For French Fridays today, I’m sharing a book that I love about two things I love – the French language and French food. Not a novel, not a phrase book but a book about language with stories (and lessons) intertwined with useful (and interesting) turns of phrase and expressions. Pretty much a language and food lover’s dream!
If you were ever in doubt about the importance of food in French culture, you only have to take a look at the language which is dotted with food-related expressions. If you’re fascinated by language and love food like I am, a must-read is Clotilde Dusoulier’s Edible French: Tasty Expressions and Cultural Bites. Clotilde is the author of one of the first blogs I ever read (and which I still enjoy today), Chocolate & Zucchini and I am a huge fan of her writing, especially The French Market Cookbook, (we even have a copy at our vacation rental property in France!). Edible French is very different from all her other books, as it’s not a cookbook (though it does include a few simple recipes) but if you’re a keen student of French (or you just love the French language) you’ll adore this book which offers explanations of 50 of France’s most popular food-related expressions.
What started as a series of posts on Chocolate & Zucchini (born out of discovering some French expressions related to food printed on a restaurant menu and finding it fascinating and fodder for much discussion) is now a beautiful book featuring whimsical watercolour illustrations by Mélina Josserand. Each expression is illustrated and translated directly and then written how we would actually say the expression in English (as I tell my student, word-for-word translation doesn’t work so well all the time!). Clotilde offers information about the history of the expressions as well as examples when it would be appropriately used and finally, in-context examples. Throughout the book, there are simple recipes, riddles and stories which help you understand just how important food is in French culture – it’s so deeply intertwined with so many everyday expressions! It’s a book you can pick up and read a few pages at a time – you definitely don’t need to read it in order – but I read the entire thing in one sitting. That said, it’s a book I keep coming back to if I want to refresh my memory or double check something. Or, just to read and enjoy. French food and language? It’s a match made in heaven!
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