full of trouble ?!"


attention !!! creme fraiche is NOT sour cream !!!

Kristin Espinasse

Thanks, Odile. I have some cornbread in the oven and the recipe called for sour cream. Does anyone know the French equivalent? (I used crème liquide instead... just this one time. Off to check that bread before it burns!)

Vicki, San Francisco Bay area

Praise God for the good news, Kristi! Hope the incision heals quickly, but glad it's not keeping you down. The lunch sounds amazing!! The French sure know how to relax and enjoy friends and good food!


I use marscapone all the time in place of cream cheese....I just like it better. And......I am still salivating over that meal. My kind of food. We can no longer get fois gras here in the states. Just before the law went into effect (yes a law banning fois gras) many of the restaurants who had it on their menus were giving it away in appetizer dishes. I am sure there are a few clandestine places that have some tucked away. Just like you cannot buy the true Camembert cheese from Normandie. All having to do with how long it has been aged. I certainly haven't heard of any out breaks of Camembert poisioning. Yet we have had problems with spinach locally. Although I hear if one knows the right people you can find the cheese.
So glad you did go. And truthfully, I am sure the guests were far more interested in Kristi the person, not Kristi with the bandaged nose.

Nancy                   Cambridge

I came to France over the weekend, and while unpacking, I noticed that I needed a loop on the lauffa scrubb so I could hang it in the shower. Not to woory- remembering the lavendar wand story- I hunted through my clothing until I found a sweater with the ribbons inside. This one had delicate clear, plastic ribbon- perfect for hanging something in the shower! One never knows when information will come in handy!

Tina in INdiana

I can't even imagine eating for 4 hours! I guess you take very small portions of everything? I am not one for buffets either, I don't get my money's worth. HA HA I hope all goes well at the doctor.

Young Paciello

Kristin: the closest cheese to cream cheese would be "Samos" if they still make it in France. try that and let me know!

Stacy ~ Sweet Life Farm ~ Applegate, Oregon

Kristi, You are off to a great start this year with your postive outward focus and seizing the moment. So glad you didn’t let a little bandage get in the way of enjoying this outstanding lunch and experience (and sharing it with us)! The food sounds fantastic (how I’d love to treat my guests to such a wonderful meal!). Thank you for sharing.

As for the picture of Smokey’s sisters…I think it’s sweet perfection!

Leslie in Fort Smith, Arkansas

Re: les "soeurettes" puppies caption: I submit: "Ou est notre frere Smokey??? Nous ne pouvons pas lui voir!"
Please correct my francais if necessary, since I am tres rusty!
So glad your biopsy was negative. I have been using 30 SPF moisturizer for years now since I, too, am very fair with "English" (peut etre French) complexion inherited from "that" side of my family tree (not the Cherokee side!)
I am long-time reader of your blog and have several of your books.
Bonne chance pour tous votre famille pour 2013!

Linda Casey

GREAT BUCKETS OF PURE PUPPY LOVE .. glad to hear your biopsy results were benign. By the way, how does a vegetarian like me manage dinner parties in France?

Jeanine Keefe

What about petit suisse as a substitute for cream cheese?
I love Marika's puppy caption best "a bucket full of happy"
Take Care -

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