English Without Pain: Lesson 8
Are you ready for Lesson 8 in L’anglais sans peine (English Without Pain)? If you missed my Lesson 1 blog post, see it here as well as read about what English Without Pain is.
Here’s lesson 8: I have a surprise for you in my pocket…
Am I the only one who thinks this is absolutely hilarious?!
English Without Pain: Lesson 1
French people over the age of 45 or so, who’ve tried to study English, will all be able to say “My tailor is rich.” Some might not be able to say much more than that, but by God they can at least say that and that might come in handy…some day! I’ve met many people who’ve proudly recited this line to me. I never know how to respond.
This most absurd and utterly useless phrase is the very first lesson from a book called, L’anglais sans peine (English Without Pain). It’s a book that a lot of French people owned, and I recently found it at my in-laws! My dad in law can’t say too much more than “my tailor is rich.” How many more times will we all laugh when he says that to me? I don’t know.
The book is pure gold in its datedness, silliness and just plain wrongness and it’s something I must share here, albeit in little blog posts.
Here’s the cartoon that goes with lesson Number 1: My Tailor is Rich. From where the author pulled this out of, I can’t say.
More to follow I hope.
Ces Impossibles Français
We barely watched any of the Winter Olympics this year but did catch a few minutes of the biathlon (target shooting, cross country skiing) one night. The French athlete, 23 year-old Vincent Jay had apparently been in the lead for a long time and remained in first place as the race continued. Then, my sweetie says, “He’s going to crack and lose.” Me: “Wha? Don’t you want him to win?” “Yeah, but he’s going to lose. I know it and everyone in France watching right now are saying the same thing.” Me: “They said he just won the gold medal yesterday.” Him: “He got lucky. The French ALWAYS lose.” Me: “No they don’t.” Him: “Yes they do.” Me: “Where is your Olympic spirit!? I want him to win! You know, this collective Franco-negativity consciousness is going to MAKE him lose.” Him: “Wish all you want, It ain’t gonna happen.”
It turned out in the end Jay dropped to third right before the finish, but at least won the bronze medal. Him: “See, I told you. The French choke in the end.” Me: “!!!” Him: “You should’ve known.” Me: “Living here this long, I’ll eat pizza with a fork and knife, and I’ll drink morning coffee from a bowl, but expect failure without exception? NO.” Him: “What can I say? C’est plus fort que moi.”
This was another one of many clashes of cultures we experience: American Optimism (realistic or not) vs. The Undying French Pessimism (among other things). I call it “Ces impossibles Français,” which happens to be the name of a book recently released. I had to get it once I heard about it, although I haven’t gotten too much into it yet. Written by a French Canadian (Louis-Bernard Robitaille) who has been living in France for over 30 years now, it promises to be a light-hearted, warm and funny read, I think particularly for expats living with an impossible Français, or any expat living in France. Note: The book’s in French.
A New Book! Je me ferais bien un… / I feel like (eating) a…
Monday April 20th 2009, 7:40 am
Filed under: advice
,food and drinks
,travel and places
Boudin noir? Poulet rôti? Moules Frites? Un moelleux au chocolat? How ’bout some foie gras or a nice juicy côte de boeuf? I know you’ve been dying for a tête de veau, haven’t you? When you travel all the way to Paris, does it ever occur to you to hit the pavement in search of a croque monsieur? I mean, a really, really good croque monsieur? Well, the best one in Paris has truffles in it. I would travel all the way to Paris for that. If it was really exceptional, I wouldn’t even mind if it didn’t have any truffles. At the same time, I can’t imagine going to a fancy restaurant for a croque monsieur but hey, the best club sandwich in Paris is supposedly from Georges V, and I bet it is not a bon marché. I wouldn’t want to pay too much for a club sandwich, but my sweetie probably would. He LOVES club sammiches. Anyway, on to the book.
Je me ferais bien un… is a new Paris restaurant guide book in French written by Valérie Expert and Véronique André, and is a little different from most other Paris restaurant guides. The authors made it a mission to try a significant number of restaurants (they say they tried them all but c’mon) in Paris to find the best places for the French’s 52 most favorite foods and dishes suitable for all budgets. So in many cases you can choose a dish or dessert, for example, and find the best couscous from a fancy restaurant, a mid-range bistro or a budget restaurant.
The book is organized in alphabetical order. So during those times when you say to yourself, “Je me ferais bien un… / I feel like a…” just look for the dish in the book you feel like eating then go from there. We can’t wait to try out the recommendations! Will their listings for the best hamburger pass our test? We will see about that. Oui, by the way, the hamburger is apparently a favorite among the French.
Here’s the list of dishes included in the book, if you were wondering: andouillette, assiette de légumes, baba, bar, blanquette de veau, boudin noir, caesar salad, cassoulet, choucroute, club sandwich, côte de boeuf, couscous, crêpes, croque-monsieur, eclairs/religieuses, foie de veau, foie gras, gambas, gigot d’agneau, gibier, hachis parmentier, hamburger, île flottante, langoustines, magret de canard, mille-feuille, moelleux au chocolat, moules-frites, os à moelle, oeuf/omelette, paris-brest, pâtes, petit salé aux lentilles, pigeon, pieds de porc grillés, pizza, plateau de fruits de mer, poulet roti, pot-au-feu, raie, risotto, ris de veau, salade thaï, sole, soufflé, sushi/sashimi, souple chinoise, tapas, tartare, tarte au pommes, tête de veau, truffe.
Je me ferais bien un…
Michelin Red Guide – Restaurants in Paris for the Rest of Us
Friday March 06th 2009, 3:09 am
Filed under: books/magazines
,food and drinks
,MOF Meilleur Ouvrier de France
,travel and places
“This week brought the release of the new Michelin Red Guide, prompting foodies to run and see which chefs had been awarded stars—the top honor in restaurant criticism.
The guide, whose English edition arrives mid-May, sells 1.3 million copies a year in its various editions.
Its star system rewards expensive restaurants, of course. But the guide also has a lesser-known rating for affordable restaurants. Toward the back of the guide, there’s the “Bib Gourmand” section in which Michelin recognizes places that offer excellent three-course meals for less than €35 ($44) each.
This year, 47 Paris restos are on the Bib Gourmand list—a record. Many of these spots are new additions to the list. My favorites include:
• Le Baratin,, 3 rue Jouye Rouve, 20th arrondissement, 011-33/1-43-49-39-70
• Le Bistrot Paul Bert, 18 rue Paul Bert, 11th arrondissement, 011-33/1-43-72-24-01
• La Cantine du Troquet, 101 rue de l’Ouest, 14th arrondissement, 011-33/1-45-40-04-98.
• L’Entêtée, 4 rue Danville, 14th arrondissement, 011-33/1-40-47-56-81
The above restaurants are not open every day of the week, so call ahead to confirm and to see if reservations are needed.”
More about The Michelin Red Guide France 2009