Les français et leur pain

Ah, du pain.  Bread is without doubt one of the most emblematic symbols of France and its gastronomy.  Despite knowing that bread is an everyday staple in French diet, I was still surprised at the vast amount of bakeries here.  During the walk from my nearest metro stop to my place, for example – which can’t be much longer than five minutes – I pass four bakeries which tempt me every morning with the smell of freshly baked bread.  I always wondered how it is possible that they all receive business, though I came to realise that this was really quite a daft question: 9 out of 10 French habitants buy fresh bread on a daily basis.  Bread is always at the centre of a French family’s table during mealtimes: whether for mopping up their plate’s residue, savouring their delicious cheese or making a morning tartine to dunk in their chocolat chaud or café au lait.  Forget having a side plate, bread is such a common occurrence that the French break their bread on the table.  The first time I felt like a real petite parisienne has got to be the first time I picked up a fresh, hot baguette and couldn’t resist tearing off the end on my way home.


It’s therefore not surprising that I have come across a number of expressions evolving around this prided French gastronomic icon.  Here are a few of my favourites:

–          Se vendre comme des petits pains : to sell like hot cakes

–          Manger son pain blanc le premier: to have to easy from the start

–          Ça ne mange pas de pain : it doesn’t cost anything/it won’t do any harm

–          Je ne mange pas de ce pain-là: I won’t have anything to do with it

–          Être bon comme du (bon) pain : to have a heart of gold

–          Être pain béni pour qqn: to be a godsend for sb

–          Faire passer le gout du pain à qqn : to teach sb a lesson they won’t forget

–          Avoir du pain sur la planche : to have a lot of work to be getting on with

–          Être long comme un jour sans pain:  to describe something which is really long/boring

–          À la mie de pain: useless, no use

–          Pour une bouchée/un morceau de pain : something that’s cheap

Voilà !


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