I have a new favorite French show. It’s called Fourchette et sac à dos (Fork and Backpack). The host travels around the globe documenting the cultures she finds, with a focus on their culinary habits. If you ever wondered how Aztec descendants in Mexico cook their iguanas, or how tribes in Bali turn tree bark larvae into appetizers, this show’s for you.
It isn’t subtitled however, and very much in French. So I’ve conceded that I’ll be journeying my way thru the episodes with only raw, naked auditory skills (think listening comprehension wearing nothing but a grass skirt). Luckily for me, I’m captivated by any visual that has a soft French-speaking vocal over it. I could watch a praying mantis eating her husband’s head, and as long as the voiceover was French and female, I’d be rooting her on with a “Oh no he di-int! You go girlfriend!”
Sometimes a scene can be a bit of a linguistic Rubik’s Cube. Because the host speaks other foreign languages with locals, at times I’ll hear her having a conversation in Spanish, which then gets overlaid with French audio, which my poor brain has to then translate into English. This has yet to give me an aneurysm, but you never know so stay tuned.
Stuff like this makes me realize that my life, my world, is now as soaked with language as a Mexican iguana is with delicious spicy broth. Not a day goes by where I don’t think about it, praise it, curse it. (The language, not the broth: frankly the gastronomical merits of Lizard-Boyardee are beyond the scope of this blog.) It’s as if the one way ticket to your new French life comes with a free, obligatory pebble to wear in your shoe at all times. It’s not necessarily annoying, but it’s not unnoticeable either: it’s just big enough to always remind you it’s there. Following this analogy, I suppose my goal is to one day turn my sock inside out and shake the hell out of it.
Despite the challenge, or maybe because of it, this show is my new favorite. I guess en fin de compte (at the end of the day), diving into the broth is almost always better than dipping in just a claw. And one day, when I make that inevitable trip to undiscovered Peru, maybe I’ll be equipped to tell them, with perfect vocabulary and grammar:
“Oh hell no, I don’t care what it is, there’s no way I’m putting that in my mouth.”
But of course it’ll be in French and they won’t understand a word. Another pebble for another day.