The Scent of French Words and Lavender Ice CreamPublished July 16, 2017
Lavande. Miel. Gamine. Coquette – Lavender, Honey, Young Girl, Flirty. Does not sound the same in English, does it?
Yesterday after a sun-filled day at the beach, jumping into the ocean like children, and building a sandcastle with a little friend (who was more interested in covering my feet with sand), we went through our summer ritual, and searched for an awesome ice cream parlor. (So far, Los Angeles has proven disappointing in this arena, except for Café de la Plage in Malibu).
We found Rori’s on Montana, a hoity -toity area near Santa Monica. It’s a tiny, unassuming little shop, but the honey lavender called me. Although their ice creams are not unforgettable, I did savor this one. The notes of lavender were strong, Provence- strong, and it took me back to a strange memory from my twenties, backpacking through Provence.
I do not remember the name of the little town I was in, but it had a bustling market going on, so I sat down in a chair near the fountain, and I watched.
The scent of oysters and fishiness was pungent in the air. Notes of musty truffles nearby, punctuated the “ripeness” of it all. A French market is never sterile. You smell everything. Then I remember the peaches, how does one describe that scent? Pêche ……. In French it is also the same word for sin. Sweet sin.
I have the sense of smell of a wolf, I’ve been told, so there I sat sniffing the market, its goods and its people.
The most memorable one was this: a young girl – Gamine – very Coquette in her shorty shorts, came bouncing into my view with an ice cream cone with two lavender-colored scoops. She sat down very near me, and slowly as I watched her eat her ice cream, I swear to the gods! I started smelling the lavender coming from it. Then the honey. Then the cone – that straw-like smell that is hard to describe.
She looked at me. I looked away. A bit embarrassed by how I was smelling her.
I tuned my nose to the oysters instead – Huitres.
All French words are not created equal.
Neither scents, nor ice cream!
And we craft memories from them all. Here’s to the next one!