I don’t plan on writing a lot of posts on the preparations for our trip to Paris (for those who missed the amazing trip to Paris news, click here). But since my husband had this week off, we spent time planning our trip.
My obligation between now and when we leave is to “brush up” on French. My husband knows that when I graduated from college I was fluent in French—the university I graduated from required all English majors to be fluent in a foreign language. Fluency in French meant I had to take literature classes where the texts were all French, the lectures were in French, and we had to write our papers in French. And yes, I did that. However, I did those that twenty-five years ago. Since then, I’ve only used French to explain to my kids what RSVP stands for. (Okay, I did teach high school French twenty years ago—but that was mostly forcing passé composé into unwilling minds.)
After twenty-five years, I don’t really remember much. I can read something aloud and it sounds well enough, but I have no idea what it means. At least, that’s what I thought until Cal began researching restaurants. The other day, he pulled up a website to show to me. It had all the appropriate stars, the prices were reasonable, and the ambiance was fantastic. So I clicked on the menu and read it.
Then, I said to Cal, “Uh, when you looked at this earlier, did you use Google Translate on this page?”
He said, “No. Why?”
I answered, “I could be wrong, but I’m pretty sure that this paragraph says that the specialty of the house is calf brain cooked in wine.”
We exchanged a glance and removed the restaurant from our “possibilities list.”
You know, my smattering of French may come in handy after all.
Be sure to check out the menu below. It's from 1870, and the dinner includes antelope, elephant, wolf, camel, bear, etc. (Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons)