A few good words

July 15, 2010 at 1:40 PM | Posted in Paris 2010 | 1 Comment

Anyone who knows me knows that my love for words runs deep. And that’s why, despite all my frustrations with the intricacies of French, I really do love it, because it is expressive in a way that is at once eloquent and succinct. And it can also be pretty hilarious. To wit, here are my current favorite words and expressions (most of them I learn in the cafeteria at lunch with my colleagues, which explains why they are largely lunch-related):

  • “L’heure bleu”: Literally “the blue hour,” it refers to the time between dusk and night when the sky is a deep…well…blue
  • “Grosse matinée”: Literally “a fat morning,” it means a day that has a slow start
  • “Baba cool”: A hippie
  • “Blé”: Mealy like a bad peach, but it literally means “floury”
  • “Fade”: Food that’s bland. I like to think of it as “faded flavors”
  • “Bricoler”: to throw together, as in, the process of dredging up a bunch of random food and somehow turning it into dinner. The reason I like this word is because of its relationship to the word “bricolage,” which is a store that sells all kinds of random crap. In one small word, it perfectly captures the process of trying to turn the contents of the fridge into something cohesive. This came up at lunch today because Michael, the intern and functionally the research unit’s little brother, is one of those tall, skinny boys who can eat an entire baguette smeared with a container of pâté and wash it down with an apple crumble meant for four people (yes, I am aware of all the hilarious French stereotypes in that sentence). He has a habit of making a whole box of pasta for lunch and throwing in all kinds of random things–one memorable day, it was tripe. We always peer into his Tupperware to see what the latest creation is, and usually it is cause for a few laughs. Today, it looked like a box of spaghetti with a side of…pureed carrots? Actually, it was pasta with pureed sweet potatoes. When I asked him what it was, he shrugged and said, “J’ai bricolé ” Literally, “I threw a bunch of miscellaneous things together.”

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  1. the other term I use is “garde Mange”..surely spelled incorrectly but it too means usnign the sh–up in the fridge..p

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