La Paix des Choses Sauvages , Wendell Berry, and Thoughts on The US Election Results
Gigot: a surprise from our neighbor

Fried Eggs in French, a Maman Poule, and a visit from Max

The French eat quail eggs (les oeufs de caille)... but do they eat fried eggs? Read on...

TODAY'S WORD: un oeuf au plat

    : a fried egg, egg "sunny side up"

ECOUTEZ - Listen to Jean-Marc pronounce today's French word:

Download MP3 for "Oeuf-au-plat"

Un œuf au plat, œuf sur le plat, œuf à la poêle ou œuf miroir est un œuf... cuit à la poêle ou sur une plaque préalablement chauffée. Lorsque l'œuf est cassé dans le récipient, son contenu s'étale et le blanc forme une couronne autour du jaune. (Wikipedia)

A fried egg, or egg on the flat or egg in the pan or mirror egg is an egg...cooked on a preheated surface. When the egg is broken into the recipient, its contents spread and the white forms a crown around the yellow.

Improve your spoken French. Try Pronounce it Perfectly in French or  Exercises in French Phonetics


"Maman Poule"

    by Kristi Espinasse

Max came home for the weekend! Now that he goes to college in Montpellier, a good two-hours from here, we see him beaucoup moins souvent.  So these visits are something to savor--like fried eggs, apparently!

"I have never had these before. C'est très bon!" Max's friend said, as the local boys caught up with each other over brunch. Just last week, Jean-Marc made a similar comment about fried eggs, leading me to believe that les oeufs au plat are not part of French culture. 

It is a particular pleasure to share my American culture with French youth (I was going to say "kids" but I am coming to grips with this empty nest). That they respond so enthusiastically motivates me to share even more... and so I skipped back to the kitchen and fried up a couple more brown-shelled eggs "sunny side up" for these growing youths (they are still growing aren't they? Gosh. Our son is now 21 and a half...)

Turning back to the kitchen a few unexpected words reached me before I even reached the stove. "Merci, Maman Poule!" Max said.

It wasn't true. I wasn't really a mother hen. By offering lunch I had une arrière-pensée, an ulterior motive: to keep Max with me a little while longer. (The boys had been on their way out the door, probably to catch up with each other over burgers at MacDo).

As Max and his friend Yann carried on, chatting in French while eating American-style brunch, I basked in the term of endearment my grown son had lavished on me. "After this, I have cake!" I shouted from the kitchen. "Save room for le gâteau!" I stepped back from the crackling eggs in time to listen for the audible anticipation coming from the next room. This mother hen felt higher and higher, a chick with un-clipped wings!

Returning to the table with seconds straight from the frying pan, I eventually sat down with my coffee to enjoy few moments with the Max and Yann, careful not to be the mom who lingers too long. Five minutes later I casually stood up:

"When you're done just leave the dishes, I will do them!" I said, flexing my un-clipped mother hen wings.

Later on, after the boys had left, I strayed back to the dining room to clean up the mess. To my surprise the table was cleared, but for the dusty game of chess I keep there these days. I continued into the kitchen and found a nearly polished sink. Even the difficult-to-wash frying pan was drying on the rack. Spotless!

I slowly looked around my tidy kitchen when my entire mama poule persona began to smile. He is indeed all grown up now and I am so very proud of him.


Picture take a few years ago, with Max. Not sure what I've made there (Max looks uncertain, too...) but those are definitely oeufs au plat on top!

In today's story I talk about a cake I made. It was a Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cake! Using the French yogurt cake recipe, as base, I added a cup of pureed butternut pumpkin, and enough chocolate chip and walnuts to satisfy a chocolate-nutty craving! Click here for the cake recipe.

This picture is even older, and includes Jackie. And there's a picture of the yogurt cake (one version). More versions here

PARIS METRO CUFF - Unique bracelet and great gift for those who love Paris. Click here.

FOUTAS - perfect gift : quick dry towels for camping, sauna, gym--and more! Click here to order.

FRENCH GROCERIES FROM FRANCE - from Dijon mustard to Provence herbs. CLICK HERE

I leave you with a current photo of Max (and Smokey) and a good message, above their heads.

A Message from KristiOngoing support from readers like you keeps me writing and publishing this free language journal each week. If you find joy or value in these stories and would like to keep this site going, donating today will help so much. Thank you for being a part of this community and helping me to maintain this site and its newsletter.

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For more online reading: The Lost Gardens: A Story of Two Vineyards and a Sobriety


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mary tindukasiri

He is so handsome! Job well done Maman Poule. xoxo Mary

Ah, we love our boys! He looks a delightful young man and so like his Mama.

Petrina in Brittany

Aah! That is just soooo lovely Kristi. You know you have done a good job when that happens. What a great family. x

Margaret French

I so enjoy reading and learning about your multi-cultural life and family. You share it all with such warmth and love. Your Blog is a treasure.


Kristi I agree with Margaret, your blog is indeed a treasure. I snuggle into the warmth as I would a warm blanket. Bravo Max, mais le temps passe trop vite. xo Cindy


Chère Kristin -- Reading your blog and looking at these photos warmed my heart this morning. Your children are so grown up and you have nurtured such a close and loving family. And now you have such a mature son who even does the dishes! Cheers to Maman Poule.


What a great family! You and Jean- Marc have raised an excellent son and daughter.

Diane Kish

What amazing children you an Jean-Marc have raised! I know how proud you are of your family!

Gretchen Dawson

Chere Kristi,
What great pictures of raising your good looking (and thoughtful to do the dishes!) son. Enjoy those moments when they return home for a visit, a plus of living in France, not very far away. As your last picture said: Seize the day!

A la prochaine!

Kathleen from Connecticut

Kristi, you and JM brought them up well and you have a terrific relationship with your children. Congratulations 👍

Judith Dunn

.......Kristin...Your husband is handsome, your son is handsome and your daughter and you are beautiful.... but better than looks are the kind and thoughtful and loving people that all of you are! You and JM have raised extraordinary children, and they will always be your 'baby chicks'. How wonderful it will be in the years to come when they return home and maybe bring their own little 'baby chicks' with them for a visit with 'Grandmere Poule'! As the shop sign said, Carpe Diem! Bonne semaine a tous. Judi.. Tallahassee, Florida

Patrick Friel

For some reason I found your well-written tale quite touching. Thank you for sharing it.

Angela George

You have such a beautiful family! Cherish it! Your blog brought tears to my eyes.I salute you and Jean Marc.


Oh Kristi, your story brought tears to this maman of two young chicks who will one day leave the cosy little nest. You and JM have done a wonderful job with Max and Jackie. I love reading about your family and the love your share. You are so blessed! Thank you for the reminder that the years are much too short. I will most definitely take your advice to Carpe Diem. Merci, merci, merci!


Kristi......Such a lovely story about your son and the eggs!The fact that the boys cleaned up....bask in this happiness forever......these young men are showing much promise to be decent human beings❤

Robert Handloff

Max is a Yankees fan? Non! Maintenant les tres chics apport le chappeau des Cubs. He can find it on the web. And if you and Jean-Marc want to visit very rural northeastern Pennsylvania (where there are a few vinyards producing something they label wine)in anticipation of moving here, you'd be most welcome chez moi, where I've still a pile of firewood to stack for which I could use a bit of help.

Lisa adam

Merci for sharing photos of your beautiful children. Your love and attention is a constant In a sometimes, if not often challenging world. From an American, who is also very, very concerned about the direction of the US. As a woman, I cannot support this president. You know what I mean. Be Well Kristin and family. Thank you always for your sharing of your inner and outer world.

Edward Abraham

Loved your blog today...........One of your best..
Dr. Ed in Phoenix

Frederick Caswell

So much in my heart yearning to say -- mille mercis pour tes mots sagacite, abondant love et la vi que tu have so beautifully shared with your 26.000 readers by your life,love, and words. My nephrologist recently stated that my kidney disease is moving into stage 5 and dialysis may be needed in 6 to 12 months. After some research via the web, in an effort to slow the time for needing dialysis and to make sure I reach quartre-vingt diz with a party to gather the clan and friends, I am changing my diet as recommended, giving up so many of my favorite foods while switching to many that were rejected previously. Nancy et moi have agreed to work together to face this challenge and to make our marriage even greater. Of course there are some bodily responses to this new situation but life has been so full of ups and downs, goals reached and missed, etc. but I am SO LUCKY the future is faced with joy and optimism. Another of the 26,000 who love you!


Being a maman is often bittersweet, but never more so than when they leave home.

Carolyn Chase

What the French do with eggs, that we don't here in the US, is to serve them on pizza (poached first? or just broken on the pizza and then cooked as it cooks?). Or at least I'd never seen it done, til I went to France.

Debbie Rhoades

He is gorgeous, and you have done a great job, Maman Poule!

Herm in Phoenix, AZ

Bon chance, Frederick as you near 90 years of age. I have 86 year old kidneys that also require special attention, but there's a lot that can be done by adjusting the diet and drinking enough liquids. It's worth the effort.




Moms and their sons. You've done a fantastic job!



Very touching and well written. Thank you for your lovely blog. I enjoy it very much. Congratulations - you have raised a fine young man. We need more parents to do such a good job.


Our dear Kristi,
Once again your beautiful post today brought tears to our eyes and just wrapped itself around our hearts.
With Thanksgiving (and the holidays)nearly here,you reminded us
to count our blessings of loving family and time to cherish together.What a precious,wonderful gift.
I love these words by Emily Dickinson:"That it will never come again is what makes life so sweet".
Natalia. xo


Salut Kristi! Your Max looks a lot like my youngest child and only son, Sam (26). He just got married and so has fully left the nest which is indeed empty of chics now. Do you find that you have an extra soft spot in your heart for your son? I can't quite put words to it but there is a special tenderness I feel toward my son, though I love my daughters dearly too. I totally get your wanting a little more time with him, so why not some oeufs?! Here's to all the maman poules out there!

Eileen deCamp

Hi Kristi,

I so loved reading today's post! Our kids grow up way too fast, don't they? Loved all the photos too especially the one with Max's gap toothed smile! :-)

My son just found out that he will be stationed in Germany and will be moving with his new wife Hannah in January. We definitely will be visiting and maybe I can slip away for a quick trip to your neck of the woods if you all will still be living in France in 2017! :-)

Patience in L.A.

I too love Kristi's blog and family and have stage 5 kidney disease. If you email me I can share my success with diet changes that so far have kept me off dialysis. Bon chance! [email protected]

Patience in L.A.

Dear Herme, please read my comment and get in touch. Would love to share ideas. Patience T.


Just me saying "Hi" and to let you know I'm reading every post and enjoying them all so much! I just haven't been commenting as much - kind of quiet inside myself these days. I treasure how you always help bring warmth and sunshine to my life. Love that phrase 'maman poule!' Nothing better than being a maman, well, grand-mere is pretty sweet, too!

Marianne Rankin

Thanks for the interesting and encouraging post. It was surprising that the French don't apparently eat fried eggs often. I took a look at the MacDo link - the French have adapted the food to their culture. When I was in France years ago, I saw American tourists going to MacDonald's and thought, "Why travel 3,000 miles to eat the same food I can eat at home?" and didn't go there. If I am in France again someday, I might try one meal at Mac's to see how the menu has been tailored to the French.

Earlier this week, I was touched when my son (a bit older than Max) made me scrambled eggs. Do the French eat oeufs brouilles occasionally? The eggs were really good, yet I was nourished not just by them but by the thoughtful gesture. I was glad that you were able to have a bit more time with Max. And college won't last forever, so you may see more of him in a couple of years.

I continue to pray that your plans will jell and all will work out for the best. I'll also pray for the folks with kidney trouble.


What happened to Braise?

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