How to say "care package" in French?
Hound dog French: Pronunciation practice with my daughter


Green juice and Tomettes (c) Kristin Espinasse
Green Juice and Tomettes (tomettes, and not tomates!)

It's a rainy day in Bandol, a perfect morning for some pancrêpes. Instead, Jean-Marc and I are drinking green juice (this time with fennel--and it's dill-like leaves--bergamot lemon, ginger, pomme, and celery). We'll definitely have pancakes this weekend! Read on... Meantime, put your pancake tips here in the comments and we'll keep them in mind for the next batch!

pâte (pat)

  1. batter (mix), pastry; dough
  2. base (for pizza)pasta
  3. play dough
  4. pulp (wood) 

la pâte à crêpe = pancake batter
la pâte à modeler = playdough
la pâte à pain = bread dough

Expression: vivre comme un coq en pâte = to relax and enjoy life, to be very pleased with one's living circumstances, to be in clover 

Audio File
Listen to Jean-Marc pronounce the words, above, and the sentence, belowDownload MP3 or Wav file

Quels sont les ingrédients pour la pâte à pancakes?
What are the ingredients in pancake batter?

A DAY IN A FRENCH LIFE... by Kristin Espinasse

"Would you like me to go to the store and get ingredients for pancakes?" Jean-Marc is standing at the door to our room, a best-husband smile on his face.

Pancakes? What a complicated undertaking that was for this quiet and cozy morning. Why couldn't my husband just grab a couple cups of coffee and return to bed?

Well, if he wanted pancakes, he didn't have to go all the way to town.
"But we already have all the ingredients here," I point out. The informative tone of my voice tells Jean-Marc he might have first looked for the flour! 

"What's the recette for pancakes, then?" 

"But why don't you just make crêpes?" I suggest, not wanting to get all involved in the process of baking. Jean-Marc is an expert at crêpes. Why did he need to complicate things?

"Because I want pancakes! How much flour does it take?"

I sit up in our cozy bed. So much for a do-nothing Sunday morning. Jean-Marc would need a recipe, and for that he'd need me to get up and start searching for a cookbook.

...Then again, there was that Jamie Oliver recipe, the easy-to-remember one. I liked the one-two-three quality about it, like the fool-proof yogurt cake... only which number corresponded to which ingredient? How many cups of flour? Was it 2 eggs? And one of what? All these thoughts made me begin to grumble. 

Jean-Marc's patience was thinning, too. "It's a simple question, no need to pass by Australia, South Africa, and Chile to answer it!

He always says that when becoming defensive! But it is HE who has complicated things by involving me in the first place! 

"YOU are the one who's gone all the way to Chile by leaving the kitchen and coming this far to make your pancakes!

Harrumph! Throwing the covers aside, I follow the globe-trotter into the kitchen.


Standing beside Jean-Marc and the kitchen comptoir, I'm in pyjamas, he's wearing a raincoat. We are looking into a large mixing bowl, wondering whether or not to double the recipe. Suddenly, I am very hungry.

"Double-le," Jean-Marc decides.

As soon as we begin, I notice my husband's casual approach to cooking.

"But you didn't measure a full cup that time!" 

"Don't worry. Ça ira."

Doubtful, I hand over the poudre chimique

"What are you doing with the baking powder?!" Instead of dumping it in the center of the farine, in the "well", or trou, Jean-Marc is shaking it, ever so daintily, across the top of the flour. 

"Just dump it! There, in the center!"

Rather than rush him through the egg and butter stage, I quickly crack and measure them myself. 

"Je suis désolée, it's just that I don't have a lot of patience for these things... and I can't help but want to control things."

"Oh, si! Yes you have patience," Jean-Marc says, sweetly, stirring the pâte.

"Don't over stir...," I smile. "...just enough to wet the flour!"


I watch our 15-year-old daughter eat breakfast. "They're a cross between pancakes and crêpes," she notes, admiring the "starburst" pattern, as well (a happy accident. Our old sauteuse it so scraped up that the batter formed little jagged edges all around. Sun cakes!)

"Do you like them?"


"It was your Dad's idea. Wasn't that sweet?"

'Mmmhmm.Where'd he get the recipe?"

"Oh... in Chile!"


To comment, click here. Looking forward to more pancakes this weekend... or maybe tomorrow morning! Any tips? For buttermilk pancakes, have you tried the replacement (one TB of vinegar? Does it really work?). What types of flour do you use? Bacon grease or vegetable oil in the pan? And pancakes sans gluten? 

French Vocabulary

(click on the highlighted words to view the entries)

une recette = recipe
une crêpe = thin pancake
double-le = double it
ça ira = it'll do
la poudre chimique = baking powder
la farine = flour 
je suis désolé(e) = I'm sorry 

Bonne cuisine madame angeLa Bonne Cuisine de Madame Saint-Ange: The Original Companion for French Home Cooking. Order your copy here.




Jackie and Jean-Marc playing cards (c) Kristin Espinasse
Father and daughter playing cards, over the relaxing weekend. See the grape-cluster above Jackie? That is one of the gifts Caroline made. Click to enlarge the photo. Click here to comment.


Photo of a cabanon taken in Tulette. Marie-Françoise was here yesterday. Touring our new stomping grounds, she said, "come see..." She delicately lowered the branch of an almond tree, quizzing us about what we could see.... BUDS! Could it be that springtime is around the corner? And buds in your neighborhood?

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For more online reading: The Lost Gardens: A Story of Two Vineyards and a Sobriety