Green juice and Tomettes (c) Kristin Espinasse
Green Juice and Tomettes (tomettes, and not tomates!)

It's a rainy day in Bandol, a perfect morning for some pancrêpes. Instead, Jean-Marc and I are drinking green juice (this time with fennel--and it's dill-like leaves--bergamot lemon, ginger, pomme, and celery). We'll definitely have pancakes this weekend! Read on... Meantime, put your pancake tips here in the comments and we'll keep them in mind for the next batch!

pâte (pat)

  1. batter (mix), pastry; dough
  2. base (for pizza)pasta
  3. play dough
  4. pulp (wood) 

la pâte à crêpe = pancake batter
la pâte à modeler = playdough
la pâte à pain = bread dough

Expression: vivre comme un coq en pâte = to relax and enjoy life, to be very pleased with one's living circumstances, to be in clover 

Audio File
Listen to Jean-Marc pronounce the words, above, and the sentence, belowDownload MP3 or Wav file

Quels sont les ingrédients pour la pâte à pancakes?
What are the ingredients in pancake batter?

A DAY IN A FRENCH LIFE... by Kristin Espinasse

"Would you like me to go to the store and get ingredients for pancakes?" Jean-Marc is standing at the door to our room, a best-husband smile on his face.

Pancakes? What a complicated undertaking that was for this quiet and cozy morning. Why couldn't my husband just grab a couple cups of coffee and return to bed?

Well, if he wanted pancakes, he didn't have to go all the way to town.
"But we already have all the ingredients here," I point out. The informative tone of my voice tells Jean-Marc he might have first looked for the flour! 

"What's the recette for pancakes, then?" 

"But why don't you just make crêpes?" I suggest, not wanting to get all involved in the process of baking. Jean-Marc is an expert at crêpes. Why did he need to complicate things?

"Because I want pancakes! How much flour does it take?"

I sit up in our cozy bed. So much for a do-nothing Sunday morning. Jean-Marc would need a recipe, and for that he'd need me to get up and start searching for a cookbook.

...Then again, there was that Jamie Oliver recipe, the easy-to-remember one. I liked the one-two-three quality about it, like the fool-proof yogurt cake... only which number corresponded to which ingredient? How many cups of flour? Was it 2 eggs? And one of what? All these thoughts made me begin to grumble. 

Jean-Marc's patience was thinning, too. "It's a simple question, no need to pass by Australia, South Africa, and Chile to answer it!

He always says that when becoming defensive! But it is HE who has complicated things by involving me in the first place! 

"YOU are the one who's gone all the way to Chile by leaving the kitchen and coming this far to make your pancakes!

Harrumph! Throwing the covers aside, I follow the globe-trotter into the kitchen.


Standing beside Jean-Marc and the kitchen comptoir, I'm in pyjamas, he's wearing a raincoat. We are looking into a large mixing bowl, wondering whether or not to double the recipe. Suddenly, I am very hungry.

"Double-le," Jean-Marc decides.

As soon as we begin, I notice my husband's casual approach to cooking.

"But you didn't measure a full cup that time!" 

"Don't worry. Ça ira."

Doubtful, I hand over the poudre chimique

"What are you doing with the baking powder?!" Instead of dumping it in the center of the farine, in the "well", or trou, Jean-Marc is shaking it, ever so daintily, across the top of the flour. 

"Just dump it! There, in the center!"

Rather than rush him through the egg and butter stage, I quickly crack and measure them myself. 

"Je suis désolée, it's just that I don't have a lot of patience for these things... and I can't help but want to control things."

"Oh, si! Yes you have patience," Jean-Marc says, sweetly, stirring the pâte.

"Don't over stir...," I smile. "...just enough to wet the flour!"


I watch our 15-year-old daughter eat breakfast. "They're a cross between pancakes and crêpes," she notes, admiring the "starburst" pattern, as well (a happy accident. Our old sauteuse it so scraped up that the batter formed little jagged edges all around. Sun cakes!)

"Do you like them?"


"It was your Dad's idea. Wasn't that sweet?"

'Mmmhmm.Where'd he get the recipe?"

"Oh... in Chile!"


To comment, click here. Looking forward to more pancakes this weekend... or maybe tomorrow morning! Any tips? For buttermilk pancakes, have you tried the replacement (one TB of vinegar? Does it really work?). What types of flour do you use? Bacon grease or vegetable oil in the pan? And pancakes sans gluten? 

French Vocabulary

(click on the highlighted words to view the entries)

une recette = recipe
une crêpe = thin pancake
double-le = double it
ça ira = it'll do
la poudre chimique = baking powder
la farine = flour 
je suis désolé(e) = I'm sorry 

Bonne cuisine madame angeLa Bonne Cuisine de Madame Saint-Ange: The Original Companion for French Home Cooking. Order your copy here.




Jackie and Jean-Marc playing cards (c) Kristin Espinasse
Father and daughter playing cards, over the relaxing weekend. See the grape-cluster above Jackie? That is one of the gifts Caroline made. Click to enlarge the photo. Click here to comment.


Photo of a cabanon taken in Tulette. Marie-Françoise was here yesterday. Touring our new stomping grounds, she said, "come see..." She delicately lowered the branch of an almond tree, quizzing us about what we could see.... BUDS! Could it be that springtime is around the corner? And buds in your neighborhood?

Ongoing support from readers like you helps me continue this French word journal, now in its 18th year! If you enjoy these posts and would like to keep this site going, please know your donation makes a difference! A contribution by check (click here) or via PayPal (below) is greatly appreciated. Merci!
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"Raw Paws" - or the Society for Mutts that Don't Do Meat or Cooked Veggies. The group is only a fictional one--for Mr Smokey R. Dokey (pictured) won't be giving up his viande vittles any time soon. But, being the gentle cohabitant that he is, he respects certain members of his family that are experimenting with a new way of eating... read on. 

cru (kroo) adjective

    : raw

 There are a few other definitions for "cru", most of which are not in theme with today's story. Help define the additional meanings, here in the comments box.

Example Sentence:

Manger cru, c'est manger un aliment vivant. To eat raw is to eat a living food.


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

I, Crudivore?

My teenagers and I stand transfixed before the food processor. Smokey and Braise join our huddle which forms a demi-circle around the encased liquid: a mysterious green-flecked food source. Max's eyebrows lift in amusement, while his sister, Jackie, backs cautiously away from the counter. As for the dogs, they're just giddily grateful to be included in a food related activity. But was this food? After all, it sort of looked like swamp matter, which, arguably, is food to some... slimy creatures and mythic beings, for example. 

"Qu'est-ce que c'est exactement?" Max questions.
"What is it? Why, it's a lettuce-banana smoothie!" I dare say.

"Un smoo-sie laitue-banane?" Jackie wants to be sure she has heard correctly.

"Un milkshake... avec de la salade?" Max repeats, unbelievingly.

"Yes, it's 'un smoothie vert'... and there is no milk in here!" I correct my son. "...and you won't even taste the greens--that's the magic of it!" (I had read that one way to get your kids interested in 'drinking green' was to get them to participate in such an experiment as this, after all, what kid isn't fascinated with weird science?

I searched the kitchen armoire for three of our most attractive glasses (having read that presentation was key) and filled three tumblers--the only glasses that were uniform in size... and not chipped... or misted with calcaire. Pouring out the smoothie, we watched, eyes agog, as the pulpy liquid slid out (our food processor did not succeed in rendering the vegetables and ice in a velvety "smoothie" state - as I had seen on Youtube, where I'd gotten the inspiration for this raw food breakfast for amphibians, or, rather, champions).

As the glasses filled, large blobs of thick green runoff slid menacingly down the side of the glass, to the horror of the voluntary tasting crew. It was all the kids could do to not pinch their noses as they took up the goblets and tilted them at the edge of their mouths....

"Et alors?" It is good?"

Max licked his green lips and Jackie wiped her own lèvres vertes with the back of her hand....

"C'est pas mal," came the non-damning consensus.

"Vraiment?! Really?!" with that I upended my own goblet in time to feel the fragments of lettuce streaming between my teeth. Surprisingly, and, as promised, the vitamin rich greens were tasteless, and only the sweet flavor of banana prevailed. I crunched down on the unprocessed ice. "Next time I'll freeze the bananas," I promised, "...and we'll forego the ice!"

The kids set down their goblets and ran back upstairs to carry on with more conventional activities, such as playing with new hairstyles (Jackie) or resuming un jeux d'ordi (Max), activities that were sacrificed for The Green Smoothie Experiment.

Meantime, I sat down at the kitchen table and sipped the rest of my "live" drink. The watery bits (melting ice) were a little disappointing, but I reminded myself of all the vitamins that I was drinking in!

While a daily green smoothie may not cure my skin problem, it is a step in a positive direction. And it is empowering to know that, while some things are out of our bodies' control, we still have a big say in what we "feed" our living cellules


 Le Coin Commentaires
Has anyone here tried to incorporate more raw foods into their diet? What about juicing? Can you recommend a good green juicer? What equipement to you have in your healthy kitchen? Do you turn to medication--or to mangoes--at the first sign of illness? Any warnings you might like to add? Thanks for sharing your thoughts, here in the comments box.


Two books I plan on buying (add your recommendations to the comments box):

Raw Food Made Easy, by Jennifer Cornbleet

Live Raw: Raw food recipes for Good Health... by Mimi Kirk

Selected French Vocabulary

la viande = meat

calcaire = chalky

et alors? = well then?

c'est pas mal = it's not bad

vraiment = really?

un jeu d'ordi (ordinateur) = a computer game


Capture plein écran 16052011 092531

The classic Bescherelle, the complete guide to French verb conjugation. Read the five-star reviews, and order, here.




 Exercise, or healthy Alpine living, near the town of Serre Chevalier. 


 One final health tip for you--not that I am in a position to hand out health tips!--but the French words on this sign seem a good remedy for many of the body's ills; the sign reads: Ce qui compte... c'est l'amour. ("What counts... is love"). Photo taken last month, in the town of Monetier (near Briançon).

Speaking of love, do you have a minute to read a story about my French mother-in-law? Click here to read "Elvis in Ancient France"

Ongoing support from readers like you helps me continue this French word journal, now in its 18th year! If you enjoy these posts and would like to keep this site going, please know your donation makes a difference! A contribution by check (click here) or via PayPal (below) is greatly appreciated. Merci!
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le goût

Little French Chefs in the Atelier (c) Kristin Espinasse

le goût (goo) noun, masculine
1. taste
2. savor, flavor
3. liking, fondness

(from the Latin, gustus, taste)


sans goût = tasteless
de bon goût = in good taste
avoir du goût = to have good taste
avoir le goût fin = to have a fine palate
à chacun son goût = to each his own
un goût passager = a passing fancy
prendre goût à quelque chose = to take a liking to something
faire passer le goût du pain à quelqu'un = to do away with someone; to
make someone want to give up
le goût du terroir (the taste of the soil) = food/drink with a native tang

Citation du Jour

Le goût, c'est la mort de l'art.
Taste, it's the death of art.
--Edgar Degas

A Day in a French Life...

(Do not miss the story that originally appeared here, along with the vocabulary below. Order the book!)

*References: une maman = a mom, mother; le jeudi (m) = Thursday; un peu énervé(e) = a little irritated; boules (pétanque) = the game of bowls; en rang = in line; CFA = Centre de formation d'apprentis = apprentice training center; une épreuve = an ordeal; le trottoir (m) = the sidewalk; un matelots = a seaman, sailor; sur place = on the spot; un atelier = a workshop; pâtisserie = pastry; boulangerie = bakery; un(e) apprenti(e) = apprentice; un récipient = container; méfiant = suspicious, distrustful; ah bon = oh really?

Ongoing support from readers like you helps me continue this French word journal, now in its 18th year! If you enjoy these posts and would like to keep this site going, please know your donation makes a difference! A contribution by check (click here) or via PayPal (below) is greatly appreciated. Merci!
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Don't miss today's column "Food-Related French Expressions" for an insight into some charming and useful French sayings. Read it in French and/or English.

bouffer (boo-fay) verb
1. to eat
2. to consume
3. to absorb
4. to puff out

Une bagnole qui bouffe beaucoup d'essence = a car that guzzles gas

la bouffe = food (informal)
la malbouffe = bad grub, junkfood

se bouffer le nez = to dispute with someone; to argue
se faire bouffer = to get creamed (defeated, in sports)
se laisser bouffer par son travail = to be swallowed up by one's work
faire bouffer ses cheveux = to add volume/fullness to one's hair
bouffer du curé, du flic... = to be extremely anticlerical, anti-cop

Citation du Jour:

Le basket, c'est bien; parce que, vu l'état de la bouffe actuellement, je ne vois pas ce qui nous reste d'autre qu'un ballon à mettre dans un panier.

Basketball is good; because, having seen the state of food today, I don't know what's left for us to put into a basket other than a ball. --Laurent Ruquier

Food Related French Expressions

by Barbara Barles

Tout le monde sait qu'une des préoccupations majeures des français concerne l'alimentation... ou "la bouffe" comme on dit chez nous!

C'est peut-être pour cette raison qu'il existe en français autant d'expressions relatives à la nourriture et à ce qui se mange en général. Je vous en propose ici quelques-unes. D'autres pourront suivre si vous avez encore faim!

* * * *

Everyone knows that one of the major preoccupations with the French concerns food.... or "la bouffe" as we say here.

It is perhaps for this reason that there are so many French expressions related to food and to what is eaten in general. I propose a few for you here. Others will follow if you are still hungry!

La moutarde me monte au nez:
"The mustard is getting up my nose"
(= I'm beginning to get angry...)

Tomber dans les pommes: "To fall into the apples" = s'évanouir (to pass out)

Se mêler de ses oignons: "To mind one's own onions"
s'occuper de ses affaires, ne pas se mêler de celles des autres = (to mind one's own business, not to get mixed up in other people's business)

Mi figue-mi raisin: "Half fig-half grape"
Se dit de quelque chose, d'un sentiment mitigé, ambigu, moitié bien, moitié mal. / to speak of mixed, ambiguous feelings, half good, half bad also: wry (smile); a half-humorous, wry remark;

Mettre du beurre dans les épinards:
"To put some butter into one's spinach" = améliorer ses revenus, sa situation / to improve one's financial situation

Donner du lard (ou de la confiture) aux cochons:
"To give fat (or jam) to the pigs" = donner quelque chose à quelqu'un qui ne le mérite pas, qui n'est pas
en mesure de l'apprécier. / To give something to someone who does not deserve it, who is not capable of appreciating it.

Mettre de l'eau dans son vin:
"To put water in one's wine" = se radoucir, se modérer. To moderate oneself

Avoir du pain sur la planche:
"To have bread on the cutting board" avoir beaucoup de travail à faire / to have a lot of work to do

En avoir gros sur la patate:
être triste, avoir du chagrin / to be sad, chagrined

Etre soupe au lait:
"To be milk soup" (the image of soupe boiling over from the addition of milk) = se vexer, s'énerver facilement / to be easily irrited, angered, vexed

Chanter comme une patate:
"To sing like a spud" or "To sing like a potato" (to sing badly)

Read stories about this French life, and living in Provence: click on the book cover below:


Ongoing support from readers like you helps me continue this French word journal, now in its 18th year! If you enjoy these posts and would like to keep this site going, please know your donation makes a difference! A contribution by check (click here) or via PayPal (below) is greatly appreciated. Merci!
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un poireau

One of today's expressions has to do with "to be kept waiting." I didn't want to keep a friend in India waiting to send wishes of a "Bonne fête de Ganesh". Ganesh is the "le dieu" (the God) with "la tête d'éléphant" (the elephant's head) and is the deity of knowledge and wisdom (of "le Savoir" and "la Sagesse").

Recently in Paris, more than 20,000 people participated in "la grande fête hindoue" (the great Hindu celebration). Bonne fête to Ravindra (and son!) in Pune, India.

un poireau (pwah-roh) noun, masculine
1. a leek

(The plural is "poireaux")

And from the image of a leek stuck in the ground comes the popular verb "poireauter" = literally "to leek," to be "planted" like a leek (to be kept waiting; to kick, cool, one's heels...)

faire le poireau = to be kept waiting; to hang about
faire poireauter quelqu'un = to leave somebody waiting about

Citation du Jour

Quand on dit que le poireau est l'asperge du pauvre, ce n'est gentil ni pour le poireau, ni pour l'asperge, ni pour le pauvre.

When we say that the leek is the asparagus of the poor, that's not nice to the leek, the asparagus or the poor man. --Albert Valentin

A Day in a French Life...

"La Soupe des Vendangeurs"

In French the verb "poireauter" means "attendre longtemps" or to wait a long time. We waited only four days for the Harvest Soup which is (in some parts of France) savored during la vendange.* In Chateauneuf du Pape, where we harvested grapes last Sunday, we feasted on porc à la moutarde after the harvest so it somehow seemed sacrilege to finish the vendange and not "souper"* on some comforting potage* this week.

Although the soup calls for a long list of ingredients, it tastes just as good with half as many legumes,* and so for our version I used what I could find in our frigo:* poireaux,* pommes de terres,* tomatoes, onions, courgettes and garlic.

I filled a pan half full of water, peeled back the silver foil jacket of a bouillon cube, threw the cube into the pot and added vegetables until they reached the surface of the water. And voilà!

While the soup simmered, and to get into the spirit of things, we went out to the back yard and slumped through the four rangs* of grape vines, running our hands along the leaves. Ouf!* Having built up an appetite, we headed back in for La Soupe des Vendangeurs.

Au fait,* La Soupe des Vendangeurs can include any or all of the following ingredients: carrots, potatoes, tomatoes, poireaux, spinach, turnips, chou vert, celery, garlic, a bay leaf, thyme, parsley, bacon and sausages.

Bon appétit et bon week-end!

*References: la vendange (f) = the grape harvest; un légume (m) = a vegetable; le frigo (m) = the refrigerator; souper = to have supper; un potage (m) = soup; au fait = by the way; une pomme de terre (f) = potato; un rang = a row; ouf! = whew!: une courgette (f) = zucchini; le chou vert (m) = green cabbage

Ongoing support from readers like you helps me continue this French word journal, now in its 18th year! If you enjoy these posts and would like to keep this site going, please know your donation makes a difference! A contribution by check (click here) or via PayPal (below) is greatly appreciated. Merci!
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