On Saturday night, FBF and I were invited to diner by some of his friends. I was a bit nervous as they were friends I had yet to meet, and sometimes French people can be very intimidating.
Generally the first time I meet new French people (or the second, or the third, or the hundredth) they ask me lots of questions about America. This evening was no exception. “Is it sunny in California?” “How cold does it get in the winter?” “What are some French stereotypes Americans have?” etc
After some cultural exchange, subjects changed and we ate a delicious diner. The conversation turned towards what we were planning on doing the next day. Our hosts revealed that they intended to go to the beach, but they wanted to make cookies beforehand. They then turned towards me.
“Je sais pas, mais… tu es americaine… alors tu sais comment faire des cookies?!” (I’m not sure, but… since you’re American… do you know how to make cookies?) my hosts half asked, half declared.
I laughed. In truth, I can’t remember the last time I made cookies, let alone made them from scratch. Being a typical lazy American, if I want to bake cookies I usually go out and buy cookie dough, place it on a cookie sheet, and put it in the oven for the appropriate amount of time. Voila! Cookies.
I had no idea what the translation for “scratch” in this instance would be. So I decided to go for some franglais. I said, “Uh…. Oui, mais pas de ‘scratch?’”
This time saying the English word with a French accent didn’t work.
I explained to them what scratch meant. “Je sais pas comment faire avec que de la farine, du beurre, etc. Mais je sais comment suivre une recette.” (I don’t know how to make them with only flour, butter, etc, but I do know how to follow a recipe)
They were clearly disappointed in me. I seemed to have let them and their vision of Americans down. Don’t the French realize that most Americans think the best cookies come in a tiny box and are sold by little girls? I guess French Girl Scouts must not sell Thin Mints.