So I’m in the process of teaching myself French for my upcoming jaunt to France. If only I had started it when I bought the darn Rosetta Stone on Cyber Monday last November. Thanks to procrastination, I am now in the home stretch and I’m not even sure I will be able to ask someone the location of the nearest bathroom. Thanks to Patti LaBelle, I’m quite certain I can ask someone to go to bed with me…this evening. I’m hoping the French will be kind to me if I make the genuine effort to speak their language. In all seriousness, the Rosetta Stone is a good product which uses “speech-recognition technology,” visual cues, and association to teach you to speak the language. Within these visual cues, you’ll find photographs of diverse subject matter since Rosetta presently offers about 30 different languages from all over the world. So you’ll enjoy the delicious irony of an Asian or an Indian person in a sari greeting you with, “Bonjour!” and an African person in tribal attire saying, “Au revoir!” Once you get past that, you’ll find Rosetta very useful and possibly fun.
Admittedly, I’m struggling a bit with the verbs, prepositions, and possessives because I’m not learning the hard rules behind the language. I’m also finding that while the microphone that accompanies the set is generally good, it can be hit or miss at times. For example, I know when I have thoroughly effed-up a French phrase and Rosetta tells me I’m correct. Other times, I’m certain I’ve nailed the pronunciation at least four times in a row and Rosetta still tells me I’m wrong. When this occurs, I find myself wishing Rosetta would teach me some obscenities so that I can swear at her appropriately in French. In the end, it all balances out with the scoring; and you can take the lessons again to help improve your scores and overall mastery of the language. I’m confident that by the time I get across the Atlantic I’ll be able to find a bathroom, ask for directions, order some food, and make various purchases. And really, who needs more than that on a vacation?
In the meantime, I’ve gotten into the gin again and mainly in the form of martinis. This never bodes well for those involved. It’s my way of honoring Crazy Bob for a belated Father’s Day, since martinis are his favorite. Through my gin-worship, I like to think that I’m celebrating all the men in my life who will inevitably require mental hygiene or will drive me to pursue some myself. Hey, if you can’t beat them, you can certainly drink to them. A friend of mine won’t touch the stuff unless it’s in the cocktail below because she insists gin makes her go ‘cray-cray.’ This cocktail is a little safer than a martini, but it still packs a wallop. So pour yourself this delightful, lemon-fresh classic that you can enjoy on a hot summer evening while fantasizing about handsome French men on the French Riviera…whispering French sweet-nothings that sound very seductive, but probably amount to quality American zingers like:
“I can’t give you what you want.”
“I’m not married.”
“Would you mind turning over so I don’t have to look at you?”
“Sorry I lied to you…again.”
“I’ll tie you up like Christian Grey. The safety word is Freedom-Fries.”
“Gitchi Gitchi Ya Ya Da Da”
“I seem to have misplaced my 75-millimeter….”
Lady Sensory-Marmalade’s French 75
Yes, it was named after a handgun. These proportions work best, but feel free to cater it to your preferred gin/champagne ratio:
2 oz gin – I prefer Hendrick’s, but use whatever you like
2 sugar cubes or 1 tsp superfine sugar
1/2 – 3/4 oz freshly squeezed lemon juice (juice of about 1/2 lemon)
Approximately 3-4 oz brut champagne or dry sparkling wine (I used Cava)
First, peel yourself a twist or two off the lemon and then juice half of it. Set the other half aside or double the recipe if you have a visitor. Dissolve the sugar in the lemon juice. Add the ice, and pour the 2 oz of gin over the mixture and shake well. Strain into a tall chilled flute, or perhaps a funky white wine goblet like I did (you can also use a Collins glass with more ice if you want to take the edge off – it’s kind of boozy). Top off the glass with champagne and garnish with a lemon twist.
“Nous buvons en ce moment!”
(Yes, I am fairly certain I’ll use that phrase at some point in my life, and it means: we are drinking at the moment!)