Sunday, August 27, 2006

Targeted Learning

Me: If you hate French class so much, why are you taking it?
Friend: I thought that since French food is so good, maybe the language would be good too.

Sadly, he did not find the language lived up to the cuisine.

The last time I formally took French I was in preschool. We'd sit in a circle on the classroom floor and go through flashcards filled with objects, not a single one of which I remember today. My more useful French education took place over time, dining at restaurants, which, wanting to be either pretentious or authentic, would fill their menus with the likes of canard, poulet, poisson, agneau, moule, ouef, haricot vert, and of course, pommes frites.

When I finally had the opportunity to visit Chembuddy in Paris a few years back, I found myself completely reliant upon my friend for translating in all circumstances save one, the restaurant. For our first meal she took me to Pause Cafe. I was already overwhelmed by Paris sights and sounds, sleep-deprived and jet-lagged, I picked-up the menu and actually understood what I was looking at. To be sure, some of the subtleties of the preparations escaped me, but I was able to navigate the menu with surprising ease. We settled into a table at the noisy corner bistro for an early supper, and so began our days of two hour lunches and three hour dinners.

2 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

foreign language menu skills can come in common right here. When my nephew was young my sis and bro-in-law used to speak in code. "should we stop someplace to get him some pomme frites?"
because if you actually said 'french fry' or 'McDonalds' in front of him then he wouldn't shut up until you went ther and got him some.

7:36 AM  
Anonymous Jem said...

Psst... finished my VERY LAST Tim Tam just now. I am very saddened by this fact. We must go to that Aussie shop. Soon.

2:41 PM  

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