Oh, French. You and me have a troubled relationship. Barred from you in high school–parents made me take Spanish–I moved on. French, you’ve come tiptoeing in my life again. My problem is simple: French pronunciation kills me. I have a mental block, I try to pronounce French words the Spanish way, I think people will laugh at me.
It really wouldn’t be a big deal because on a day-to-day basis most people in California don’t speak or need to use French. However, several recent developments in my life have brought French-learning high on the list of things I need to do. I don’t need to be fluent, but I should know a few important words and phrases.
One reason I need to learn: I now have the tendency to travel to French speaking countries at least twice a year. Another reason: I now have friends whose first language is French. And that’s friends with an ‘s’, multiple friends. Who I speak to/email/facebook on a regular basis. They tell me, “Wendy, you don’t need to be embarrassed or shy. We won’t laugh at you. It’s better to try than not to try. etc etc”
And last, but not least: now that I’m cooking, eating, baking and generally involved in this food world there is a lot of French (duh). It makes me so incredibly happy when a phonetic pronunciation is provided, like in this week’s Tuesdays with Dorie selection: Raspberry Blanc-Manger. Dorie Greenspan, in the introduction to the recipe, provides the pronunciation right there in the 2nd paragraph–blah mahn jhay! I’ve been saying it all week. It’s fun to say. I want to go to restaurants and order it off a menu, just so I can say it. I do realize it’s not a very practical word to know how to say, but it is very fun.
A blanc-manger is a creamy gelatin dessert flavored with almonds. It was very easy to make, involved a whole slew of dishes, and I used sheet gelatin for the first time. Another first: trying fresh red currants. I saw them at the store and decided to use them in place of the raspberries. They made a very bright red coulis (another French word!).
Keeping with the French theme, I did a TWD rewind and made the French Chocolate Brownies to use as a base for mini-blanc mangers.
This summer I had to choose between taking conversational French at the University or taking S.C.U.B.A lessons to finish my certification. I chose S.C.U.B.A. When I go back to French Polynesia in November, I’ll be a certified diver who is slowly make progress in the French language.