Half our household is ill after Christmas (was it the fruits de mer--or a stomach bug that is going around?). Before I return to my nurse duties, I will hastily post today's story (begun before the stomach storm). If you see a coquille (typo or misprint) I would be grateful if you'd point it out in the comments below. Merci!
Today's Expression: se régaler les papilles
: to delight, excite the taste buds
A DAY IN A FRENCH LIFE by Kristi Espinasse
Mom said this was the best Christmas she has ever had. She seemed most excited about Smokey's present, a new collier or dog collar that will permit her more control when walking our 30-kilo golden retriever. Though I was busy setting the table, Jules insisted I come outside with her for a spin around the block. With Smokey prancing along, on his best behavior, it was clear to see he too was back on the road again.
Soon Max joined us, having sped up from behind on his longboard, in time to swoop up the leash and off he stole with our golden reindeer. What a delight to share a Christmas morning walk with all 4 generations (Smokey included). Without a camera in hand, our eyes and our minds etched the joyous scene in our hearts forever.
Returning home our Christmas guests had arrived and the festin began! It was my belle-soeur's idea to keep the meal simple, à la bonne franquette. Cécile was in the kitchen preparing trays of toasts with homemade tarama and smoked salmon--topped with the mild and tasty cédrat lemon she's been raving about. She also brought a selection of rustic cheeses. De quoi se régaler les papilles!
In the center of the room there was the Christmas tree and a bunch of colorful gifts (this year every single cadeau was wrapped with the help of a silk écharpe or a wool foulard, which amused a few of the members of my family)....
"Where did you get so many scarves?" Max wanted to know.
Laughing, I explained, When you are a 52-year-old woman, you have collected a scarf or two over the years!
Beyond Le Sapin de Noël, Jean-Marc prepared a platter of fruits de mer and later would make a tasty brouillade with those stolen, truffled eggs. And my brother-in-law, Jacques, made the richest chocolate cake you have ever tasted, and sentimental too, for it was my belle-mère's recipe.
It truly was one of the best Christmases ever, except that, as the saying goes: Toutes les bonnes choses ont une fin. Twenty-four hours after the meal, our guests began to be ill! It was either the coquillages or le gastro (which everyone blames). So I must hurry and end this story and get back to my patients! Low on blankets, I may have to wrap their chilled, fébrile selves in scarves as well. A woman can never have too many écharpes....
le collier = collar
le festin = feast
la belle-soeur = sister-in-law
la bonne franquette = informal, simple, no-fuss meal
de quoi se régaler les papilles = enough to delight the senses
le cadeau = gift
une écharpe = scarf
le foulard = scarf
le sapin de Noël = Christmas tree
les fruits de mer = seafood
une brouillade = egg scramble
la belle-mère = my mother-in-law
toutes les bonnes choses ont une fin = all good things must come to an end
le gastro (gastro-entérite) = stomach flu
fébrile = feverish
cloué au lit = bedridden
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