Sans plomb, essence, caoutchouc, and a gas station story on French nonchalance
My story: Political elections + friendship: The stakes are high (L'enjeu est de taille)

Recipe for Disaster & "To return the kindness" in French

Moonlight over le castellet
The perched village of Le Castellet, level with the moon

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Bananes flambées
bananes flambées
bananes flambées
bananes flambées

...that's how many times we ate the rum-drenched dessert last week (and tomorrow's guests are getting more of the same--or du pareil au même).

Now, I can hear of few of you chattering: "Rum-drenched bananas? Kristi's fallen off the wagon"...but I can assure you I am sober as a stick over here in La Ciotat--we've just had a very social week, and everyone knows that social in French rhymes with la bouffe. So when, last Tuesday, we invited two couples over for dinner, I needed to come up with a menu. Because our guests are excellent cooks (story here and also here), I was beginning to sweat it out, this tradition of "rendering the pareille" (very bad franglais. We'll straighten things out in the vocab section below....) So, I decided to knock two items off my side of the menu--and let Jean-Marc tackle those. One was le plat principal, the other was dessert! That left me to worry about an apéro, a salad, and a cheese plate--fastoche!

But, back when I was going to be responsible for dessert, I thought up a "tarte à la banane" in honor (or, in the necessity of using all) those bananas on our countertop. That is when, on second thought, a banana tart sounded terribly fade (and by that, I don't mean the dessert is "all the rage"--by fade I mean BLAND).

Then I remembered that one of the things my husband is good at (besides hunting for sea urchins, finding hidden beaches, and moving us to a new location every 5 years) is making bananes flambées. Ça y est! That is how Jean-Marc became in charge of dessert Tuesday night...and Thursday night (when we ate at Kathleen and Dean's--and offered to bring dessert), and Sunday (when my belle-soeur came for lunch) and again on Tuesday when we ate at Pascale and Patrick's--and again offered to take care of dessert...).

Now that we are (almost) done with an unusually social week, I can lower my hostess blinds and begin to reflect on all that cooked rum. What was I thinking? The only answer that comes to mind is one the French offer when admitting that dinner has "un tout petit peu d'alcool" in it: "...mais l'alcool s'évapore lorsqu'il est chauffé! But alcohol evaporates when it's heated" They always say!

Bref, that's the story of how things went bananas this past week. Maybe I should have stuck to tarts.

les bananes flambées = bananas foster
du pareil au même = more of the same
la bouffe = food, grub (slang)
rendre la pareille = to return the kindness
le plat principal = main course
un apéro = aperitif, drink (often with snacks)
fastoche = easy
la tarte = tart
fade = bland
la belle-soeur = sister-in-law
bref = anyhow

Banana tart

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Nancy Reynolds

I'd love to get the recipe for that banana tart! It looks delicious!

Patricia Sands

LOl ~ you may started a cooking component here, Kristi! I agree with Nancy. Delicieux!

Sarah LaBelle

Banana cream pie is not a French dessert?

But the flambè sounds good, though I have never tasted rum. And it was good to share the hosting that way.


Me too regarding recipe for banana tart.

Dawn Johnson

Ditto on the recipe merci

Laura Isenstein

Recipe too, pleas!

Young Paciello

Yes, that tarte looks yummy! Caramel beneath the bananas? And I am sure Jean-Marc used dark rum? And it is true: alcohol cooks out! So enjoy les bananas flambees!


I used to make bananes flambees, have not for a while,
however, the word bland is"fade" with an e at the end.

Jacquelyn Sand

This reminds me of a dessert I made in Paris in the early seventies. French friends were coming to dinner and I thought I'd make a delicious banana bread with my grandmother's recipe for butter cream chocolate frosting. When I went to get the banana bread out of the oven and cut it, it was very wet and heavy, but since we had no other choice I served it. Our dear French friend exclaimed after her first bite, "Ce pudding, il est délicieux!". I pushed away my embarrassed disappointment of the minutes before the tasting and replied, "Ah, tu troupes?". My husband and I still laugh about it now. I guess I hadn't quite grasped the number equivalent of 350 degrees F! (was it a 6 on my French oven????)

Catherine Berry (But you are in France, Madame)

I enjoy bananas if they are not too ripe but cooked - not at all. Strange!

Linda Darsie

Maintenant j'ai faim!!!

Kristin Espinasse

Thanks for the helpful correction, Iris. I will update the post at the next chance.

Audrey Wilson

Yes please ,the recipe .As I have to follow a gluten free diet it would be perfect for me & one I could do for guests also.
Welcome back to La Ciotat !


I want to know how you ended up with all those bananas!

Kristin Espinasse

Haha! I like them for a late night snack (I think they help with falling to sleep) and keep them in stock for all that potassium.

rick chinn

Today's installment was a blast! Makes me wish I was visiting France again... My French is abysmal, but I love hearing and seeing it. Maybe getting immersed in it would make it happen (doubtful but hopeful).


Another one chiming in with a request for the recipe ... looks delicious :)

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