Scratchy-Backside Jam

confiture de grattes culs

I’ve sometimes been surprised by how cavalier bodily functions are discussed in France. I consider myself a pretty open person, but sometimes things get discussed that make me a little uncomfortable. And I’ve learned that being undressed in front of others is no big deal. I’ve always been fine with public nudity—well…as long as it wasn’t me—but I’ve had to modify that stance a little since I moved here.

Last week I went back to my sock store and they had a man come and measure my legs. (That may be because my last visit probably sent the elderly salesclerk into her early retirement.) I stripped down to my euro-briefs and he ran that tape measure up and down my legs and around my calves, at one point using his thumb to firmly hold the end of the tape measure down on the end of, um…somewhere relatively private…that would not have made me all that uncomfortable except he did it with all the care of someone trying with great purpose to jam a thumbtack into a concrete wall.

So when I was walking home (which kinda hurt), I passed a store that specialized in products from the Auvergne. The Auvergne is the central region of France and the people from are known as being particularly hard-working and industrious (which is a quality that is both admired, and frowned-upon) and historically many of the cafés in Paris were owned by people from the Auvergne. And if you’ve ever had a salade Auverngate, which is basically a hill of meat and cheese cut in large cubes and piled high atop a few measly leaves of lettuce, you know they have to work pretty hard to merit calling that a “salad.”

In the window were a line-up of jam jars, which I read as I was walking by. But as I got just past the store, and I stopped and went back for a look.

“Did that say what I think it said?” I thought to myself.

The jam was Confiture de Gratte Culs, which translates literally to “Jam of Scratchy Backsides.” And according to what I read, it’s because rose hips (also called eglatines, or cynorrhodon…which is one of those words I think that you have to be French to be able to pronounce) have fuzzy seeds inside that must be removed before you eat them. At least if you want to avoid a scratchy you-know-what.

I took this to the master of French language and culture, ie: Romain, to ask him more about it. And yes, it’s true – that’s what it’s called.

C’est normal, Daveed. The French are très provinciaux”, he replied, meaning that the French are “provincial.” Because I’m a rationalist and want to get to the proverbial bottom of this, I say, “Okay. Hypothetically, let’s say you were invited to the home of someone very chic and very bourgeois, like someone who lived in the 16th, and they were offering you some of this jam. Would they say over breakfast – “Would you like some scratchy-backside jam on your toast?'”

crottin de Chavignol goat cheese

“C’est normal! Of course they would” he said. Which also got me thinking about another word used frequently around (and sometimes stepped into) here: crottes. Les crottes are what animals leave behind. And if you need further explanation, here’s a more spot-on, although not an especially more appetizing, translation.

So a Crottin de Chèvre round of goat cheese is literally a “goat dropping”, meant to refer to its shape and appearance. (Although Wikipedia says it may also refer to “small oil lamp made from burned clay, which resembles the mold used to prepare the cheese” which sounds a bit more far-fetched. I’m not so sure about that. At least I see the farm-animal connection with the first definition.)

Pissenlit came up recently as well, since I posted a dandelion pesto recipe. The name is a mash-up of “piss on lit” or “bed-wetting” due to the reputed diuretic properties of dandelion greens. It’s seems to work in French but I can’t imagine going to a market in America and asking the vendor to give you a bag of the “bedwetting greens” without getting some funny looks.

I haven’t tasted my jam yet, but I ate all my dandelion pesto without incident. However anything that says “scratchy butt” on the label I’m keeping in a closed cabinet—tightly capped.

Related Posts

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  • March 23, 2011 1:12pm

    I think this entry sums up everything I love about the French attitude towards life.

  • steu
    March 23, 2011 1:16pm

    Same word (and same jam) here in Piedmont (gratacù). ;D

  • March 23, 2011 1:22pm

    Ah, well you must try some ‘Trou du Cru’ cheese, which is, from what I can surmise, the best pun in the land. (please don’t make me explain)

  • March 23, 2011 1:25pm

    Thank you, thank you, thank you for this… I needed a laugh to start the morning!

  • Pierre
    March 23, 2011 1:25pm

    About the origin of “gratte-cul”, it’s called this way because itching powder is made from the fuzzy seeds of rose hips (although I don’t know what happens if you eat them).

  • Simian
    March 23, 2011 1:26pm

    as kids we would make “itching powder”‘ out of rose hip seeds and chuck them down peoples backs…’s really itchy!

  • March 23, 2011 1:29pm

    Love those funky translations. I buy a salami in Italy that translates as grandpa’s willie, though the actual translation is somewhat more literal.

    Also kind of fascinating that in France you get measured for socks. Full body sock?

  • Suzanne
    March 23, 2011 1:31pm

    LMAO Daveed! Especially the part about the sock store. Great post!

    So did you buy some jam? And if so, does it taste good?

    I PROMISE this week I will work on the Mexican food crawl. Talked to Shey about it this morning.

    Gros bis,


  • deadlock
    March 23, 2011 1:37pm

    Hey, we used to eat that all the time in Turkey (and by that i mean rose hip marmalade), it tastes pretty good actually. It’s also supposed to be all kinds of good for you. Can’t say I ever noticed any.. um.. scratchiness.

  • March 23, 2011 1:40pm

    This naming policy seems to be … somehow european. ;)

    Thinking of any precarious food names in German, all I can come up with is “Pinkel” which loosely translates into “piss” or “prick”, yet the “prick”-meaning is derived from “piss” so there you are. It’s a smoked sausage made out of bacon and groats, commonly enjoyed with curly kale.

    And something not as vulgar … Maultaschen aka “Herrgottsbscheißerle” (which means “things that fool god” but in a rather colloquial way) are the swabian ravioli filled with spinach and meat. Yet “bescheißen” originally means “to shit on sth./sb.” but now is only used in the meaning of “to fool sb.”

  • March 23, 2011 1:49pm

    Fun name for a fun jam. I’m partial to flower-flavored foods. Btw, my name means eglantine in Persian :)

  • March 23, 2011 1:53pm

    I do know what you mean by the French not being body-shy – I was very fed up at the weekend when there simply wasn’t a changing-room at the Boulogne-Billancourt ice rink dedicated to women-only. I need to change to my skin, so had to do that in the hotel and then walk through the streets….

    I hadn’t come across that particular translation of rose-hips before! When I was a little girl, many, many years ago, babies in this country were given free rose-hip syrup, that you diluted with water to drink; I believe they are a prime source of Vitamin C.

  • March 23, 2011 2:02pm

    Trying hard to not laugh really loudly at my desk right now!

  • March 23, 2011 2:05pm

    Your sock story reminds me of a Friends episode. In the episode measurement was probably not the gentleman priority:)

    It seems (and I may be wrong) Americans are considered more direct and open during conversations and more restrained when it comes to naming food. There are quite a few dishes in Euorpe with a descriptive name. I wonder what would happen if they called the double cheese burger ‘obesity burger’.

  • March 23, 2011 2:10pm

    I must get some immediatement pour mon nouveau petit ami Francaise.

  • March 23, 2011 2:10pm

    Ha ha, I’m sorry but that tailor story was hilarious! And it sooooo reminded me of that episode of friends :

    “Isn’t that how a tailor measures pants?” “Yes yes, it is… prison!!!”

    No but honestly, I love the the French.

    Sunny greetings from the Côte d’Azur!,

  • March 23, 2011 2:14pm

    “Backside” + “Jam” are two words that should never, ever go together ….

  • Laurie
    March 23, 2011 2:22pm

    You forgot the “crottes de chocolat” as well ! means chocolate marble….

  • March 23, 2011 2:23pm

    Oh, well…it’s clear what it does! I am glad you made it home, though – ouch!! Thanks for the smile.

  • March 23, 2011 2:28pm

    ha! great post.

  • LoriW
    March 23, 2011 2:30pm

    David, you’re hilarious! I love having my morning coffee with your blog!

    “Confiture de Gratte Culs” is a great name for seedy jam! I’d buy it in a heart beat.
    On a side note, I live in Newfoundland, Canada, where we regularly eat dandelion greens and we still call the flowering plants “piss-a-beds” to this day!

  • March 23, 2011 2:41pm

    Did you ever notice how much French people discuss digestion? It’s like it’s a normal topic of conversation!

  • ChrisH
    March 23, 2011 2:48pm

    Around here (Lyon) you can buy ‘pets de nonne’ (“Nun’s farts”) — they’re a kind of donut.

  • March 23, 2011 2:54pm

    Some names given to villages, in France, are quite funny as well…”le bourré”, “Trécon”, “Kaunas” (they are related!) ,”Arnac-la-Poste”, “le salle village”… :)

  • Sweetums
    March 23, 2011 2:54pm

    Tres drole !

  • Hilarious!

  • March 23, 2011 3:07pm

    HA this post is hilarious!! Thanks for posting :)

  • March 23, 2011 3:16pm

    I’d just go all the way and call it “Scratch-Butt Jam.” Why bother being dainty with “backside”?

  • March 23, 2011 3:30pm

    Hilarious! Sometimes I think we may have gotten a little prissy with our words, call it what it is, why not.


  • March 23, 2011 3:45pm

    Haha! I had no idea they could make jam out of that. I love rose hip tea, I wonder if it has a similar sweet/tart flavor?

  • March 23, 2011 3:52pm

    That was hysterical David! I laughed out loud for the whole second half in the middle of the office. Thanks for making my day!

  • iryna
    March 23, 2011 3:56pm

    great post! so have you tried that jam yet? :)

  • James in Seattle
    March 23, 2011 4:03pm

    David, Here’s an American product that could come in handy after breakfasting on Scratchy Backside Jam….It’s called Boaudreaux’s Butt Paste. Check it out:

  • Dejah
    March 23, 2011 4:04pm

    This post had me chuckling. It reminded me of a slip of the tongue my son made when he was about 5 and tasted Trou du Cru cheese for the first time. We were visiting some friends who had invited us for lunch and he was on his best behavior at the table when he politely requested, “Jamerais bien manger encore de trou de culs s’il vous plait.” Of course all of the adults at the table burst out laughing, because, well you know the smell of that particular cheese does lead one to think of “bottom holes”….

  • Jack Strawbridge
    March 23, 2011 4:12pm

    With respect to the French “pissenlit”: In Newfoundland, a part of Canada with unique linguistic roots (we have our own dictionary) people used to refer to dandelions as “piss-a-beds” long before the first part of that word lost its vulgarity among the mainstream of English speakers.

  • March 23, 2011 4:13pm

    well, in spanish rosehip is “escaramujo”, but we also call it “tapaculos”, that means “backside stopper” or something like this. But usually in the jam they call it with the polite name, jajajajajaja

  • March 23, 2011 4:37pm

    I hope you enjoy this jam. It is one of my very favorite. I used to have a friend in Germany who made her own rose hips jam. It was to die for. I have never seen it in a store in the US, but in German it is very expensive to purchase.

  • March 23, 2011 4:41pm

    Of course cheese curds are called “crottes de fromage” ou “fromage en crottes”.

  • Suzanne
    March 23, 2011 4:48pm

    David, I grew up in Pennsylvania Dutch Country, where they would hold community suppers. One of the highlights in the spring was a salad made of fresh young dandelion greens with chopped hard boiled eggs & bacon, & a hot dressing. The name of the salad? ‘Piss-A-Bed’, lol…no one even blinked an eye!

  • ruth
    March 23, 2011 4:57pm

    Hi David , my mother tongue is french even though I´m not french but I´ve lived many years in Paris and I know about all these words but the way you spoke about them was so funny that I had my “dose” of laughing today,so thank you for that.

  • March 23, 2011 5:15pm

    One of my best friends is from Paris. Now I see it’s not just her.She says with a perfect naturalness things that I would never utter in public. She eez Francais!

  • Anaïs
    March 23, 2011 5:29pm

    I love your post!!! For two reasons…
    First, my mum (a real great French cooker) made some “confiture de gratte-culs” last summer. I know that you haven’t ate your jam yet but I can assure you that it’s delicious on buttered bread for breakfast. The texture is particular, but it’s worth it!!
    Secondly, the subject of your post is very funny and reminds me a lot of my own experiment in USA. Indeed, I also faced some facts and manners which surprised my French education a lot and confirmed my first prejudices. Even if the shocking facts are not similar for both of us, I’m glad to read your own experiment as a reminder of my american trip.

  • Jeanette
    March 23, 2011 5:32pm

    Awesome. Rose hip is such a delight.

  • Jacques
    March 23, 2011 5:41pm

    I echo Jessica’s comment. Gratte-culs is not properly translated with Scratchy-Backside (= derriere ou fesses). Another word starting with an A would have been more accurate.

  • March 23, 2011 5:42pm

    In south Louisiana, a sure sign of spring are the blooming yellow “pissenlits” on the roadsides. The Cajun French word refers not only to dandelions but also to a kind of bitterweed, though the bitterweed has no culinary uses.

  • March 23, 2011 5:44pm

    This is the first time I’ve heard of being measured for custom made socks. Those French think of everything! Good post.

  • March 23, 2011 6:00pm

    Good for a morning laugh! And I also learned that’s rose hip jam I’ve been eating that I brought back from Paris in October. I kept meaning to look up the translation, but I kept forgetting. I thought it might be plum. You’ll be very happy when you open the jar.

  • March 23, 2011 6:02pm

    Oh my. I’m reserving a seat for you the next time all my boys get together at the dinner table. This all makes me a bit misty-eyed over our dinner talk when they were growing up. Anything related to the nether regions was game, and at the end of a long day, the ensuing snorts and snickers were something we all looked forward to. I just may have to try and make some scratchy backside jam. Thanks for the morning chuckle.

  • Sharon T
    March 23, 2011 6:23pm

    I’ve always known rose hips for their vitamin C content, not their itching properties. It is a good thing to know! Thank you for the amusing post this morning. I’ve missed your observational posts about every day French life. Measured for socks?!?! Oh my….

  • Ed K
    March 23, 2011 6:32pm

    Hi Darveed: A delicious jam and it was served to me once by a good friend from the Auvergne, and they called it “gargaillou” and since she had lived in Germany for many years, they called it “Hagebutten” there, which come as a jam or a tea.

    Changing the subject: Do you know of anyone in Paris who rents out short-term vacation apartments. Wife and I spend 2-3 months in Paris yearly in the spring. Looking for a 40-50 m2 one bedroom place with fully equipped kitchen and internet access (tres important!). Was on rue d’Aligre for 2 months last spring which was heaven! If you hear of anything, please let me know. Thanks.

  • Bonnie Powers
    March 23, 2011 6:35pm

    David did you know there was a restaurant up on the Butte Aux Cailles named “Pisselits par racine”? I have a photo of it I wish I could send you!! I almost died laughing when I passed it—fortunately with my camera in hand. It’s on the corner of Rue de la Butte aux Cailles at the Passage Boiton. I don’t think it would ever make the Michelin Guide.

  • Andrea
    March 23, 2011 6:39pm

    Did you get measured for pantyhose?
    I love the French sense of humour, the Germans just call it boring old rosehip jam.
    Friends of mine live in the French villages of Condom and Agay and we do have one called Scratchy Bottom in the UK.

  • Catherine Negus
    March 23, 2011 7:05pm

    In true David Lebovitz style…this post is hilarious! A true gem, and one I will re-read whenever I need a good laugh! Thanks, David.

  • March 23, 2011 7:07pm

    In Lourmarin on a Friday for the weekly market, we bought a wine called “le Cul du Loup”. Literally this means “the wolf’s asshole”, but the wine seller kindly explained that it is Provencal slang for an isolated place, like “the middle of nowhere”.

  • March 23, 2011 7:23pm

    I’ve had to measure many an inside leg in my time, but never for a pair of socks!

  • March 23, 2011 7:28pm

    And yet you got strange looks when you ordered ‘confiture des grosse selles’?

  • March 23, 2011 7:55pm

    That’s so funny. I love these posts of an educated English speaker in France. So “impertinent” without being belittling. Much appreciated, maybe you are almost French now? How is the jam? I’ve never tasted it…

  • M'Lissa
    March 23, 2011 8:00pm

    Yours is the only blog that makes me laugh out loud almost every time.

  • March 23, 2011 8:12pm

    Delightful post. When I moved to Austin in 2009 to attend the University of Texas, I found out that Texans (particularly college girls like myself) have a much higher tolerance for discussing bodily functions than citizens of my home state, Oklahoma. This surprised me, but I’ve found it convenient. Austin is more than a city ready to discuss the bathroom, but also has some great food! Of course I had to start a blog. If you’re interested visit

    By the way, I’m reading The Sweet Life In Paris right now. Started Sunday, should be done by the end of today. Thanks for publishing!

  • Norine
    March 23, 2011 8:23pm

    Thanks for the reminder of how incredibly fun travel is. Yes, rose hip jam (minus their cilia) would be expensive. Not every rose produces hips, and it would take a bunch of them – both hips and bushes. And then there are the misunderstood translations and mondegreens. You’re the best.

  • March 23, 2011 8:39pm

    In Canada everything is labeled in both French and English. Every Christmas we have to face the rows of Lait de Poule. Somehow that was the best they could do for egg nog. Chicken milk!

  • Jill
    March 23, 2011 8:51pm

    As funny as the jam is, I’m more flabbergasted by your sock story. Pardon my naivete, but they have stores completely devoted to socks in France? And you have to get measured for socks? And why do you have to get measured… ummm… there… for socks? I feel like I’m totally missing out by running to Target for a 6 pack of Hanes Ankle Socks with reinforced toe.

  • March 23, 2011 9:17pm

    I’m still trying to figure out how getting measured for socks has a man driving his thumb into your manparts as if thumbtacking something to a wall…

    Ah, c’est la vie.

  • March 23, 2011 9:19pm

    Hmmmm… There is also a sausage here in Italy called Cuglioni di Mulo (Donkey BALLS) which I have not tried for fear that it really IS donkey balls and I do not need to eat that.

  • March 23, 2011 9:31pm
    David Lebovitz

    Brenna: Yes, I’ve heard a lot of conversations about digestion in France (and plenty about cholesterol as well!) When I moved to France, people I knew were really surprised I didn’t know my cholesterol level and got me so worked up – and concerned – that I made an appointment to get one right away. It was fine but was thinking that perhaps having high cholesterol is another way to take a pill, which is a pretty popular activity.

    robynsk, Jill, et ali: I wrote about the sock store – and a previously embarrassing experience there – in my Paris book. Let’s just say this time I kept my clothes on, thankfully.

    Ed K: I did a post on renting an apartment in Paris. You can find it using the search engine and I have tips there.

    Nicole: I’ve had donkey (or mule?) sausage in France. It wasn’t that delicious, but perhaps there’s good versions. I don’t know which parts it was made from, but I suppose if you’re squeemish, you shouldn’t really be eating sausage in the first place.

    Jacques & Jessica: I did ‘censor’ the title a bit, but yes, the actual translation is a little, um, different…

  • St.-Loup
    March 23, 2011 9:50pm

    David, yes indeedy, the actual translation is somewhat different. If “gratte-ciel” is “skycraper,” then “gratte culs” is….

  • elizabeth bennett
    March 23, 2011 10:16pm


    Here in a VERY politically correct bubble of Southern California, the farmer’s market simply advertises dandelion greens as having diuretic properties. At least that’s the limit of the signs posted in English. Perhaps I shall ask for a translation of some of the signs posted in Korean. Although I have a suspicion that one vendor isn’t completely honest with me. She just says her signs all translate to “good medicine.”

  • Chau
    March 23, 2011 10:37pm

    Giggle, giggle :-) I hope the jam is tasty

  • Catherineap
    March 23, 2011 11:17pm

    In England, the “rustic” name for medlar use to be open-arse. Google a picture and you will see why!

  • March 23, 2011 11:35pm

    Totally cracking me up with this one “However anything that says “scratchy butt” on the label I’m keeping in a closed cabinet”— HAHA!!!

  • March 23, 2011 11:47pm


    very funny. Do you know “Pisse Dru” wine from Beaujolais ?

    Thank you for making me aware of how easily body related subjects are discussed.

    But remember, “on ne parle pas de son corps à table” (don’t discuss your body while sitting at the dinner table). Is that why so many french people eat McDo and Subway sandwishes ?



  • Saphir
    March 24, 2011 12:02am

    About the Pissenlits par la Racine…”manger les pissenlits par la racine” (eat dandelions by the roots) means “pushing up daisies”, ie: be dead. Bon appétit!

  • March 24, 2011 12:38am

    Great story David,

    It is very healthy to read something hilarious as this one and laugh your heart out; although I still do not understand the stock story, unless you were a women? Do people were socks on their private parts in France?

    I must say however, I am not surprised about anything that comes from Europe. It always reminds me my European trip in the early 80s, when going to have a cup of coffee in the Hotel’s bar and a few minutes later a topless women comes in and orders the same; and there were many others in places that in the US we usually were a suit. Of course, someone next to me wanted to extend our stay

  • natasja
    March 24, 2011 12:47am

    Very funny!
    I think you could devote an entire blog on weird (food)names.
    My favourite Dutch one: blote billetjes in het gras. Translates to: bare bums in the field. It’s a dish with white and runner beans…the name is better then the dish I guess…

  • March 24, 2011 1:45am

    What good fun! But it’s only a matter of time before some European blogs about Screaming Sphincter Hot Sauce, or Baboon Gone Rabid Hot Sauce. Or how about Fat Bastard Hawgwash BBQ sauce or Pain is Good Salsa? Hard to top the French in body function bravado, but us Mericans got some dumb ass namin’ too!

  • March 24, 2011 4:12am

    I love rose hip jam. It’s even better if you warm it up a bit. I like adding a little liqueur to mine and spreading it over crepes…

  • Avril
    March 24, 2011 4:51am

    Ha. Love this! Oh dear, I think my Scotch-Irish mom might actually be French!

  • john
    March 24, 2011 5:00am

    I’m surprised that no one has brought up that awful Heinz Spotted Dick from the UK in all these comments.

  • March 24, 2011 5:24am

    If you like funny names, you should go to Switzerland! I lived near a town called Porrentruy, there, which literally means “pig in sow”…

  • March 24, 2011 5:33am


    This has to rank right up there as one of your funniest posts ever – it makes me truly wish that I had the gift for language – but fortunately for me I have your blog!!!

    All I could think of when reading about the socks is that if this were the case in this country I would never get my sons out of flip flops…. (and trust me this is harder than you can imagine!!)

    As for the jam??? I can only hope that it tastes good enough to get past the name….LOL!!!

  • March 24, 2011 5:55am

    My Parisian (Vietnamese) hairdresser thought it was hilarious that we called them “cowlicks”.

    It goes both ways. :)

  • Linda
    March 24, 2011 6:52am

    Ha! Back in the old country, Romania, you ask a fidgety child “Have you eaten rosehips?”
    There is also a potato dough dessert, shaped like elongated gnocchi, called ‘little penises”. Dear Lord, writing it makes it all sound so bad!
    Rosehip jam/paste is wonderful on crepes.

  • March 24, 2011 7:56am

    This post made me chuckle – thank you. From my English childhood, Rosehip seeds were something that you put in someones bed as a joke (mean trick?) to make them itch. A more direct version of a scratchy backside.

  • March 24, 2011 9:29am


    Needed a good laugh and you provided it. I’m still puzzled about the leg measurements in a sock store though!
    I did try yellow raspberry jam once, it is amazing how something as simple as colour affects your response but I shall never think of Rosehip jam in the same way again….now where did I put that hazelnut paste …my homemade croissants are calling!

  • Amei
    March 24, 2011 12:53pm

    I love your attitude and sense of humor. Thanks for posting this on twitter and letting me find you.

    Can’t wait for more.

  • KT
    March 24, 2011 1:49pm

    As a child here in Australia, dandelions were always referred to as “wet-the-beds”.

    Great post David!

  • Annika
    March 24, 2011 1:53pm

    Great story! Thanks!

  • Janet
    March 24, 2011 3:10pm

    I’m currently reading The Auberge of the Flowering Hearth by food writer/gastronome Roy Andries de Groot, set in eastern France near Grenoble. He writes about “Scratch Arse”, an Eau-de Vie Gratte-Cul D’Alsace which they drank after one of their many gastronomic dinners, as well as the many types of “crottins”. A great read for those interested in the delights and traditions of french cuisine.

  • March 24, 2011 3:16pm
    David Lebovitz

    Janet: Isn’t that a great book? It’s one of my all-time favorites.

    Janice: I don’t know if those translate (kind like these..) but glad you know it’s not a European thing. Although I can’t see a chic hostess offering guests that hot sauce!

    to others: The sock story is based on one from the one in my Paris book – oof!

  • March 24, 2011 4:23pm

    Mon Dieu, what do they do to you for a new suit?

  • March 24, 2011 4:38pm

    In Acadian (East-coast French-Canadian) parlance, there’s a pastry called “Pet de Soeur”, or “Nun’s Fart” – supposedly because it’s sweet and light, but I think really it’s a rural mangling of “Pate de Sucre”.

    …and did you know that a popular short, full-skirted women’s jacket of the 18th century is called a “Pet-en-l’aire”?

    March 24, 2011 7:58pm

    just for the record: to SarahBHood and for our general knowledge: it is not:

    nd did you know that a popular short, full-skirted women’s jacket of the 18th century is called a “Pet-en-l’aire”?

    It would be ‘PET EN L’AIR”. Just so we know…

  • March 24, 2011 9:19pm

    Wow, very funny, I have tears in my eyes. I wish folks in the US were a bit more comfortable discussing and applying the practicalities of life.

  • March 24, 2011 11:09pm

    Bonjour David! I’m curious– where is this Auvergne products specialty store located in Paris? I don’t think I know ANY products from that region, and would love to check it out.

  • March 25, 2011 4:00pm

    Wouldn’t that jam be delicious dolloped on a plate of pets de nonne?

  • March 25, 2011 5:14pm

    I’m laughing my un-scratchy ass off!

    About those socks, seriously, what kind of socks are they??

    Merci beaucoup!

  • Marianne
    March 26, 2011 1:30am

    haha I love being a french canadian, best of both worlds.

    The traductions you make are a LOT more polite than what it actually means! It would literally sound like: scratchy ass and goat poop. And by the way, nun’s farts are delicious ^^

  • Jean-Ben
    March 26, 2011 5:35am

    I don’t think it’s been mentioned but here in Quebec (Canada) “Gratte-cul” is sometimes used as an adjective that somewhat means undemanding, soft/easy. I’ll give an exemple :
    (French first!) : Le cours de Mr. X est plutôt gratte-cul comparé à celui de Mr. Y.
    Mr. X’s class is softer than Mr. Y’s class.
    Another exemple : It was pretty slow at work today.
    Ça été assé gratte-cul au travail aujourd’hui.
    Anyway, if I were you I’d stick with the french from France!
    Great “blog” by the way !

  • Sara-Melba
    March 26, 2011 2:41pm


    My Southern grandmother, Melba Emma-Lou, who cooked everything, was once asked how to cook kidneys. She replied, ” You boil the piss out of them.” She would have loved your article.

    Love your charm and wit.

  • March 26, 2011 6:53pm

    You’re so right! I laughed out loud when I read this. French people are way too forthcoming about bodily functions for my puritanical American ears. I know a lot more about some of my friends’ digestive systems’ reactions to various fruits than I ever wanted to, but they just say it, like it’s no big deal. “Les raisins me donnent la chiasse.” I can’t imagine anyone saying that in the states… or saying “bedwetting greens.”

  • March 27, 2011 11:21am

    Probably shouldn’t have the jam with the suppositoire du diable cheese we had in the Loire.

  • Jeanne
    March 27, 2011 10:20pm

    why do they measure your legs at the sock store?
    I can only imagine what happened last time ;)

  • mandarine
    March 27, 2011 10:38pm

    Hi David and Romain, just fan of your blog and your books, but:
    in a very chic and bourgeois home, they would say: do you want some “confiture de cynorhodons”? (usual botanical name)

  • March 28, 2011 8:13am

    Ha! There is a cheese I’ve seen at De Laurenti in Pike Place Market (I love living in Seattle) that is called “Trou de cru.” I just looked it up and found that it is actually French! But in any case I giggle every time because obviously it is a raw milk cheese and … hee hee hee. Trou de cru.

  • Sarah
    April 4, 2011 11:53pm

    Hi David,

    Actually, my French mother-in-law makes this jam (I have made it with her and can attest to the scratchy seeds!) but my family has always called it confiture d’eglantine. It is by far my favorite jam that she makes, so don’t keep it too far back in your cabinet.

  • sonia
    April 10, 2011 4:35am

    hey david

    confiture de gratte-culs translates to “backside scratcher jam”