Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Two loves, united.

As you all know by now, I love France. This love started as a sort of pining, probably around the time I started taking after-school French lessons in the first grade. In those lessons, we learned, among other things, to count to ten by memorizing stories. For example, for un, deux, trois, quatre, cinq, we learned the following story:

"One day, a cat wanted to cross a river, but didn't think it could swim across. A snake named Trois, resting in the branches of a tree on the opposite bank of the river, convinced the cat it could swim across easily. The cat believed Trois, began to swim, and sank. Repeat after me: Under Trois, Cat sank."

Lovely, non?

And yet, despite this gory tale, my love of France and the French language persisted and flourishes to this day, fueled in part by an ever-growing love of French cuisine. It's only natural, then, that the food-based French idioms Clotilde Dusoulier shares on Chocolate & Zucchini each week have me entranced. They combine a few of my favorite things. A few choice phrases:

"Aller à quelqu'un comme un tablier à une vache." Literally, "like an apron suits a cow," it's used to describe something that is bizarre or simply unbecoming on a person.

"Le ver est dans le fruit." Literally, "the worm is in the fruit," it means "the damage is already done," but it's so much more poetic.

Go check out the whole list, and let me know which ones are your favorites!


Erin said...

One my host mother taught me during a semester in Paris: "Il veut la creme du beurre." Literally, "He wants the cream from the butter." Said of someone who demands too much...if I recall correctly. :)
(Another construction (not an idiom, oops) I love is the pronoun + "beau" + verb construction, which gives you something like "in vain," but before the verb and with such a nice touch--i.e., "On a beau essaye d'y aller," "We tried to go, but couldn't." But the "beau" = "in vain" part cracks me up. :) )

Meg Blocker said...

I LOVE it! Those are both fantastic, Erin!

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