la honte!
Bonne fete des meres

la goutte

Abandoned Beauty (c) Kristin Espinasse

Beauty in abandoned places. Beside the bricked-in, condemned windows, a random poppy bouquet, born in the cracks of concrete. Photo taken in Bollène (Vaucluse) (with a handy pocket camera I'm using a lot these days (click here for more info)

la goutte (goot)

    : gout

Note: our family is about to begin bottling wine now (see story, below)... no time to go on... but there are other meanings for today's word, goutte. See some related terms and expressions here!

Audio File: Listen to Jean-Marc pronounce the following words (Download MP3 or Wav file)

Cette fois-ci, j'avais une crise de goutte dans la main.  This time, I had a gout attack in my hand.


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

A Farmer is Never Hors Service (Even When His Limbs are!)

Today we will bottle 12,000 units of our Domaine Rouge-Bleu wine! Adding to the excitement and chaos is a surprise visit from my husband's pire enemi: la GOUTTE! 

Yes, gout! Jean-Marc has suffered from the "kind of arthritis" for the last 15 years. (It runs in his family.) The attacks, which are usually concentrated on the foot area, always strike at the most inopportune moments--just before a road trip (so that driving is out of the question) or just before an important mise en bouteilles--such as today's!

And so it is that Chief Grape is partly hors service (given that his hand has doubled in size, painfully so, after this latest attack). Thankfully, Uncle Jacques stopped by to help prepare the area for the bottling. And now that Max is a buff (time to embarrass our teens again, la honte!) almost-16-year-old, he is able to be an even more dependable main droite for his father.

Meantime, The Chief is doing what he can to speed up the healing process: he's asked me to help apply an argile, or clay, emplâtre to diminish the swelling in his hand. To cover the wet clay, we made a cutout from a bag of Harry's American Bread (those of you living in France will recognize the colorful packaging!). 

The homemade cast was tied together with some elastic string normally used in training our baby vines. And, speaking of entrainment, Chief Grape's hand, trussed this way, has a certain "punch" to it... wouldn't you say?


P.S. What, you may be wondering, sets off one of these gout attacks? Though wine is most often cited, for Jean-Marc les asperges is another pire ennemi! And, this time of year, they are everywhere, those menacing green spears! (Hidden in soups, unrevealed in risotto...) 

Le Coin Commentaires
Comments are welcome here, in the comments box. Thanks in advance! 

                                      Chief Grape, multitasking.

 French Vocabulary

hors service = out of service

pire ennemi = worst enemy

la mise en bouteille = wine bottling

la main droite = right-hand man, woman

l'argile (f) = clay (click here for story)

emplâtre (m) = plaster (medical)

l'entrainement (m) = training

les asperges (f,pl) = asparagus

also: les pointes d'asperges  = asparagus tips



Smokey (standing next to me as I photograph his mama, Braise), says:

"Her eyes were closed. Could you please take another?"

Me: "Of course Smokey-Dear. And good of you to look out for your beautiful mom!"

Smokey: N'est-ce pas qu'elle est belle, ma maman? (Ain't she purdy, my mama?)

Exercises in French Phonics Exercises in French Phonics bestseller on French pronunciation and how to pronouce French words correctly! (click here)


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Glenn and Linda from St. Paul

Kristen and Jean-Marc--

Thank you for your gracious welcome yesterday. We had a wonderful time visiting you and seeing the terroir that informs your blog (and the wine, bien sûr). We are thinking of you today and all those pallets of empty wine bottles in the driveway, waiting to be filled. We hope the swelling in Jean-Marc's hand subsides soon and the bottling is completed without mishap.

À nouveau, nous vous remercions. C'était très gentil de votre part de nous accueiller avec une tellement gentillesse.

À la prochaine (nous espérons)...

Glenn from St. Paul

Oops, I misspelled your name, Kristin. Acceptez mes excuses.

angela billows

Sounds like the attacks happen when he's worried about getting something done (driving, bottling!)and it also seems like your dogs never leave your side! How lovely to have two handsome dogs like that around you at all times!


So sorry to hear about Jean-Marc. What unfortunate timing! Sending good thoughts across the big pond for quick healing so that he'll be back out among the vines very soon!


OK sorry about the above link (house in the Oval, it belongs to my site host) Can I comment again using the correct link and can you erase the earlier one? Thanks!

Phyllis Morton

Hi Kristin. I understand Jean-Marc's pain as I had gout at one time as a side effect of medication that I was on. Not fun!!

Karen W  (Towson, Maryland)

Poor J.M.. It's been quite a time he's has lately. I agree with Angela in that it does also sound somewhat stress related. I had an attack of shingles when my mother passed away. It left me with permanent nerve damage in my knee.

I thought salt had something to do with gout, too.

I'm trying to figure how out the others uses of "goutte" having to do with "draining" translated over to this malady. Maybe what J.M. has needs to be drained?! AhHA!

Amber, Peoria IL

So happy to hear the kidneys are ok....but if it's not one thing, it's always another!
Bon Chance! We're all sending healing thoughts your way.

Renee Burch Baxley


Ophelia in Nashville

Jean-Marc seems way too young and too vigorous to suffer from la goutte. Ce n'est pas juste. I think Renee's recipe above looks worth a try.

We also send healing thoughts your way, and thank heavens for Max. I have no doubt that he is an able and super help to his dad.

Bon courage à vous tous.


A short course of oral steroids and a prescription for a daily medication like allopurinol should help him. He might want to see his doctor as this is such a debilitatingly painful problem. (Not to be a buttinsky, just to offer some unsolicited advice, which is very, very similar to butting in ;)).


Poor Jean-Marc! He has had a bad time lately. Wishing him a speedy recovery.

Your pictures of the canine companions always brighten my day.

Jules Greer

This could be a day to be remembered - a 'walkabout of sorts for MAX. I would like to see if JM has the courage to turn Max loose.
Take lots of photo's of Max.



Tom from Detroit

Kristin, I have no traditional home remedies to offer for Jean-Marc's maladies, and I am so sorry he's suffering, however, I had to chuckle at the comment regarding his "multi-tasking". In the photo he seems pretty much at ease, allongé, with iphone in hand...this seems rather like solo tasking to me!! :-)

Suzanne, Monroe Twp., NJ

I had no idea that gout was a form of arthritis! As a sufferer of severe osteoarthritis with arthritic flares I do sympathize with Jean-Marc. My future will include knuckle replacements eventually. Please tell JM I sympathize with him because of the pain and because I love asparagus which is available now at the roadside farm stands in New Jersey.

Braise est tres Jolie. Merci, Smokey and of course, Kristi.


Oh, poor Jean-Marc. First the biopsy and now this. I hope he is feeling better soon. Those darn bodies of ours have minds of their own. (So to speak!)

Jan in Colorado

So sorry to hear of Jean-Marc's latest challenge--hope it's very short-lived. Timing is everything, n'est-ce pas? Amazing how life throws you a curve at just the wrong time but I'm sure you'll all rally together to get the job done! Wish I could help!


@Therese, I too have heard of this daily medication that prevents gout. I have a friend who suffered with it until starting this medication, and hasn't had an episode in over a decade. I have no idea of side effects, etc., but feel it's worth looking into.

Bruce Taylor

As a regular user of Alopurinol I can attest to its effectiveness. I'm on a regimen of 300mg each day and it does control my body's uric acid output. Every now and again, when an attack occurs (usually from eating shrimp, sometimes too much beer, etc.) I take Ketorolac or Arthrotec for the pain and to control the swelling. Prescription drugs, both but many anti-inflammatories help. Good luck - see you June 14th to pick up our annual supply of wine for our peniche, Rival.


I hope Jean-marc's feeling better soon. As well, I hope Max enjoy's 'Chief Grape in training' time :)

Shelley Longmire

I send wishes of a speedy recovery also to Jean-Marc. This is my second post to your site after just less than a year of following and enjoying reading french-word-a-day regularly. The first comment I made was to reveal the fact that my husband and I had just found out about a job opportunity in France for him and the dream has come true of living here for a mere 6 months. That dream is into its 2nd month, We love it more than we thought we would. We will be coming to Provence next weekend (Thursday afternoon the 12 th through Sunday morning the 15th) and I'm not sure if this is enough warning to reserve any time for a quick stop. We will be staying less than an hour's drive from where you are located. Would love to come for a brief visit and buy a bottle or two of your wine at your convenience. We hale from New Mexico and look forward to our first Provence visit. Merci.


Well, that is a new one for me, that asparagus can cause gout. I knew there was a reason I did not like the green spears!

Mary G

My husband has found that drinking black cherry juice is helpful when a gout attack occurs. Don't know why, maybe something along the line of the vinegar someone else recommended. Hope Jean-Marc is feeling better soon.


I love your posts--always lighten my day. Oh, those food sensitivities; hope that the hand is healing quickly. Blessings for the bottling.

Kristin Espinasse

Thanks for the helpful tips. I'll see about stocking up on apple cider vinegar (I have a bottle from back when Herm recommended it...) and the cherry juice! Jean-Marc takes Colchimax - not sure if it's related to the Alopurinol mentionned here.

All 12,000 bottles (and several magnums!) are now in stock. Glenn and Linda, thanks for your message - it was lovely to see you yesterday -- along with Joyce and Ross. Thank you for all the wine you purchased!

Bill in St Paul will be here soon. Shelley, I'll contact you and we'll find a good time to visit -- perhaps when Bill is here? It's fun to have a mini-meetup.

Mom, after seeing your note, I took your tip and brought my camera back to the bottling truck for a few snapshots of Max. He did great -- sharing the work with Jackie. We worked from 9-6 pm. Jean-Marc managed to steer the tractor (which lifted the bottles on and off the truck) with only one hand! In all, it took 9 people to bottle the 12k units (three people from the bottling company and two temp workers from the city of Orange).

Therese, you may "butinsky" whenever you please - we appreciate your ideas!

Tom, MDR (LOL), solotasking it is!

Suzanne, so sorry - I didn't realize you suffered from osteoarthritis! I can only imagine the pain (Jean-Marc cries out in anguish!)

Bruce, looking forward to seeing you June 14th -- Gary and Lou will be here as well!


Ok here's another antidote..coconut oil..I was taking it for other reasons and my husband began taking a tbl a day when miraculously is gout pain left..stopped taking it to have the pain return..a week after starting back with coconut oil the pain is gone..he was at the point of drs. glad we discovered this remedy..Bon Chance

Lee Isbell

Echoing Tom's comments, I'm sorry for Jean-Marc's pain but had a hearty chuckle over multitasking.

Derin Gemignani

Kristen and Jean-Marc,
My husband used to have recurring bouts of gout until he went to see a doctor. Gout, they have come to find out, is a build up of uric acid in the blood, a compound that is found in all kinds of things we eat and drink. Wine was not on this list, but beer was. And all kinds of vegetables, which I can't remember.
My husband takes medicine for this, has for several years, and since he began it, he has not had an attack since then.
Jean-Marc might want to consult his doctor about this drug.
It is no fun, I know. Hope he gets well soon,
Derin Gemignani

Karen from Phoenix, AZ

I hope Jean-Marc is better real soon.

I love the picture of Braise with her eyes closed, she looks as though
she is meditating! So sweet.

Julie Schorr

So sorry to read about Jean-Marc's hand. I hope he is better quickly. The timing is not good for him. I am guessing it must be stress related. Take good care, all of you!


......yep and it is true: it is uric acid that causes gout. AND malheureusement asperges has oodles of it. As does beer and tomatoes and a host of other delish things. So sorry to hear about it, it must be painful.


Bonjour Kristin:
Pauvre Jean Marc avec ses récents ennuis! J'espère qu'il va bientot se remettre!
On the other hand, maybe it is a good time for Max to get the early training.
Bon courage, Jean Marc!


Asperge, nom feminin sans S d'une plante potagere. Pour asperges, avec S, c'est LES asperges, n'est-ce pas?

Holly K

My hubby has gout, too. We find it gets aggravated by stress and can be prevented by eating dried cherries. He uses Allopurinol and Colchicine but finds the cherries actually work better. We use concentrated cherry juice we can buy locally here in Michigan cherry country and dried cherries that I add to everything, his am oatmeal, bread, brownies, cookies, etc! Huge improvement! Try adding the cherries when you know some stressful event is coming up. Avoid beer, asparagus and any other triggers he's aware of. Nitrites in meat really set my husband off. We use nitrite free hams and bacons and have seen a big improvement. Good Luck!

Sharon Howard

Dear Kristin: My husband has had periodic bouts of gout as well of the years. He gets immediate relief from the medication Prednisone. There is another medication commonly prescribed in US as well, the name I've forgotten. Our doctor friend suggests that recurring bouts be avoided by taking on an ongoing basis a prescription of a medication that prevents it. I've forgotten the name of that, but we know a couple friends who take it regularly and never have recurring episodes. Best wishes to all.

Sharon Howard

More-- The name of the drug I couldn't recall is allopurinal. Here is the information about medications to prevent future gout attacks from the Mayo Clinic website

If you experience several gout attacks each year or if your gout attacks are less frequent but particularly painful, your doctor may recommend medication to reduce your risk of future gout attacks and of gout-related complications.

You usually begin taking preventive medications once your acute gout attack has subsided. Options include:

Low-dose NSAIDs
Low-dose colchicine
Allopurinol or febuxostat

Jennifer in OR

Asparagus, who knew? So sorry, especially the timing of the flare-up. Cheers to J-M (raising a glass of apple-cider vinegar!).

zandra m.

I have La Goutte as well and have learned from the medical community that is is a long held but incorrect belief that food and drink is the cause. My understanding is that the body is not processing ureac (sp?)acid properly and the flares are when one's ureac (sp)acid level is elevated. It is diagnosed with a blood test. If one has had more than two flares in a year, it is recommended to start medication (allopurinol). It is a misnomer that it can be controlled by changing or eliminating foods from one's diet... It is hereditary...Hope this helps

Susan from Oakton

Yes, it's CHERRIES to the rescue. Our American friend who had a gout attack in Burgandy was told by the French Doc that he had 2 choices: expensive medicine with potential side effects, lots of fresh cherries. Cherries did the trick, and no more attacks. Le pauvre...tell him we all are pulling for him!

Stacy, Applegate, Oregon

So sorry to hear of Jean Marc's gout --- ouch! What a life saver to have Max and Jackie step in. Hope the bottling went smoothly and may Jean Marc heal quickly!

I adore the photo of your lovely Braise. Thanks for the camera tip. My first digital and current camera is a Lumix. Might be time to step up to a new one ~ will it make my photos as beautiful as yours? xoxo

P.s. I hear a lot of good about apple cider vinegar and not only take it myself, but also give it to the horses and chickens.

lou bogue

Hi ,sorrry to see Jean-marc in pain, trust some of the remedies, being offered from your followers will help but the one about stress, probably hits the mark, what with the bottlin and waiting for the results of the biopsy,puts a weight on the system but being the strong person he is,all things will clear up over time, I will be coming back to France next Sept., will drop by to say Hello, if you are short handed will put in a few days, Best to all, Love Lou


The lovely pattern of bricks seems a much better way to cover the windows of an abandoned building than the ugly plywood that traditionally covers the windows and doors of such places in the U.S. I like your photo.


Hi Kristin,

Therese, Derin and Sharon have offered excellent advice.

Given that Jean-Marc is in the middle of an acute attack- the hallmarks of which are severe inflammation, balloon swelling and absolutely agonizing pain- he really needs a week-long, tapering dose of PREDNISONE.

Colchicine and Allopurinol are great in low doses on a regular basis to stave off /prevent future attacks, but only the Prednisone will be effective and fast-acting in reducing the inflammation and eliminating the pain.

Here's hoping JeanMarc's doctor sees him on an emergency basis and prescribes those Rx's to help him recover quickly!

All the best,
Trish and JeanClaude

Jacqueline Brisbane)

Les asperges (not l'asperges)


My husband had gout for several years. It started when he was in prep school and it finally ended when he started practicing law. Maybe he scared it away. LOL He took medication for it and he finally stopped getting it. Here is a web site to check out.
Poor jean-Marc. My husband took Allopurinol (Zyloprin).

I so much enjoy your postings

Chère amie,
I so much enjoy your site and the postings---what a marvelous way of learning and teaching! "Les asperges" are usually a very good tonic as they help eliminate toxins from the body by getting the bladder to release more water. So although only "une petite asperge" could not do too much, I use blanched asperagus in soups and risottos, or just tossed with toasted sesame seed oil, or quickly blanched and tossed with olive oil and fresh lemon juice, especially after having to take medications and/or antibiotics, because it precisely promotes excretion of uric acid and toxins.... the above treatment with apple cider vinegar in luke warm really works---and also to help with arthritis, a spoon full of cinnamon in honey a day reduces pain and flareups, and is well known. Stress can set off so many triggers...I hope your chief will soon feel better.
Meilleures pensées,
Angélique Droessaert ( a regular visitor to the Provence---only 3 more months and i will be back!!!!)

Paul Heffron

Hi Kristin, Like Bruce I've been taking allopurinal for gout and kidney stones, and haven't had an attack of either since. I do know someone who is allergic to allopurinal and has a very restrictive vegetarian diet to compensate for the lack of the drug. Is
there any reason why JM shouldn't take allopurinal? Best regards, Paul


Glad to hear the bottling is successfully completed! Hope Chief Grape feels better soon!

Jules Greer

My Dearest Jean-Marc,

It is so hard to believe you are in such pain when you look so handsome and beautiful on your couch - but I know you are. I am so sorry you have to suffer with this problem. I am so impressed by all of the caring notes from your friends in the posts above, I guess it's time for you (and me) to take this ailment more seriously and follow all of these wonderful suggestions.

I love you Honey - I know you are hurting.




Kristin, How unfair for Jean-Marc after everything else recently. My husband suffered from gout badly, usually triggered by his much beloved shell fish, which he will never give up. He tried a number of home cures including the cider vinegar, which did help manage the flare-ups a little. A few years ago, he had a quadruple bipass and two days after we got him home, his gout flared up so badly (aggravated by the surgery!) that it caused him more pain than the open-heart surgery recovery!! Now that's bad. Ever since he's been on Allopurinol and he has never had a problem with gout since - and he consumes a lot of shell fish AND asparagus! Bon chance!

Mary Todd

Kristin, I hope Jean-Marc is feeling much better. When I read that he has gout, too, I thought, "There's some kind of connection between gout and kidney function." Looks like the doctors are keeping an eye on his kidneys. Prayers for all to be well. Blessings from your friend in Rocky Mount, NC.

Doris  Hullett

Hi Kristin,

You have a beautiful and very inspiring blog!
I hope to one day (sooner than later!) visit France, so your blog is refreshing for learning.

Thanks again!
Doris Hullett


My grandfather suffered from gout. A native american remedy was used.Slice up cucumbers and apply to infected area (wrapped like a poltice). Just lie using slices of onions wrapped around your feet to draw out a flu or cold. A poltice of thinly sliced potatoes covered by a cod rag will get rid of a headache. Look for Homopathic remedies. If he becomes grumpy give him chocolate cake or macaroons from Laudree asap.

Heinz Rainer

one blog I would not miss. Well written, great subject. As one who visit France fro the past twenty five years, especially so. It seems you found the right spot and we are grateful. Subscribed to your blog. Look forward to read more. Pls accept my appreciation (this is our tea love story). Merci et a bientot, Heinz
P.S.: some pictures from the South of France, hope you like them

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