Maîtres mots

  • Il y a longtemps que notre pays est beau mais rude.

       --Newspaper editor Olivier Séguret, 25 January 2012

    The USA are entirely the creation of the accursed race, the French.

       --Evelyn Waugh (1903-1966), writing to Nancy Mitford, 22 May 1957

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French Freedom of Speech

Today the cheminots are:

  • "À nous de vous faire préférer le train!"
    "Voyager autrement"
    "Avec le SNCF, tout est possible"
      --Former ad slogans of the SNCF (French national trains), each in turn quickly dropped

Fun French words

  • ouistiti

    (literally: marmoset)
    Etymology: onomatopoeia from the sound a marmoset makes. Actual meaning: this is what you say in France when you want people to smile for the camera.

    Selon une étude réalisée par le fabricant d’appareils photo Nikon, le « ouistiti » utilisé en France au moment de se faire prendre en photo est le petit mot le plus efficace pour s’assurer un joli sourire.

Who's en colère today?

  • Private sector

    First strike in 43 years at an aeronautics company in Toulouse, Latécoère

    Public sector

    The SNCF (toujours eux), regional train employees in the Lyons area guaranteeing unpleasant travel from the 17th-21st December
    Also yet another strike by Sud-Rail, a particularly truculent SNCF union in the south of France, this time five days in January: 6,7, 21, 22 and 23. "We have no choice." Right.

    Marseilles trams on strike until February

Go back to school in Paris!

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It is true – I never ate kale growing up in France. I have been in the US for decades and started buying kale last year. I did not know how to cook it, so I cooked it my way. I fried des petits lardons, with some shallot and took off some of the fat and added some olive oil. Then I added the kale cut in pieces and covered it, adding 2 Tbs of white wine and 2 Tbs of chicken stock, 2 tsp of Italian Balsamic vinegar and some black pepper. I just let it cook 5 minutes. My husband said it tasted a lot better than the way his mom used to cook it. I think she just boiled it. I served it with fresh grilled salmon and it went well together. How did you cook your root veggies?

Vagabonde-- so kale really is a new thing in France! I looked it up and the dico says it's "chou frisé" which I have never heard anywhere, have you?

After I took this picture, I peeled the roots, then sliced them very fine in a food processor. Then I mixed them with olive oil and a bit of salt and roasted them for half an hour in a 200º C oven. Half an hour was too long-- it would have been fine to do 20 minutes, and I should have turned them once or twice.

After that I sautéed them very briefly with olive oil, and then drizzled a couple of teaspoons of sesame oil over them. They were delicious!

I spent an entertaining few minutes trying to explain kale to my friends in France a couple of years ago. It seems I'll now be able to take them to the market and wave a bunch at them!

I just found an article about "the Kale Crusader." This must be the woman my market guy was talking about!

Kale is eaten in Alsace.

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Today's quotation

  • In Paris, the purest virtue is the object of the filthiest slander.

      –Honoré Balzac (1799-1850), in Scènes de la vie privée

    À Paris, la vertu la plus pure est l'objet des plus sales calomnies.

Le petit aperçu d'Ailleurs

  • Annual Geminids meteor shower (shooting stars!) coming this weekend, if it's not too cloudy out at night.

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