Pasta with Tuna, White Beans and Fresh Tomato Sauce; Faux Amis

I was reading one of my favorite cooking magazines the other night when the title of an article jumped out and slapped me in the head.

It read, in big bold letters: Entrées!

It referred to main courses.

In France (it’s a French word, after all) it refers to the first course or starter.

All I could think of was the ruckus raised a few years ago changing French Fries (known as pommes frites “fried potatoes” here) and French Toast (known as pain perdu, “lost bread”) to Freedom Fries and Freedom Toast.

BTW, none of the French I know could understand any of it – not the original name (pommes frites are Belgian, in origin) or the change; so the denigration was totally lost on the intended recipients.

And yet, the same restaurant probably had the Freedom Fries listed as an accompaniment to an Entrée.

Can’t they get the wrong words right?!?

I find it interesting, and yes, a little irritating, when a people insist on adopting a word from another language and then using it incorrectly.

I really should get over it…. It’s been going on for hundreds of years.

According to one language instructor, over 2,000 common English words are French in origin.
And another 2,000 Spanish… 2,000 Italian… 2,000 German… I could go on…

Like George W’s favorite: entrepreneur:

“The problem with the French is that they don’t have a word for entrepreneur.” -George W. Bush, discussing the decline of the French economy with British Prime Minister Tony Blair.

Had ‘they’ gotten the meaning right in the first place, life would be much simpler for those of us trying to cope with another language.

We have what are known as “Faux amis“, false friends, words that sound alike, are spelled similarly but have a different meaning.Fresh_tomato_sauce

Some are just confusing:

Assister means to attend (something).

Attendre means to wait.

Some can be rude:

‘Con’ is a vulgar word referring to female genitalia.

Some totally perplexing:

Sale is an adjective meaning dirty.

Formidable means fantastic, wonderful.

And they’re not unique to French.

The Spanish word, embarrass, means pregnant.

I was a bit confused when I went for my chest x-ray, for the Andorran physical needed to get residency, and there was a sign telling me not to have it done if I was embarrassed… (Or so I thought.)

Ah, yes, another usage I find confusing:  We started watching Law and Order a year or two ago (we watch what we get) and I couldn’t figure out why all these New Yorkers kept spending so much time in wine cellars….

And why were they letting children in them?

A ‘Bodega’, in Spain is a wine cellar, like a French cave (rhymes with ahhhh).  It’s where we keep the wine and booze.

How did it ever get to mean a grocery store? (That is what they’re referring to, isn’t it?)  6a00d8341c7f3553ef00e5537321138834-350wi.jpg

In honor of our impending move I am making fewer trips to the grocery store… And trying to clean out my pantry.

There’s always something to toss with pasta…

This week’s Presto Pasta Nights, started by Ruth, of Once Upon a Feast is being hosted by Michelle of Greedy Gourmet.  Be sure to visit her blog on Friday for all of the lovely pasta dishes!

Pasta Salad with Tuna, White Beans and Fresh Tomato Sauce

Pasta Salad with Tuna, Cannellini and Fresh Tomato Sauce

7oz (200gr) canned tuna
15 oz (450 gr) can cannellini (white beans)
2 ribs celery
1/2 cup green and/or black olives
3 – 4 garden fresh tomatoes
1 tbs olive oil, the good stuff
2 tbs fresh snipped chives
2 tbs fresh snipped oregano
1 1/4 cup small pasta, farfalle, penne, fusilli

Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain tuna and put into a large salad bowl. Drain and rinse beans. Add to tuna. Snip herbs and add to bowl. Thinly slice celery and add to bowl. Slice olives, add.
Cut the tomatoes in half. Cup half of a tomato in your hand and rub it on the big holes of a box (or other style) grater until all that is left in your hand is the skin. You’ll have to press a bit, but not too hard, be careful not to grate your hand. Repeat with as many halves as you think you want/need. You end up with fresh tomato sauce with no skin…and no cooking. Depending on size of tomatoes you will want to do 3 or 4. Add to bowl and toss all to combine. Drain pasta and toss with 1 tbs olive oil. Add pasta to bowl and toss all to combine. Serve.

Be mindful of false friends….

14 thoughts on “Pasta with Tuna, White Beans and Fresh Tomato Sauce; Faux Amis”

  1. This sounds lovely! And I learned so many vocab words today from your post! I have never understood that whole “freedom fries” crap over here either. Sometimes it is embarrassing (and I don’t mean pregnant) to be an american.

  2. I love your confusion (mainly because you conform mine hehe). First trip to the US, we ordered our main course and when I spotted a baked brie listed as an entree I thought..yum! and ordered that too.
    Waiter looked at me, turned to my DH-to-be and asked: is she -jerk of the head- going to eat that all? Needless to say I was slightly irritated, I mean the “she”, the over my head talk, and having to rescue my Cabernet from -horror- ice cubes…
    Confused we both said that yes, that’s what we wanted and were served a huge wheel of Camembert and bread. No, we didn’t finish it.
    Welcome to the US; “Hi, I’m Mark and I’m your waiter tonight” -insert toothy smile-. We explained the confusion to our waiter and yes now he knew where we were coming from: Europe, yes, Holland, yes, Kopenhagen right?

  3. That quote from Bush is a classic! What a bone head that man is! Can’t wait to get him out of the White House and back to Texas where he belongs!

  4. Michelle, so many words to trip me up! And sometimes, hard to explain.
    Susan, yeah, that was truly ridiculous and emphasized the lack of knowledge by the people who came up with it… Embarrassing!
    Baking Soda, I love the great command of world geography (not to mention culture) exhibited by so many in the U.S. (Is France a country?) And yes, the toothy-grin, overly friendly waiters drive me bonkers!
    Zoomie, you mean Texas will take him back!?!?!?

  5. LOL! I also did a post on false friends recently (I think it was my celeriac remoulade post) – we took some Spanish classes in the Spring and founf hordes of false friends!! I have also always shaken my head at the use of entree as a main course… Pasta sounds lovely though!

  6. English is a wonderfully confusing language. You’re complaining about every day words now, but wait until you see the vast array of odd words if you start playing Scrabble seriously. Talk about borrowed words! 🙂

  7. I remember confusing matress and sailor…many years ago.
    Thanks for sharing all those confusing words and a great dish for Presto Pasta Nights.

  8. “”The problem with the French is that they don’t have a word for entrepreneur.” -George W. Bush, discussing the decline of the French economy with British Prime Minister Tony Blair.”
    Phony quote:
    Claim: President George W. Bush proclaimed, “The problem with the French is that they don’t have a word for entrepreneur.”
    Status: False.
    http://www.snopes.com/quotes/bush.asp

  9. Thanks, Poonam, I like colorful food!
    Jeanne, I think we run into more of a problem as soon as we think we understand a language… over-confidence gets me everytime!
    Michelle, I haven’t played Scrabble in yonks! I used to love that game…
    Ruth, I can’t begin to remember all of the confusing words I’ve uttered..
    CJ, You may well be right… Although I’ve found a site that says it’s accurate. It’s so popular now I’m sure it will stay in the ‘quotes’, regardless.

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