Up till now, the best part of our cafoutche was the view. More about a few sweet and savory projects in today's missive. Thank you for reading and sharing this post with a friend!
Today's Word: cafoutche
: storage room, cupboard
Cafoutche: De l’occitan cafoucho synonyme de cahute. A Marseille il désigne un petit placard où l’on met de tout et de rien. Peut désigner la cave, aussi bien qu’une petite pièce fermée ou un débarras. Cafoutche: from Occitan cafoucho synonymous with hut. In Marseille this designates a small closet where you put everything and nothing. May refer to the cellar, as well as a small closed room or storage room. --www.lasardineduport.fr
A DAY IN A FRENCH LIFE by Kristi Espinasse
Not only is our guest on the mend, she is mending! Helping, that is, to fix everything from a punctual petit creux to our unruly store room--insisting all the while, ça fait du bien de travailler. What a positive way to look at work--as something that makes us feel better! I know this is true with my writing which I often put off to a later date, making the restlessness worse and stifling the atmosphere!
Rimbaud once wrote: La vie fleurit par le travail.
Life here is flourishing at the moment thanks to our accidental helper. My belle-soeur Cécile (our guest...had you guessed?) has been busy in the kitchen, making both savory and sweet tarts. So far she has made une tarte aux épinards, une tarte aux aspèrges, and two tartes aux fraises given it is strawberry and asparagus season here in France. Using her friend Jérome's recette, which calls for white wine and sunflower oil, ma belle-soeur made the most delicious crust I have ever tasted--so good I think I could eat just the crust for lunch!
Between delicious meals, Cécile is eager to help us with le nettoyage de printemps. It's hard to stand by while my belle-soeur is sweeping our front and back porches, so I grab the dustpan and je mets la main à la pâte (which is more reasonable than putting my hand back in the pâte, or pie crust, no matter how addictive it is...).
Done sweeping, my belle-soeur has now offered to help reorganize our cafoutche, that room where the French put everything from tools to cat food--every machin-truc that does not have a home. Cécile, being a welder and furniture maker, is not only familiar with the bits-and-bobs that I cannot identify--from méches (a piece you attach to a drill, they come in many sizes...) to équerres--she will be able to make one of those organizational boards where we can hang all our tools! I can't wait to be able to see everything! To find a hammer and a nail when I need it!
Before putting up the wonder board I've been wishing for, to organize all our tools, we made use of the back of the old door--arranging all the cords, wires, ropes, and chains there. Everthing by theme, everything in its place! Chaque chose à sa place.
As we begin the task of sorting through the rest, piling everything on top of the ping-pong table for easier viewing, dear Smokey appears, wagging his tail, and Jules is not far behind. Noticing all the activity, all the flourishing, Mom is full of praise:
"Cécile--we are never going to let you go!"
No way we're letting my belle-soeur go! Hors de question! I can think of a few more projects we could do together...plant a potato patch, make obelisks for the garden...oh, and we still need that pie crust recipe!
Speaking of tarts, having finished this story I'm now going to sneak down to the kitchen to see about the banana pie from last night. Bye just now and remember, work is good for the soul and pie tastes best after a good sweat. (Lots of sweating in writing...chiseling words from the brain is hard labor!)
* * *
le petit creux = the munchies, a little hunger
ça fait du bien de travailler = it feels good to work
la belle-soeur = sister-in-law, step-sister
une tarte = a tart
...aux épinards = with spinach
...aux aspèrges = with asparagus
...aux fraises = with strawberries
la recette = recipe
mettre la main à la pâte = to join in, to pitch in
le machin-truc = thingamajig
chaque chose à sa place = everything in its place
une méche = drill bit (also a lock of wavy hair, which a drill bit resembles)
une équerre = flat angle bracket, shelf bracket
hors de question = out of the question
On the mend = en voie de guérison
to put off = remettre à plus tard, repousser
Ouf! J'ai bien galéré. Whew! What a struggle today's post was from beginning to end--owing to a few technical glitches at the blog, which have all been sorted out. Now to sort out that banana pie! Bye-bye!
A Message from Kristi
Thank you for reading my language journal. In 2002 I left my job at a vineyard and became self-employed in France. "French Word-A-Day" has been my full-time occupation ever since. Ongoing support from readers like you helps keep this site ad-free and allows me to focus on the creative process of writing. My wish is to continue offering posts that are educational, insightful, and heart-warming. If my work has touched you in any way, please consider supporting it via a blog donation of any amount.
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