Why is it called? Part 1: Pastries and desserts

Why is it called … Part 1: PASTRIES and DESSERTS Have you ever asked yourself why something is called by a particular name? Why are croissants, pain aux raisins and pains au chocolats called viennoiseries for example? How do things get named? Here is a short list of French pastries and desserts and how they got their names. We invite readers to add their own favorite pastries and dessert to the comments. Viennoiserie A pastry was created in Vienna in celebration of the end of the Turkish siege of 1683 in the shape of the Turkish crescent (croissant). An Austrian army officer named August Zang and his associate Ernest Schwarzer, a nobleman from Vienna opened the Boulangerie Viennoise at 92 rue de Richelieu in Paris in 1838. They were the first to make the pastries which were to become known as viennoiserie. Ironically even though the French name viennoiserie makes a reference to Vienna which is the origin of the pasrties, in English these baked delights are called Danish pastri…
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Faux Amis

BEWARE THOSE FAUX AMIS (WORDS THAT LOOK ALIKE IN TWO LANGUAGES BUT HAVE DIFFERENT MEANINGS, SOMETIMES DANGEROUSLY SO) AND INACCURATE TRANSLATIONS! You’re the Chief Information Officer of the French branch of a sprawling multinational, and you’ve been told to upgrade the entire system. Everything. The Works. There are hundreds of thousands of euros to be spent on software, hardware, related staff training and, in conjunction with the Marketing Department, a glossy communication campaign to let the universe know how ultra-wired you are. With almost puerile excitement you grab the phone, call the most renowned supplier in the world and are transferred to an eager young French sales-rep delighted at the opportunity to practice his English. You explain what you’re after. The young man says he’s thrilled to help but his own system is out today. Could you call back tomorrow, he asks, when he’ll hopefully have access to the documents he needs for his pitch. You call the next day. “The…
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Why do you call it a canicule?

Word etymologies are great fun. Here's a few pertinent ones.

Canicule

Usually this French word is translated to English as heatwave, but a more picturesque and almost literal translation would be "the dog days of summer". Basically it means that it is very hot, hotter than it usually is. But why this reference both in the French "cani" and English to dogs? What do dogs have to do with heat? It goes back to astronomy. The Dog Star, or Sirius, rises and sets with the sun during the summer. Thus the most sultry time of the year became associated with the Dog Star, called canicula in Latin. The word canicule dates from about 1500, but the Romans and Greeks had already been refering to the dog days and associating them with the star Sirius.

Sirius rises late in the dark, liquid sky; On summer nights, star of stars, Orion's Dog they call it, brightest Of all, but an evil portent, bringing heat And fevers to suffering humanity.

Homer's Illiad Once …
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Paris Quotes (France, La Seine …)

Paris Quotes (France, La Seine too) To be Parisian is not to have been born in Paris, but to be reborn there. — Sacha Guitry ... here's what Paris is: it is a giant reference work, a city which you can consult like an encyclopaedia: whatever page you open gives you a complete list of information that is richer than that offered by any other city. Take the shops... in Paris there are cheese shops where hundreds of cheeses, all of them different, are displayed, each labelled with its own name, cheeses covered in ash, cheeses covered in walnuts: a kind of museum or Louvre of cheese... Above all this is a triumph of the spirit of classification and nomenclature. So if tomorrow I start writing about cheese, I can go out and consult Paris like an enormous cheese encyclopaedia. -- Italo Calvino in Hermit in Paris Two days and three endless nights later we arrived in Paris... Paris looked much bigger than Bordeaux, but much uglier. The bread tasted flat. Everything, even the sun, seem…
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Horse puzzles – horse play

Here are 2 horse puzzles, games based on Horses that we put together for the kids next door to whom we were "teaching" English over the garden wall during confinement. I stood up on a ladder to see over the top and they were in their front court. It was pretty funny to see. They enjoyed having some authentic conversation although they had trouble with my "odd" US accent as opposed to the British one they hear in school. It was a welcome distraction for us all. It was tricky to select a "program" as there are 3 girls ages 10 to 17 to entertain and challenge. They have such different levels of English amongst themselves and of course there is the age difference between them and me in terms of knowledge and pop culture. But I figured out that they like to ride horses. So one lesson was centered on horses and their "homework", sent by paper airplane over the wall, was these two puzzles and this nicely done worksheet which includes word searches and lots of horse vocabulary that…

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Learn French! Speak Easy puzzle: Grin and bear it!

Speak Easy puzzle: Grin and bear it! Learn French! Enjoy this Speak Easy puzzle of expressions in English with the words BEAR in them. The word Bear refers not to just the animal, it is also a verb meaning to carry a weight (to bear, past tense bore). Then there is the homonym bare an adjective or verb for being naked. See if you can match the English expressions up with their French equivalent. It's a fun way to learn some new idiomatic expressions to enrich your vocabulary. This Speak Easy puzzle comes from volume 1 of a series of three books of 48 puzzles available on : https://store.fusac.fr or at the FUSAC Book Room (a new place you just have to discover!) 42, rue du Chemin Vert, Boulogne, M° Porte de Saint Cloud Hear the story of how John and Lisa encountered a grizzly bear in Yellowstone Park. Bonus Vocabulary Grizzly is a large North American species of bear also known as a silvertip bear. French = Grizzli Grisly means disgusting and bloody, absolutely repulsi…
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Speak Easy Puzzle of Idiomatic expressions: To hit your Stride

Here's a Speak Easy Puzzle with terms that refer to mobility: creep, slither, romp... have fun and hope you make "great strides" in your language skills with some new Idiomatic expressions. Idiomatic expressions are the colorful part of language and it is only in learning a few that you'll start to sound and feel like you speak well.

 100+ Speak Easy Puzzles have been compiled into a series of books:

Order the Books - Commander les livres

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