It's all the rage, in French: Beer & Tarts (Tarte à la tomate et à la moutarde) A sure favorite so don't miss this!
Faire bon ménage? Golden retriever and chickens & CONTROL JUICE (is it fueling you, too?)

Grignoter & Cochonnerie: What it really means when your family says, "There's nothing to eat in this fridge!"

Thank you very much for clicking on the flyer above, from my friend and sponsor, Tess! Several of you have enjoyed her Paint in Provence tours. Hopefully more readers will discover Tess's colorful Provence! 

Today's Word: cochonnerie

    : junk food
    : mess, crap, rubbish, junk

Click here to listen to Jean-Marc pronounce these French words:

Les bonbons, les restaurants de nourriture rapide, les boissons sucrées sont souvent des cochonneries.
Candy, fast-food restaurants, soda pop...are often junk food.


    by Kristi Espinasse

The fishmonger listens. She will come out from behind her stand and, before a table of 100 glazed-over eyes as our witness (fresh-caught sea bass, langoustines...), she will listen to your heart, your troubles big and small.
My Mom is here now, ” I began.
“I know,” the fishmonger said, her long yellow braid glistening like so many metallic cords on an old-fashioned switchboard.
"You know? Well..." I continued, "I found my mom standing in front of the frigo last night at midnight. 'There’s nothing to eat in here'...she said." 
Rien à manger? The words rattled me, as they do when my adolescents (now kidults) used to say them. After 21 years of making sure there was something to eat, I can no longer take this pressure. What's more, I'm supposed to be an empty-nester now. But recently, everyone--including my own mom, has flown home... And the pressure is on again! 
Shaking with frustration, I stood there, the moonlight shining into the kitchen window as I enlightened mom, who had a case of the Midnight Munchies.

"Mom, look! There's a roasted chicken. And there, over there--an omelet I made for you earlier today... And there is some mozzarella. You could slice it to go with the giant heirloom tomatoes right there on the counter... And I see three yogurts, two packages of Emmental, some jambon de Parme (admittedly a bit dubious in many weeks old could it be? But then dried ham is immortel, isn't it?)
After I'd pointed out so much evidence of the bounty that was ours if only we would open our eyes, Mom looked as though she'd just been dragged through our garde-manger by the ear! (I admit I can be pretty intense when trying to get my point across! But Mom's next words softened my perspective...). 

"Honey, I can't see very well..." 
*    *    *
"Still, I just don’t understand," I said to the fishmonger, "why, after I’ve brought home 150 worth of groceries does my family still insist, "Il n'y a rien à manger"? 
The fishmonger shook her head in commiseration. 
"My daughter enlightened me," I continued, the fishmonger's attention ever rapt. "My daughter said, 'Mom, when we tell you there’s nothing to eat, what we mean is there’s nothing to grignoter. No ham, no surimi (artificial crabsticks!), no sliced bread, no chocolate pudding...'"
The fishmonger shook her head, summing things up. "What they’re saying is: Il n'y a pas de cochonneries a manger! (There's no junk food to eat!)
As if on cue, from behind the fish stand where he sat on a stool facing the portable fan on this sweltering day in July, the fishmonger's husband, cried out:
"Chérie, can you go next door to the supérette and get me some rum raisin ice cream?"
With that, my confidant and I burst out laughing, and kissed each other goodbye--I, on my way to buy cochonneries, and she, headed out for the same goal: simplement de faire plaisir à ce qui on aime, simply to please those we love, whether we agree or not with their tastes.
Post Note: As I read the rough draft of this story to Mom, she wanted to clarify something: "You know that "mozzarella"? Well, I didn't know what it was. When I picked up that package it felt really really creepy--like a body part, a breast or something!

I think Mom is referring to the way the ball of mozza floats in a sack of water. They don't sell it that way back in Mexico.... I leave you with a video of my Mom. (click on the arrow in the Instagram photo, below) You'll see some more news....

le frigo = fridge
rien à manger = nothing to eat
grignoter = to snack
le garde-manger = pantry
jambon de Parme = Parma ham, dried ham
immortel = eternal, undying
cochonneries = junk food

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Cynthia GS

SO much fun to see Jules on video. I am sure you're having a splendid time together. Make Mom some guacamole, nachos, salsa, and fish tacos. Make a LOT (well, maybe not the fish tacos), label the containers and put them in the fridge. She'll never again say there's nothing to eat! Buen provecho!


Kristi, I rarely write to you, but I have been a follower of your blog for many years, probably since close to the time you started it. My children are near your age and parenting their own teenagers.
My mother moved in with us after my father died and lived with us for 17 years. I understand what you are doing and the effort it will take to make it work. There will be good times, and difficult ones and you will question yourself on a whole range of issues.
Gratitude, resentment, tenderness, frustration are all part of the deal. Forgive yourself for the inevitable irritations. We are all just human beings, not super beings, and your mother is feeling the same frustrations and loss of independence. What you and your husband are doing is the honorable thing to do and says all there is to say about character, loyalty and family.

Nyla Witmore

Loved hearing both your voices...felt I was with you. Your mother’s gesturing hans so lovely. I shared a bedroom with my grandmother during my high school years. Your video made me stop and pause to think of my time with her in ways I might not have realized. About living closely with someone, like when one’s husband retires ...We realized that 24 hours a day having another adult around can feel as a lossof independence for all parties. So we devised daily time out hours where we spent time apart doing our “own thing”.... in our case in different parts of the house or time away from the house. Then we would meet at lunchtime to discuss what each of us did. Sort of a mini “vacation” from each other to keep things fresh. We Just celebrated 53rd anniversary and he has been retired ffor 20 of those.

K.J. Laramie

What fun, picking out chickens, naming them, and celebrating their birthday! Such a poetic gesture, and a nostalgic sensibility. Your thoughtful, tre gorgeous mother exudes elegance.


Dinon dîna dit-on du dos d'un dodu dindon. Didon dîna dit-on de dix dos dodus de dix dodus dindons.

Hint for what to keep in the fridge? Probably not enough room for dix, though!

Jackie Clark Mancuso

I rarely est cochonneries unless guests bring them, preferring real food like a tomato or yogurt and nuts, but I love this new word. Very nice to hear your voice and wishing you luck with your full house.


Bonjour, Kristin,
You and Jean-Marc have a generous love! I recall when my grandmother moved in with my parents after she broke her hip. Since both my parents were working to put 3 children through college she was home alone a lot. This was when she took up oil painting and taught herself. It was
a huge adjustment for all of them and a fine example for me and my sisters. My adult son lives with me and likewise it is a big adjustment for both of us. One of the gifts of his presence is that I am younger in my outlook on life and he benefits from some of my life experience. Also, I would never have enjoyed the World Cup Soccer Matches, but for my son who knows so much about the players and the teams.
God bless your open hearts.

Stacy - Sweet Life Farm

Though I wish I were actually standing next to you at the fishmonger's shop, I felt as if I was for this conversation. It is a big job shopping and cooking for a family. I must admit many times I do the same though it is only me to please, $100 on groceries and feel as if there is nothing to eat.... Keep it simple my dear friend.


I think at this point I would just keep in stock several bags of chips , some ready made dip (hummus for those who like the good stuff) and let everyone know.....that is it. After the main meal it is YOYO time ....Your are on your own....cook is off closed;-}

Debra Jordan

9002 Splitwood Circle
I needed your advice today. My mother of 97 years moved in with us in October. It has been a roller coaster ride. We are still finding our feet and it is not easy. Mom may make it 17 more years, not sure my husband and I will. Thanks.


One friend once related an episode of her kids complaining about having nothing to eat when the fridge is full. "We don't have food... we have ingredients". I think of that often with my own 12-year-old daughter.


Our dear Kristi,
You two ladies are awesome!And even sound alike!
What a wonderful post today!
We raised chickens when I was growing up,and though they can be messy to clean up after,nothing compares to your own fresh eggs(the beautiful yolks!)And,of course,the serenity in listening to their clucking.
How great to have such a fun confidant in the fishmonger!
We felt like we were right there,participating in your chat!!
Thank you!
Natalia XO


Hi Kristi, Your Mom's hats are gorgeous!!!

It took me a time to really accept that my family in many ways is not an extension of myself.....they have their own thoughts, ideas, likes, dislikes, and more. And your Mama has been set in her ways far longer than you have been set in yours. I am going on 75!!!

You have lovingly invited her to live with you and yours. Be candid, upfront, honest, and compassionate. And most of all, remember that we are all here for a time, until God calls us home, which could be today or tomorrow, or?? I expect that He is very pleased with yours and Jean-Marc's generosity in sharing your home with your Mom.

Always be you, God's child, the one He fathers every day as He desires to do for each of us. He loves you so dearly, and your care of your Mom, you are doing it for Him. God bless you dear sister in Christ our Lord, Love, C-Marie


Yours is the proverbial sage advice- and gorgeously written. Thank you.

And Kristi, as others have noted, it's wonderful to see and hear your beautiful mother- and beautiful you- on video! We're all rooting for you both (and Jean-Marc, of course).

Bon week-end à toute la famille.

Eileen deCamp

Hi Kristi and Jules!

I love the video and the feathers in Jules hat! :-)

Edie and ????

So much fun! Enjoy!

Patricia Sands

It sounds like you keep a nutritious frigo, Krist! No junk food! How lovely to know Jules
arrived safely and you are beginning this new chapter with your wonderful sense of humour intact. Keep chatting with that fishmonger's wife! I'm happy to click on Tess's link and share her info. Love her work and the great friendship you share! Bon weekend à toute la famille!


I see that I still have years ahead of me of listening to that same complaint about the lack of munchies in our home. In a sense, this notion is reassuring.

I had meant to ask you about the name of the second chicken. The video cut off after 'Edie.'


Hi Kristi,

It's just as your daughter said--if it's not mealtime, people want snack food. At midnight, few people want to cook or assemble food--they just want a quick bite to eat. Not all snacks are junk food. Good bread with a good cheesr or home-made pesto or caviar, for example. Store-bought petits-fours (OK, not health food, but not full of junk ingredients like McDo's, either). Just something they can sink their teeth into quickly.

Augusta Elmwood

Hey, Kristi, would your mother's room have space for a little dorm fridge? Then she could stock it up with her very own junk food and not have to sift through all that disgusting healthy food that you keep in the family fridge :-) !!
Love following your adventures !

Michael G.

Hi Kristi,

When you post vocabulary, why do you do so without a definite or indefinite article, or at least some indication that it is feminine or masculine? That's a very basic part of the French language and a help to anyone learning the language.



Hi, you might find this helpful for feeding chickens on a budget:


Brilliant, Teri.

Marianne Rankin

It seems that you are keeping the chickens to get good eggs. I don't think I could ever eat a chicken that I had named.

Kristin Espinasse

Hi, Marianne, yes, just for the eggs! They are currently producing 2 brown eggs per day. We were told to wait 3 weeks before eating the eggs, as these chickens were recently immunized.

Leslie NYC

Beautiful writing. I marvel at how you are able to talk about love, irritation, gumption, fragility, empathy, sass, family, humor, village life, and the state of the fridge all in one flowing post. Je suis émue.

Kristin Espinasse

Thank you, Leslie. Your words mean a lot to me 💕🌞

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