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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.
 

FRENCH VOCABULARY
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
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

Thank you for the time you've spent reading my column. If you have learned more than a little vocabulary here and find yourself looking forward to the next story, please know that ongoing support from readers like you helps me to continue writing and publishing these educational missives from France. Your support is vivement apprécié! Donating via PayPal is easy when you use the links below. Merci infiniment! Kristi
 
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