(asked by anonymous)

OK, French toast: le pain perdu, French fries: les frites, but what is a French kiss?

Really? You don’t know what it is? Do you need me to show you?
Oh… You meant, what is it in French?
Well, it’s doesn’t really have a special name actually (or it’s totally escaping me right now… somebody? tell me I don’t have Alzheimer’s yet) apart from “un baiser” (a kiss).
Maybe because a French kiss is the standard kiss (between two lovers of course) in France.

And while I’m on the topic of “French” things in English, just be aware that very often, what you call French something has a very remote link to France.
For example, you’ll never find French toast in France (they’re not exactly “pains perdus” even if I assume they have a common origin).
Even if the place of invention of the French fries is up to debate, they’re generally considered a Belgian thing in Europe, not a French one. One can argue that it was a French guy -Parmentier- that popularized the consumption of potatoes in Europe (and thus ending famines, except that one time when the Irish ran out of the thing).
Why are the French cut green beans and the French roast coffee are called as such still puzzle me to this day.
Any other?

And don’t worry, we do the same things with “American” things in France.
For example, do you know what American sandwiches, American kitchens, American sauces, American bars are?

pixel What is a French kiss?

8 Responses to “What is a French kiss?”

  1. I have a friend who is here in America from France who was utterly puzzled by “French Vanilla” coffee creamer. In fact, she said vanilla isn’t all that popular in France in general.

    I am very curious about your “American” items….I always wondered if we were a generic standard for anything in France (all wise cracks aside, of course )

  2. To give a french kiss = rouler une pelle.

    And yes, french people just can’t make decent fries. There’re so clueless about them that they use vegetable fat to fry them.

  3. I’ve heard “un patin” for a French kiss, or “rouler une pelle” for the action of French kissing. Neither of those are very proper French though…

  4. Sauce amĂ©ricaine (armoricaine)…

    French chalk, French cleaning, French dressing, French plums, French polish, French roll, French whiting, French window, French loaf, French horn…

    (The importance is the French touch!) :-)

  5. I agree with Peter - in the non-french world, the addition of a “French” qualifier elevates the object or action [or person!] to a perceived higher level of esteem and value!
    And I believe that by bestowing a long passionate kiss as a “French Kiss” just makes it sound [and is] that much more delicious!!

  6. OMG! Sometimes, I tell me students that in America frites are called, “French fries” and we have a good laugh about it… Also, French Roast coffee…..hahahahahaha - I used to sell this when I worked at a coffee shop! What the heck IS French Roast coffee?!!

  7. Before WWII people in America called French Toast ‘German Toast.’ So perhaps it is a German thing after all.

    French Fries and French Cut Beans are both julienne cut… and the fries are ‘French deep fat fried.’ It is the same sort of jumbled up use of terms that turn them into ‘French’ anything and a street lined with a run of crush sized gravel in to ‘crusher-run’ in America.

    “Nobody knows what anything is…let’s call it French and sell more!”

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