Sunday, March 04, 2012

Little French Lessons: A Sunday Surprise


Growing up, I was always a glazed doughnut girl.  My lifelong favorites.  They're called beignets here and, as you probably know, there are no holes in a beignet.  But during this carnivale season, a few boulangeries around town offer a specialty of what we, in the US, know as doughnut holes.

They make their appearance on Mardi Gras, or Fat Tuesday, the result of people getting rid of the flour, fat and sugar in their pantries to prepare for lent. 


Soft pillows of dough flavored with orange flower water are fried and given a roll in granulated sugar.   They're almost a taste of home.  

But there's a catch:  you have to know what to ask for because in French these little gems are called pets de nonnes (pronounced pay deuh known)...


...and the translation?  Nun's farts.  Yes, you read that correctly.

For all the politesse required here in France, there are some things that seem like such a disconnect from that very basic value.  I'm still trying to figure out this language...and the French, for that matter.   Perhaps they can get away with such things because everything sounds so much better in French.  Perhaps it's because nuns' farts actually *do* smell like orange blossoms.  I wouldn't know.  

It does begin to make the whole French idolization of Jerry Lewis make sense...but 'nuff said.

Class dismissed.  (And please refrain from teasing the nuns on your way out!)

Yours giggling away,
leslie

7 comments:

Elizabeth Eiffel said...

This French lesson was a certainly a surprise! and gave this student a good laugh! I've never liked doughnuts and now I know why!
Bonne semaine

déjà pseu said...

Oh, now I'm giggling too, but what a perfect name! I'll never be able to look at donut holes without thinking of this now....

the golddigger said...

When I told my Chilean friends that I was making pico de gallo, they almost passed out. In Mexico and in most of the Spanish speaking world, "pico" is slang for "beak," hence, "beak of the rooster."

But in Chile, "pico" is slang for "man parts." If you know what I mean.

Kris said...

HA HA HA How funny! I wonder what the nuns in France think of this? I love donut holes especially the cake ones in chocolate of course!

Your post is hilarious! If I lived there I would be afraid to open my mouth!

la fourchette said...

Elizabeth Eiffel, ;} (I couldn't even say it when I was ordering once I knew what it meant...I was afraid I'd giggle.)

déjà pseu, one of those things that once you know, you simply can't not know! (And I'll bet you giggle - even to yourself - at the next donut hole that crosses your path!)

the golddigger, hah! Made me laugh out loud. What a surprise for your friends...or perhaps a new recipe to take home! You never know. Not to mention that it certainly fits with the French economy-of-food tradtion of not wasting a single part of an animal! (Nice to meet you! Thanks for stopping in.)

Anonymous said...

A Belgian friend made no-bake cookies--when she gave them to me--she giggled (A LOT) when she told me the name--horse farts--something in the eau? and now my non-robotic code word is plop? something strange going on

Boho Farm and Home said...

Oh the French...you could live there for years and still not figure it out...I think this is why I love them so! Nun farts...and orange blossom water to boot. I am going to be chuckling about this all day!
xoxo
Caroline

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