Saturday, July 14, 2007

My first Michelin experience

I keep saying to myself that the absence of posts for several weeks is due less to the absence of thoughts on all the matters linguistic than to my rather demanding job schedule that makes me inconveniently sleepy for the most of my free time.

Yesterday, however, I have experienced the first perks of this relatively new job, which sort of makes up for my somnambulic existence lately. For the first time, I ate at the Michelin-starred restaurant. In any restaurant, I normally read the menu thoroughly and many times before I make The Right Choice. I am not the type to look for typos, but I like to compare entries in different languages in order to get a better idea of what is on offer, particularly when choosing fish or figuring out about exotic berries. I would laugh in the process at an awkward translation or inappropriate use of a foreign word. (I still remember my amusement at discovering Crème Beau Rivage and cafe turistico americano.)

Yesterday, I was attracted by the dessert: Vacherin à la vanille eu au cassis, short and self-explanatory in French, translated and explained into a lengthy Layers of meringue, vanilla ice-cream and blackcurrant sorbet. I was puzzled about vacherin, which I knew was a French cheese, but its use as a synonym to meringue was unknown to me. It is the case, I checked today, apparently due to the similarity in shape between the cheese and the dessert, but I am not much convinced by this etymology. Any better explanations?