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

Gigot: a surprise from our neighbor

Arbousier-strawberry-treeAn arbousier we planted behind our farmhouse. I first noticed these "strawberry trees" while visiting Corsica, where they are plentiful in the wild--as are boars, which gobble up the fallen fruit. More about sangliers in today's post.

TODAY'S WORD: un gigot

leg, thigh (of animal)

le gigot d'agneau = leg of lamb

hear Jean-Marc pronounce today's word: Download MP3 file

Un gigot. Hier, Annie nous a amené un gigot de sanglier.
A leg. Yesterday, Annie brought us a leg of wild boar.

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


    by Kristi Espinasse

After writing Monday's post about une maman poule, I went to take a nap. No sooner did my head hit the pillow when Smokey began barking. Golden retrievers, I learned this week, have something in common with another beloved dog--the Pembroke Welsh Corgi: they only bark when necessary. So what was necessarily lurking outside our farmhouse?

Alone in the house--fueled by the adrenaline of someone who reads way too much Google news--I raced to the door and demanded,"WHO. IS. THERE!!!" when a soft voice answered,

"C'est Annie...."

"Oh, Annie! " I said, apologetically.

Throwing open the door I had to shoo Smokey aside, so interested was he in the bag Annie was holding. "Allez, déhors Smokey!"

"Rentre. Rentre, Annie," I said, ushering in my neighbor who was weighed down by a large sack which she held in her right hand.

"We just caught a sanglier," Annie explained.

My face must have been as white as our kitchen sink, beside which Annie set down that pig--or a part of it.... (But which part?)

"Je n'en peux plus. I am exhausted," Annie said, recounting the morning's battue, in which her nephew shot one of the wild pigs which had been wreaking havoc on her property--eating all her butternut pumpkins and noshing on the flowers right beneath her window! "Forget growing potatoes," Annie always warned me, "they'll devour them! And be careful with Smokey!"  (One of Annie's dogs lost his back end after a wild boar attacked it.)

I have heard all the sanglier stories and feared the day those wild boars would visit us, but in the four years we have lived on this hillside we have not been bothered by the boars. Though we have been given plenty of them to eat....

As Annie gifted me the still-fresh meat, I thought of the other leg of boar I had just crammed into my freezer (another unexpected visit from a hunter, these visits began years ago when a stranger showed up with a full-feathered pheasant--handing it to me upside down, by the feet! Do I look like someone who knows how to process a wild meat?).

I wouldn't tell Annie about the other boar, and so diminish her offering. And I wouldn't mention that we had no more room in our freezer (I was going to write a post about "freezer mismanagement"--and certainly vegetarians would have preferred that to today's anecdote about a wild pig roast! But after Friday's "no comment on elections" story I realize you are damned if you do and damned if you don't!

One thing I know for sure: I will be damned if I let this wild boar die in vain! What's done is done. And though I would not shoot a boar, I will not be a hypocrite who buys plastic-wrapped meat at the butcher's, yet cowers before the fresh-caught version.

No, I will be a coward who will prepare and cook this gift!

Before Annie left, she paused to offer an explanation. I recognized the explanation as the kind of justification you give after offering someone something that cost you a lot, something the receiver might not be prepared to accept as they have nothing on them to offer in return.  To avoid any such embarrassment, Annie thoughtfully pointed out,

"Thank you for the firewood and the bread and the tea for my daughter's fibromyalgie..."

I vaguely remembered the offerings, which seemed insignificant at the time. But from Annie's gesture (my neighbor, 25 years my senior, had wrestled a wild pig for me!), I know that every single time you give to someone, a debit is recognized. It is la dette de gratitude.

Picture of this week's supermoon taken behind our farmhouse. There in the pine forrest, the sangliers roam.

That time Annie gave me a rabbit and I learned to cook it ! (Recipe here)

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