Monthly Archives: December 2012

On pronunciation and the proper way to eat a brownie.

kid brownie

{I don’t know this kid, but I know she knows how to eat a brownie.}

Any of my fellow compatriots who (still) think the French don’t really like us should come to France and see for themselves. The French love America! They listen to our music, they eat under golden arches (admit it, Frenchies, you adore “MacDo”), they speak our language.

Maybe I should rephrase that. Sure, every French person speaks English nowadays, but they also adopt our words when speaking their own language.

I particularly like the food vocabulary that has become increasingly trendy lately. I first noticed it when my friend Hélène opened up her cookie shop in Dijon and I started hearing sentences like, “I’d like one chocolate chip cookies, please.” Apparently, all cookies are plural here. Hélène also sells oh-so-American muffins, which sounds something like “meuhfeens.” A new “American restaurant” just popped up in town. They feature “bayGUHLS” and propose “Looky Charm” cereal for dessert (quelle horreur!).

I’m getting reasonably good at understanding French, but when they use our words and pronounce them their way, it always throws me for a loop.

sweet teeth

A couple days ago, a group of us was at the boulangerie grabbing some “sondweech” for a quick lunch. Victor ordered a “brohnie” for dessert and then asked me if I liked them. I had no idea what he was talking about.

“You know, a brohnie,” he said. “It’s American.”

“Oh! A brownie,” I said.

“Oh, A BROWNie,” Estelle teased, with spot-on American pronunciation. “You always say, ‘oh!’ whenever you recognize an American word.”

“Yea, because when I am listening to French all day, I guess my mind is constantly trying to translate, and then when it hears an American word — pronounced differently — it gets confused.”

We paid for our lunches and made our way back to school for a “pique-nique.”  When we had finished our “sondweech” and were moving on to dessert, Victor pulled out a spoon. I couldn’t help but giggle.

“You’re going to eat your brownie with a spoon?” I asked.

“Is that not the way I’m supposed to eat it?” Victor replied.

“Eat it however you want, but may I take a picture?”

Brownie{Clearly not the American way to eat a brownie)



Filed under Culture, Food, Just for laughs, Language

Life in Images: Hospices de Beaune


I won’t go so far as to say it was a homework assignment. Suffice it to say that the annual charity auction at the Hospices de Beaune was understood to be a cultural supplement to our coursework. Basically, I had to go take part in the festivities.

The Hospices de Beaune used to be a hospital for the poor. As in, back in the 1400’s, when it was founded. Now it is a museum (and one of the most magnificent examples of French XV century architecture in Burgundy). The charity auction has been held annually since 1851, always on the third Sunday of November.

The Hospices’ eponymous domaine comprises 61 hectares (150 acres) of donated vineyard land, much of it classified Grand Cru and Premier Cru.

The prices – encouraged by carefully chosen hosts, like this year’s former first lady and ex-supermodel Carla Bruni-Sarkozy – are out of this world, even for Grand Cru. Carla sold the presidential cuvée (a 350 liter barrel) for 270,000 euros, for example.

Nicolas and I ran into more than a few members of my class during the day, but, try as we might, we didn’t spot Carla. (Let’s be real: after thirty minutes of elbowing at the window of the auction hall, we retreated in search of Nutella slathered crêpes and waffles.)

One thing is for sure: the people-watching was prime.

So was the wine tasting…of course!

2012-11-16 Hospices de Beaune

IMG_1056{Doing a little publicity work for MyVitibox.}



IMG_1049{The “Anti-Parker Wine Buyer’s Guide”: The Seven Capital Sins…obviously there are mixed feelings about Parker here, as in the USA.}



IMG_1012{Cougar sighting?}




Filed under Culture, Photography, Wine