By Nora Vasconcelos
Traveling around France is usually a dream full of images of lively cities, bakeries getting warm bread out of the oven, a café located in the heart of Paris, and a table served with assorted cheeses and a glass of wine.
But frequently, it’s also a dream of comunicating in French with all people and being able to order in that language all those delicious dishes at a restaurant, as well as being able to go to the supermarket to buy all the necessary products required to prepare a typical meal.
Thanks to The Farm to Table French Phrasebook, by Victoria Mas, this dream can come true for anyone who wants to know better the French cuisine, its country and its culture.
“I wanted to write a book in which readers could not only learn about french cuisine, but apprehend it from a cultural context. Understanding what the french eat is inseparable from how they eat. Learning about food habits is one of the best ways to learn about the food itself. Moreover, I thought it was necessary for readers to be able to master useful phrases and words in french so that they don’t feel lost when traveling abroad or decide to try a french cooking book.”, says Victoria.
– How did you decide which French expressions, foods and drinks would be included in this book?
I researched what were the most significant dishes and drinks in France in order to give a broad overview of french cuisine. However, I didn’t want to simply name a general list of food- I wanted readers to really approach the subject from a french point of view, and discover which food are typical on a day-to-day basis. I therefore talk extensively about bread, cheese and wine for instance, because indeed the french consume them almost everyday.
Regarding expressions, I looked for the most helpful phrases one might need either to express themselves or understand what is being said – whether it is at a restaurant, a bakery or the farmer’s market.
– Given that the Holiday season is around the corner, which would you say are the most popular French expressions, dishes and traditions around Christmas time and New Year’s?
Readers will find a whole section in the book dedicated to holidays, notably Christmas and New Year’s Eve. For Christmas Eve, the French enjoy a traditional turkey, along with a unique frozen dessert named la bûche (yule log).
As for New Year’s Eve, oysters by the dozens with a glass of champagne are typically consumed.
And here we can see some of the most common expressions of the holiday season:
It’s worth mantioning that France has more than 300 types of cheese, and produces some 6,024 million of bottles of wine a year.
The Farm to Table French Phrasebook, recently published by Ulysses Press, also contains a guide to the French Kitchen and several recipes of some of the most popular dishes originated in France.
So that, when this journey on paper ends, the readers will have enjoyed a culinary insight into “what, how and why the French eat”, and perhaps, as Veronica says in her book, they may have become “a little bit French” themselves.”
*Images courtesy of Ulysses Press