Friday, February 26, 2010
A little cabanon in the Drôme.
Today's Word: mousse (moos) noun, feminine
1. moss 2. froth 3. mousse 4. foam 5. apprentice...
...and the funny expression: se faire de la mousse = to get all worked up about something
A Day in a French Life... by Kristin Espinasse
What you say is what you get. This was a truism at my house when I was a kid. I always wanted to be a writer but didn't begin to say I was one until I moved to France... far from the Valley of the Sun.* That is when I began to feed my fuzzy brain a steady diet of "je suis écrivain... je suis ecrivain!" My cerveau processed the info and, just as Mom had said you reap what you sow in your mind's fertile rows.
I became a writer! I'll be talking about this subject on Monday—at Shakespeare and Company bookshop—and don't think I just said that blasé-ed-ly. Here, I'll try again: I'll soon be talking at Shakespeare and Company!!!!!!
Back to What You Say Is What You Get. This works the other way too, mind you: what people tell you is what you become if you begin to believe it. So be careful what you "let in"—lest you become imprisoned!
But back to another positive example. We've always called our son "Maximouse". It is a term of endearment (Max + Mousse—"mousse" being a random word choice... just something that made us smile when we said it). And wouldn't you know that "mousse" also means (in the third or fourth sense of the word) "apprentice"? Coincidentally (or not...) Max began to take an early interest in cooking (chocolate mousse?) and, week before last, apprenticed at a local restaurant. Since, his father, his sister, and I, have been the spoiled rotten recipients of his nouveau gastronomy...
Last night we had another verrine... this time, inside the pretty glass we could see sweet layers of Nutella, poire, and la crème fouettée with colorful sprinkles on top. And, night before last,we had homemade crème anglaise!
On Friday, when we said goodbye to Alexis, we celebrated the young man's internship with champagne and saumon fumé. Max had made his first verrine (hmmm, I wonder: does verrine come from "verre" + "vitrine"? ...for the idea behind a verrine is to see through the glass (verre) "window" (vitrine) to the colorful layers beyond); this time, Max had composed his verrine with layers of chopped surimi, whipped guacamole, la crême fraîche... topping off his entrée with salmon mousse and decorative dill!
I leave you with a view of Max's îles flottantes (little meringue islands floating on cream... ) Meantime I'll be practicing What You Say is What You Get (or the subconscious and the power of suggestion...):
"I can eat cream and stay sleem!
I can eat cream and stay sleem!"
(These days, I've noticed, my self-talk has a slight French accent....)
Meet-ups: We'd LOVE to see you!
Kristin will be in Paris on March 1st at Shakespeare and Company (Talk begins at 7 p.m.) Jean-Marc (only) will be in the Bay area next month and elsewhere in the States... meet him!
French Vocabulary & Sound File: listen to Jean-Marc pronounce these words
Download MP3 or Download WAV
J'adore la mousse au chocolat! I love chocolate mousse!
un écrivain = writer
Je suis écrivain = I am a writer
le cerveau = brain
la verrine = a layered entree or dessert served in a see-through glass
la crème anglaise = English cream, a custard sauce with vanilla or rhum
le saumon fumé = smoked salmon
le verre = glass
le surimi = imitation crab
la crème fraîche = sour cream
une île flottante = floating island
*Valley of the Sun = Phoenix, Arizona, my home town
A Message from Kristi: For twenty years now, support from readers like you has been an encouragement and a means to carve out a career in writing. If my work has touched you in any way, please consider a donation. Your gift keeps me going! Thank you very much.
Ways to contribute:
1. Send a check (to this new address)
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For more online reading: The Lost Gardens: A Story of Two Vineyards and a Sobriety