Thursday, April 13, 2006

Hey, it's Thursday, huh?

And time is going by pretty quick. Went out with Brian a few times this past week which was fun, last night to a cute classic kind of bistro in the 6th called Aux Charpentiers. A couple of pictures soon to come.
Been making some product in class the past few days: apricot tarts, chocolate tarts, apple tarts, apple chaussons (turnovers with puff pastry), brioche in different shapes, eclairs, vol-au-vents, a few basic fillings, etc. At this point what we're doing is pretty easy for me (well, obviously-- it's only the second week), but it feels good to learn the basic techniques again, which are in many cases better than what I have been doing. I'm finding bad habits I hadn't realized I had. For example, I'm trying to hold my pastry bag differently, in a way that makes more sense.

And the language is becoming more discernable... the seemingly formless flurry of sound is starting to crystallize. I'm trying to talk to the French people in class a lot, although I do frequently fall back on speaking english. I had a good conversation in French at lunch yesterday with a Korean woman in my class, which was kind of funny because she and I usually talk to each other in english (in which she is fluent). I've been cultivating a new, somewhat primitive, ability to joke around in French, too. Simple, well placed sarcastic comments can make an especially big splash when offered by us foreigners. It makes every cheesy saying seem like an inside joke, I'm not sure why. Think about it, isn't it always funnier when something intentionally stupid gets said by someone with an accent, especially when you know they don't speak english fluently (or maybe even hardy at all)? I'd like to know why that is. Maybe it's just so much better because you know they're trying, as best they know how, to simply share a funny moment with you. A minimum of spoken language can really be used to tremendous effect.
French tip of the day: if you mispronounce the word for whisk, you're probably saying what sounds like a conjugation for a slangy verb that means "to stink" ("Could you hand me the stinks? Should I stinks the cream?"). The word is "fouet," pronounced "foo-ay" not "foo-ET." On a similar note, a "hook" (as in dough hook attachment, or any type of hook) is a "crochet," and therefore Captain Hook for Peter Pan is indeed known in the francophone world as Capitaine Crochet.

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