Monforte d'Alba, Italy. Photo taken over the weekend with this apparatus.
le brouillard (broo-yar) noun, masculine
fog, mist, smog
La mémoire est un drôle de brouillard. Memory is a strange kind of fog. --Valère Staraselski
A Day in a French Life... by Kristin Espinasse
"Write it down"
Write it down while it is fresh in your mind, fresh as the hand-grated parmesan that falls over scalding hot risotto.
Write it down while it is thick, thick as the brouillard* that covers a patchwork of grapevines on the rolling hills of northern Italy in December.
Write it down while it is still chattering, like the wrinkled signores' "Bene! bene!" in the town square at Monforte d'Alba.
Write it down while it is strong, strong as the ink-black espresso that fills half a demitasse* at Marco's place in Alba.
Write it down while it is pouring, like the olive oil my husband splashes onto his plate for bread-dipping while waiting for the antipasti.
Write it down while it flows, like red Dolcetto* from an uncorked bottle.
Write it down while it is dark, like the winter sky above the foothills in the Piedmont.
Write it down while it is hot, hot as the bagna cauda* that bathes the yellow roasted peppers and halved onions in Renza's kitchen.
Write it down while it is passionate, like the lovers' quarrel that silences an entire Italian cantina but for the flailing lips of one Franco-American couple.
Write it down while it is fizzing like sparkling water, now swallowed (along with a bit of pride and an apology), at a pizza dive on the outskirts of Bra.
Write it down while it is funny, like the name of the Italian town above.
Write it down while it is sensual, like the lips of the kissing Italians. (Why do they call the twirling of tongues "French kissing"? You've not seen kissing until you've seen Italian kissing!)
Write it down while it is crisp, like the cotton sheets at Alberto's bed and breakfast in Castiglione Falletto.
Write it down before it is gone, never to return, like cappuccino foam at the bottom of a cup. Pop...pop...pop.... Poof!
* * *
le brouillard = fog
demitasse (or demi-tasse, literally "half cup")
Dolcetto = a wine grape variety grown in northern Italy
bagna cauda (literally "hot bath") = a warm sauce (anchovies, olive oil, and garlic) for bread and boiled/roasted vegetables
Audio File - Hear French: Listen to Jean-Marc recite today's quote: Download brouillard.wav
La mémoire est un drôle de brouillard.
Terms & Expressions:
être dans le brouillard = to be in the dark (unaware)
brouillard "à couper au couteau" (fog "to cut with a knife") = peasouper (or very thick fog)
Thank you for the time you've spent reading my column. If you have learned more than a little vocabulary here and find yourself looking forward to the next story, please know that ongoing support from readers like you helps me continue doing what I love most: sharing these missives from France. Your support is vivement apprécié! Donating via PayPal is fast and easy when you use the links below. Merci infiniment! Kristi