Ready to learn a French expression that doubles as the best conversation starter for your company's Zoom holiday party?
French is quite the visual language.
When you’re feeling down, you might say that you have “le moral dans les chaussettes,” literally your feelings in your socks.
And when things are truly dire and there’s no hope on the horizon, you can tell your loved ones that “les carottes sont cuites.” While the origin of this expression is debated, most consider that the saying stems from the fact that poor, hopeless peasants from France’s Middle Ages used to only be able to afford vegetables, like carrots, for their daily meals. Announcing around dinner time that “les carottes sont cuites,” or that your sad nightly feast of bland vegetables was ready to be consumed, was a way of admitting defeat. The carrots were cooked and so were your dreams.
But it doesn’t stop at carrots. Should things be going well and you find yourself walking around town with a smile on your face, the French use the expression, “avoir la banane.” To have the banana. Yes. As in, your mouth is in the same shape as a banana turned upward. At least the imagery there makes sense… which can’t necessarily be said of the phrase, “Avoir la pêche,” which means, you guessed it, you’ve got the peach. You’ve got the peach if you’re feeling super energetic and optimistic, which alone is great news worth celebrating. But “avoir une pêche d’enfer” ? To have a peach from hell? You’re on top of the world, my friend.
All of this from a language where saying “Je suis avocat,” means “I am a lawyer,” but “Je suis un avocat,” means “I am an avocado.”
I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that the strangest visual expression can be applied to a favorite Yuletide tradition. Should Christmas 2021 find you walking down the streets of Paris or Nice or Strasbourg (we would highly encourage you to try the latter, this Alsatian city is known for celebrating Christmas like nowhere else in the world), and suddenly realize that you are desperately thirsty for a creamy glass of eggnog, have no fear. Sit down at a sidewalk cafe and check to see if they serve Chicken Milk. That’s right. The French, always ready to oblige with their unique expressions, have decided that the best translation for this boozy English drink is “Lait de poule,” literally the milk of a hen.
If that doesn’t get you salivating, what will?
Here at The French Collective, we love celebrating the deliciousness of all Francophone countries, so instead of scratching our heads looking for our favorite Lait de poule recipe, we’re excited to be making a different kind of holiday cocktail to end 2020 with.
Cremas (or Kremas or Cremasse) is a Haitian drink reserved for holiday celebrations or special occasions, like a wedding. We think you’ll agree that not only does it sound even more fabulous than traditional eggnog, but that the name is slightly less silly.
Please have a wonderful and safe and healthy holiday season! Bonne fêtes de fin d'année!
Mix together in one large bowl:
1 can of evaporated milk
2 cans of Sweetened Condensed Milk
1 can of coconut cream
1 teaspoon of grated nutmeg
1 teaspoon of cinnamon powder
1 teaspoon of star anise extract
1 teaspoon of almond extract
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
1 teaspoon of lime juice
1 cup of good rum (with a dollop extra for good measure)
The drink should have the consistency of a milkshake. Pour into goblets, keep chilled until ready to serve.