Le cul entre les deux chaises

An American Spaniard in France or: How I Learned to Make an Ass of Myself in Three Cultures


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Stick and stones and Harry Potter

Coming across people freaking out about Tom Molvolo Riddle’s name in the French version of the Harry Potter books reminded me that baguette was one of my early bête noires. (Though in French, it would be bêtes noires and now I don’t know which to use.)

I’d warn for spoilers here, but if you don’t already know the reveal about Tom Riddle from the second Harry Potter story, you don’t care.

Harry Potter French Voldemort

As to baguettes, they are lots of things, primarily thin and flexible sticks. This means that their English counterparts include wands, batons, chopsticks, drumsticks (musical), architectural molding detail and the long, thin bread typically peeking out of grocery bags in every TV show since the mid-80s.

Potter’s been in the news this week (at least the stuff I read) since author JK Rowling “admitted” that, in retrospect, she would have had different characters end up together. This led to a flurry of posts and stories about how Frizzy Hair and Dumb As Rocks were the best couple in the history of books or how she should have ended up with World’s Most Petulant Prat. (There’s a genuinely good defense here.) You can tell that in the annals of things about which I care not at all, this is right up there.

Things about which I care a great deal however, include the proper use of the English language and recognition of homophones. “To sow” is to plant seed by scattering; “to sew” is to connect things by stitching. 

Harry Potter sewing fail

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Caveat emptor

Sometimes, things call out to me. I’ll be walking down the street, minding my own business, when something will cause me to stop and turn my head. Usually, the feeling leads me into a store, but sometimes, it’s down a street I might not have noticed. The other day, as I was weaving through the old-lady-with-carts traffic jam near the open air market in my town, I felt the call again. It was this

Bread top

I brought it home, filled with anticipation at what I was going to eat it with. Chocolate? Cheese? Eggs? Soup? There were so many possibilities and I was still weighing them in my mind when I pulled the loaf out of its paper bag and placed it on my cutting board. The trick to not smushing bread is to flip it over and slice from the bottom with a bread knife using smooth sawing motions. When I repositioned it, I saw this

Bread bottom

And all my hopes were dashed because burnt bread is the worst and crusty bread with the crust cut off is just one step up from the worst. The good news is that I’ll make breadcrumbs and will probably have some delicious meatballs in a few days.