la panne

tribute to reader Gus + Bonnes résolutions du Nouvel An

Fanny at Chez Panisse - a book by Alice Waters
A Francophile might like this book cover, and a foodie or kid-at-heart might enjoy the content. Read the reviews for Fanny at Chez Panisse here. Meantime, learn about another panisse in today's column, a tribute to Gus Elison!

Bonnes résolutions du Nouvel An

    : new year's resolutions

Audio File: our son, Max, just woke up and I talked him into helping me record today's sound file (after my own attempt to pronounce the French words might have misled a language learner! Listen to 17-year-old Max: Download MP3 or Wave file
(Did you want to hear my version? You did didn't you?: Download MP3 or Download Wav)

Quelles sont vos bonnes résolutions du Nouvel An?
What are your new year's resolutions? 

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

I did not plan on making a list of new year's resolutions until, tout naturellement, a list began to form....

More Deep Belly Laughter

It was while stumbling onto a video that made my sides split with laughter that I realized DAILY LAUGHTER was a perfect goal. To fully appreciate the video, you'd have to be someone who, like me, got a little freaked out about GMOs last year, had a health scare/surgical snafu and decided to learn more about raw foods, followed a few too many juice guru videos... and ended up able to laugh about it all (...and still make le jus vert for Jean-Marc and myself each morning!)

Goal Number 2 Trust Your inner cuistot! 

Then, yesterday, New Year's Day, I set out to make the chickpea flour-based "winter farinata" (La Cucina di Terresa's) when a change of plans led to an innovative, au pif moment... and I began to accidentally make a southern French savory side dish: les panisses! I'll be frying those up for Max and me at lunchtime (tant pis for Jean-Marc and Jackie, who are away!), and may share the recipe (or a video?). I've got some leftover salmon that I'll spread on top, and some miam miam good confiture d'oignon that a lovely teacher, Youlia, from the Ukraine, offered me on New Year's eve (she had spread her homemade onion jam on top of foie gras, for a sweet/savory combination). 

Goal Three: Bring Joy into another's Life

The most recent new year's goal came after receiving this touching letter, from a reader's daughter:

Dear Kristin,

We both admire a special man. His name is Gus Elison, he is my Dad. On January 2, 1925 he became the oldest of three children. Because of the economy and being so close to Christmas, Dad never had a real Birthday Party. That is until 2013. Kristin, you have meant the world to my Dad, will you help me with a request to have Birthday Wishes from around the world? 

Dad means the world to me, and he is that rare breed of man that has made this world a better place.

Thank you for bringing joy into his life,

Mary Gotz

Thank you, Mary, for letting us know about Gus's 88th birthday today. Bon anniversaire, Gus!

To anyone reading, please join me now in sending greetings and birthday wishes to this venerable member of our French Word-A-Day family: Gus Elison.

Click here to write your birthday wishes to Gus in the comments box.

More about Gus:

=> We first learned about Gus after my mom selected him among nearly 2000 entrants for the antique key giveaway. Do not miss both Mom's and Gus's (original comment) here

=> Next, we met his lovely French wife, Paulette, and saw these photos.

=> What a surprise when Gus and Paulette came to visit me in France, and introduced us to the beautiful Jeanne.

=> Another member of our French Word-A-Day family, Herm, wrote a special poem for Gus. Herm, if you are reading, could you please post that poem in the comments box?


Thanks again for leaving Gus Elison a birthday wish. Click here to share your message


tout naturellement = very naturally

le jus vert = green juice 

le cuistot = a cook

au pif = to cook by guesswork (pif = slang for "nose"), to eyeball it (when measuring), to play it by ear

tant pis = too bad, tough luck! 

miam miam = yum yum

la confiture d'oignon = onion jam

bon anniversaire, or "bon anniv" for short :-) = happy birthday

Thanks for sharing French Word-A-Day with a friend, classmate, teacher, family member or anyone who loves France!

A Message from KristiFor 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
2. Paypal or credit card
3. A bank transfer via Zelle, a great way to send your donation as there are no transaction fees.

Or purchase my book for a friend, and so help spread the French word.
For more online reading: The Lost Gardens: A Story of Two Vineyards and a Sobriety