tablier (tah-blee-yay) noun, masculine
: apron, pinafore; smock
[from the word "table"]
Here's the French definition from the "Dictionnaire de l'Académie française" :
"Pièce de toile, de serge, de cuir, etc. que les femmes et les artisans mettent devant eux pour conserver leurs habits en travaillant." (Piece of cloth, woolen fabric, leather, etc. that women and craftsmen put in front of them in order to spare their clothes while working.)
More Words & Expressions:
le tablier de sapeur ("fireman's apron") = breaded, fried tripe
rendre son tablier = to give one's notice; to resign, step down
As it happened, we were on another fragrant stroll, breathing in the acrid, buttery scent of rosemary, the licoricey sweetness of genêt,* and plenty of pungent, musky earth after rainfall.
"Thyme... rosemary... only thing missing is sarriette!"* Marie-Françoise lamented, referring to the batch of herbes de Provence* that she could've whipped up for us had we some wild sarriette to choose from... and a coffee grinder. Tant pis!*
We continued to gather the thyme for tea, or "tea time" if you like, given that the wild garriguian* herb doubles as a cough reliever. Though I didn't have a cold, I did have plenty of fever, standing there before a hill of herbs, eager to refill that empty jar of homemade spice mix that Marie-Françoise keeps stocked for us.
Determined, I put one foot at either side of a budding shrub, fixed my hands around its base (as one would a rope), and attempted to "lift off"... and so take the plant with me using some form of anti-gravity, I know not which.
But nothing budged and the plant, literally, held its ground. Having a second go, I wrestled with the stubborn shrub, this time using the weight of my body to hoist the hell-bent herb out of the ground. My body now at a sharp incline and partly suspended at one end (but for the root holding me down at the other), the only thing I managed to uproot were the curious eyes of Jean-Marc's aunt.
Marie-Françoise paused from her own herb gathering, looked up casually, and offered a suggestion. "You need only bend the little branches, she said, snapping off another delicate tige*, adding it to a growing bouquet. That way the plant is left to flourish year after year....
(This far into the essay, and I still haven't managed to introduce the word of the day: tablier. So let's end things here, with only one tiny regret: had we one of those frilly, flowery, oh-so-feminine tablier-frocks, we might've carried back with us, in our gathered aprons, a bit more medicinal thyme. Speaking of frilly,
flowery, and frou-frou, Aunt Marie Francoise tells me that *those* kinds of aprons are a phenomenon of style. Read her story, in French, and learn about the authentic aprons of yesteryear and their not-so-ordinary uses. Click here: http://french-word-a-day.typepad.com/tablier.pdf .
Note: I'll post the English version on Monday.
~~~~~~~~~~Glossary of French Terms~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
le muguet (m) = lily of the valley, a.k.a. "Our Lady's Tears," (traditionally offered to friends, neighbors, family... on May 1st http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Convallaria); le genêt (m) = broom (plant); la
sarriette (f) = winter savory (herb); les herbes (f) de Provence = Provencale herb mixture including thyme, rosemary and sarriette.. and sometimes marjoram, basil, lavender...; tant pis = too bad; garriguian (made up word for "of the garrigue" [la garrigue
= wild Mediterranean scrubland]); une tige (f) = stem, stalk
Aprons for sale in Alsace...
Betcha a tablier-wearer lives here... quaint and charming as it is.
Download and listen to the children's song "Le muguet du premier-mai"
Paris Metro *Subway Map* Novelty Apron
Decorative set of 3 blue nested vintage look French Toile Planters
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