How to say chopped in French? + gift giveaway

Mastering the Art French Eating by Ann Mah

Ann Mah is giving away three advance copies of her new book Mastering the Art of French EatingLessons in Food and Love from a Year in Paris. Enter to win here.

haché (ha-shay)
    : minced, ground; chopped

un steak haché = hamburger (the French say hamburger when the burger is served on a bun; sans bun and it's called un steak haché)


    by Kristin Espinasse

My friend Ann wrote a new book called Mastering the Art of French Eating. Now there's a book I could have used when coming to France. Then, the world of food and dining was as foreign to me as the bon vivants who lived there.

Over the years I've had to paste together my own version of l'Art de Manger Française. Here are just a few gleanings:

Get your order right or end up with a marijuana burger
It's easy to flub up an order, or une commande--but a command of the French language will save you the embarrassment. Take your time when ordering and avoid the mistake I made when, as a young recruit at the chamber of commerce in Marseilles, I slipped out to lunch at a nearby burger joint and ordered a steak hashish.... 

Don't stock beans or other things

While playing house with my then boyfriend, I was lining up the cans of haricots verts and thon and maïs when I received a polite request: Essayons de ne pas stocker la nourriture, Jean-Marc suggested. It was true, why hoard food when the market was nearby? By buying only what we needed we could eat fresher meals and save money (by not having to toss out expired food).
Is French milk older than a toddler?
One of the things the French do stock is milk. So much so that it has a creepy-long shelf life! (the French keep their milk in the cupboard until opening the bottle, at which point it's stored in the fridge).

It is an acquired taste le lait UHT (sterilized, longue durée) but one thing's sure: a café au lait made in France is appreciated far and wide. Americans love it! So if you've ever wondered why you couldn't recreate the creamy taste back home, now you know: fresh milk's the culprit. 

6 o'
clock is when the birds eat
This is a long-standing joke between my husband and me. Tu manges a l'heure d'oiseau, Chérie? he teases, now that I've gone back the American dinner hour. Tweet tweet! I love eating early but will gladly accept a dinner invitation--and be prepared to eat at l'heure de grillon, or the cricket hour.
Wandering Hands & Footsies
Isn't there a rule about keeping your elbows off the table and left hand in your lap when dining? It's practically the opposite in France, where a hand that disappears beneath the table might be up to no good (feeding the hostesse's escargots to the dog, are you? Or maybe, as in olden times, you're reaching for your gun?! Best to keep your hands to the sides of your plate so the hostess can relax.

(When I first learned this rule, I didn't know about hungry dogs or outlaws, or the history behind the "hands on table" etiquette. My guess was that French innuendo was at play again--and that the French were always imagining the racy side of things. In America we call below the table "hanky-panky" footsies.) 

Bon ap'!
It's lovely in any culture to wish each other bon appetit, but the French go as far as blessing complete strangers. Bon appétit, they'll call out, when you're seated on a park bench chowing down on un sandwich au fromage. Bon appétit, they'll shout, when you're stopped at a traffic light, inhaling a croissant, late for work. Bon appétit, you'll hear, when strolling down the street, window-shopping and munching on a slice of pizza. It can be embarrassing... or deeply charming. Depends on how you take things.
So bon ap' (if that's the case) and bon courage as well. I hope these insights will help you next time you tuck a napkin in your shirt collar (do the French do that? Let me think about it... I'll get back to you when I've got the answer (or share yours below...).
French Vocabulary
le haricot = bean (click here for haricot post)
le haricot vert
= green bean
le thon = tuna
le maïs = corn
essayons de ne pas stocker de la nourriture = let's try not to stock food

I leave you with a few recipes--in case you missed them:

Make the fruit salad I told you about (I've made it three more times since posting the recipe--and discovered that it is the ripe honeydew melon that really makes it good!)

Tomato Tart -- don't miss this favorite! It's tomato season here in France and time to make this easy, fast recipe that everyone loves!

No Grudge Fudge : you won't be mad at yourself after eating this organic 4-ingredient sweet treat. I've made it several times since posting the recipe (the latest version is a Reese's knock off! Just add peanut butter...)

  Door in Vinsobres (Var) (c) Kristin Espinasse
  Where's your favorite place to dine? On the front porch or on the beach or at a restaurant?

Kristin and Braise and golden retriever puppies (c) Jackie Espinasse

Braise (above left) and I in 2009. One of these 6 pups is Smokey.

This blog turns 11-years-old in a few months. 1500 stories are found in the archives, or pick up an edited collection here or here. Your book purchase is a great support to this free word journal. Thanks for reading and for sharing this website with a friend.

Ongoing support from readers like you helps me continue creating this French word journal and its newsletter, now in its 18th year! If you enjoy these posts and would like to help keep this site humming along, please know your donation makes all the difference! A contribution by check (click here) or via PayPal (below) is greatly appreciated. Merci!
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  Marais Cafe (c) Kristin Espinasse at
 At L'éléphant du Nil (Marais, Metro St. Paul) I want to write wildly, tattooing words beneath the skin of sensibility until they tickle and touch.

Reading / Book-signing
I have told you about my amazing writing teacher, Sheila Kohler... and now some good news for those of you in Kansas... Sheila will be in Wichita, for a reading on July 7th at Watermark Books (7 p.m.). Do not miss her for the world. I am sure glad I didn't!

sieste (see est) noun, feminine

    : an afternoon nap, siesta

synonyms: un roupillon, un somme = nap,  une méridienne

Exercises in French PhonicsExercises in French Phonics is... 
" a great book for learning French pronunciation"
"useful and practical"
"high quality material, good value for your money" --from Amazon customer reviews. Order your copy here.

 A Day in a French Life... by Kristin Espinasse

"Salut marmotte," Jean-Marc says, bounding through bedroom. Judging from the brightness of the light which filters in through the slats in the metal shutters, I can tell the time in French: début de l'après-midi

"Tu dors toujours?" my husband questions, breezing by me.  

As with hunger and eating, I feel the need to explain my sleeping. But if I am "une marmotte" when I sleep, does this make me une cochonne when I eat? He might say it but he doesn't, because this is not how he thinks. It is how I think. We think differently. (I always think I am the guilty party.)

It is half past three in the après-midi and I am curled up in bed, covered, despite the heat, with a robe and a sheet. I like the gown's reassuring softness and am willing to sweat for it. Surrounding me like a halo are books written by the writers at the conference I've just attended:  "The Children of Pithiviers,"  "Kitchen Chinese," "Moonlight in Odessa," "Sorbonne Confidential," "Slave Hunter: One Man's Global Quest to Free Victims of Human Trafficking" and "Design Flaws of the Human Condition."

The human condition...

"Je suis très fatiguée," I explain, blaming the intensive workshop.

Jean-Marc walks back across the room, causing each plank of wood to cry out the moment he lifts his foot. With each creak, the delicious depths of sleep retreat until I reach the sober surface of sommeil. I am now wide wake.

Barefooted and clad only in swim trunks (it is too hot for clothing), my busy-bodied better half is mumbling something about cards... cartes de visite. He had collected a stack of them from the grenache symposium last week. Have I seen them anywhere? 

A grape symposium? The idea tickles me and I wonder whether some take grapes too seriously? Then why not give serious attention to siesting? Why not a catnap conference? Why not now?

And now, with lightness, in good conscience, and in peace, I can return to the guilty pleasure of sleep, when out the door my husbands walks, creak, creak, creak.


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French Vocabulary

Salut, marmotte = Hello, marmot (a marmot is a furry rodent that hibernates)
le début de l'après-midi = beginning of the afternoon
Tu dors toujours? = Are you still sleeping?
un cochon, une cochonne = pig
Je suis très fatiguée = I am very tired 
le sommeil = sleep
la carte de visite = business card

Along Rue Saint Dominique, in the 7th (a.k.a. "Little America")

51Qckm1DSfL._SL500_AA280_I Heart ParisShopper: made of recycled material

Words in a French LifeBlogger Espinasse has taken a step backward in the evolution of media by converting selected contents of her Web log into a book. Beginning students of conversational French will profit from many of these brief entries, and supplemental tables of expressions go far to demystify French idioms for anyone wishing to speak and write more fluent French. —Booklist

 Top 10 Ways to Improve Your Spoken French

Got Nintendo? Playing My French Coach for 15 to 20 minutes a day is all you need to become fluent in French

Ongoing support from readers like you helps me continue creating this French word journal and its newsletter, now in its 18th year! If you enjoy these posts and would like to help keep this site humming along, please know your donation makes all the difference! A contribution by check (click here) or via PayPal (below) is greatly appreciated. Merci!
♥ $10    
♥ $25    
♥ Or click here to send the amount of your choice

You can also support this journal by purchasing our book-in-progress, click here.