affolement & Recipe for Zucchini and Potato Gratin


"Cruisin'" (c) Kristin Espinasse
Two things I love about Italy (see the second in today's story...)

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clandestin(e) [klhon deh sten (steen)] noun

: stowaway

(adjective: underground, secret, illicit)

Example Sentence & Audio File:  Download WAV or MP3

Au retour de Sicile, les enfants ont découvert quelques clandestins dans la voiture! On the way back from Sicily, the kids discovered a few stowaways in the car!

A Day in a French Life... by Kristin Espinasse

On our long drive home from Sicily, Max and Jackie moaned and slapped at their arms and their knees. Ça pue et il y a des bêtes! It stinks and has bugs!

The kids were complaining about a couple of stowaways with which they had to share the back seat.

DSC_0016Jackie wrinkled her nose and Max leaned far away from the pest-ridden, poussièreux passengers, but the kids' theatrics did not win them any sympathy from the driver.

DSC_0014 "Your mom would like to keep those chairs," he said, of the cobwebbed clandestins

There, in the front seat, I heaved a sigh of relief. It looked as if those throwaway stowaways were truly mine to keep! I had not sorted through the Sicilian trash bins pour rien, had not tippy-toed past the broken glass, lifted the tossed toilet seat, the rotten tomatoes, and the rancid meat only to have to return the chairs to the trash heap.

Through a cloud of flies I had not in vain tried to save three rustic lives. But there was no way of saving us now from the stench coming from the back of the car....

"And your mom would like to keep the cabbage..." he explained, referring to the 7-day-old chou (one of the many garden gifts from our landlord, and while it was easy to know how to prepare the eggplants—as for that smelly chou... what to do, what to do?).


Home on the range... a temporary cover for the chairs until I figure out how to saw wood for some new seats. Wish I'd paid more attention in 7th-grade carpentry class.

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French Vocabulary

ça pue et il y a des bêtes! = it stinks and there are bugs!
poussiéreux (poussiéreuse) = dusty, dust-like
clandestin (m/f) = stowaway
pour rien = for nothing
le chou = cabbage



Finding one of the chairs....

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