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Pédaler dans la semoule

This is part of a series on French idiomatic expressions that relate to food. Read the introductory Edible Idiom post, and browse the list of the French idioms featured so far.

This week’s expression is, “Pédaler dans la semoule.”

The literal translation is “pedaling in semolina,” and it means being entangled in a thorny situation, with the added notion that every effort made to get out of it is fruitless, or makes things worse. In short, being confused and overwhelmed, or being in over one’s head.

The image is, I think, clear enough: picture yourself riding a bicycle in a lake of couscous, or grit, and tell us how well you’d do. (It is also used for appliances and devices, computers in particular, when they’re whirring furiously without doing much actual work.)

Note that it is a colloquial expression, to be used in casual conversation only — not in your thesis, nor if you’re having dinner with the French ambassador/ambassadress, though perhaps he/she might think it endearing and fall in love with you. It’s worth a shot.

Example: “Ça fait une heure que j’essaie de résoudre cette équation, et franchement, je pédale dans la semoule.” “I’ve been trying to solve this equation for an hour, and frankly, I’m pedaling in semolina.”

Listen to the idiom and example read aloud:

This expression sometimes appears as, “Pédaler dans la choucroute,” or pedaling in sauerkraut, an equally illustrative variation.

Boire du petit-lait

This is part of a series on French idiomatic expressions that relate to food. Read the introductory Edible Idiom post, and browse the list of French idioms featured so far.

This week’s expression is, “Boire du petit-lait” (sometimes appearing as “Boire son petit-lait”).

The literal translation is, “drinking whey” (sometimes appearing as “drinking one’s whey”) and it means basking in praise or flattery, or taking obvious pleasure in a situation that has turned out to one’s advantage.

Example: “Les invités s’accordèrent à dire que c’était la meilleure blanquette qu’ils aient jamais mangée. Derrière son sourire modeste, la maîtresse de maison buvait du petit-lait.” “The guests agreed it was the best veal blanquette they’d ever had; underneath her humble smile, the hostess was drinking whey.”

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C&Z’s 5th Anniversary Party!

Chocolate & Zucchini turned five yesterday, and because every five-year-old in the world deserves a birthday party, I would like to invite you to a celebratory get-together in Paris.

It will be held on Wednesday, October 8th, from 7pm till 9pm, at Bocata, a cosy tapas bar in my neighborhood, located at 31 rue Milton, Paris 9ème.

Drinks and homemade nibbles will be served, and the cost will be 21€ per person*.

Space is limited, so it will be reservations only: if you’d like to join us (yay!), please send me a note no later than this Monday, October 6th, with your name, telephone number, and the number of people you’d like to come with. I will confirm your reservation, and send you the instructions for Paypal payment then.

I hope you can make it, and if you have any question, please ask!

Bocata / map it!
31 rue Milton, Paris 9ème
01 40 16 82 85
M° Anvers or Notre-Dame-de-Lorette.

* 20€ go to the restaurant; the remaining 1€ pays the Paypal commission.

The Omnivore’s Hundred

The Omnivore’s Hundred is an eclectic and entirely subjective list of 100 items that Andrew Wheeler, co-author of the British food blog Very Good Taste, thinks every omnivore should try at least once in his life.

He offered this list as the starting point for a game, along the following rules:
1. Copy this list into your blog or journal, including these instructions.
2. Bold all the items you’ve eaten (I’ve used icons instead, and added an asterisk for the items I’m particularly fond of).
3. Cross out any items that you would never consider eating.
4. Optional extra: post a comment on Very Good Taste, linking to your results.

[Update: In response to the numerous questions his list raised, Andrew published an FAQ explaining the how, the why, and the wherefore.]

My list is below; I am missing 37 items, most of which I’d be happy to try if given the opportunity. There are a few that I wouldn’t rush to eat, but none that I couldn’t swallow if someone’s life, honor, and/or feelings were at stake.

And of course, if you don’t have a blog, you can still play along, with a good old pencil and some paper — care to share your results? And/or items you think should be added to, or removed from that list?

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Today Show Appearance

I was a guest on the Today Show* yesterday morning, and my segment is now available online, if you’d like to see me demo my Pear and Chocolate Cake-Tart, a recipe taken from Clotilde’s Edible Adventures in Paris.

(This was my second time on the show; read about last year’s segment here.)

* The Today Show is a national television show that’s broadcast live every morning in the US.

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