Jan 13, 2014

F*** That: Trou de Cru

Anthony picks the girls up from their hip-hop class, and parents are invited in for the last ten minutes of class to watch. He finds himself a bit dumbstruck, watching the 8-12 year olds dance their hip hop routine to a song called "Loca People" that includes the following lyrics: "When I came to Spain, and I saw people partying, I thought to myself, what the fuck...Johnny, la gente esta muy loca, What the fuck...Viva los DJ's, what the fuck....What the fuck,What the fuck."

Gigi and Pippa are the only non-French kids in class, and certainly Anthony is the only adult anglophone in the room. The F-bomb is raining down on the children, as they do their pop-and-lock robots. None of the other parents even flinch.

Though many of them probably know of the "F" word, swearing just does not have the same impact in a foreign language. Frankly, it's even hard to swear properly in a foreign language when you want to. I remember meeting a Chinese man who spoke truly incredible English. You could almost believe he was American until he said that something was "unbe-fuckin'-lievable." This was the linguistic kiss of death, as any native speaker would know to say "un-fuckin'-believable."

I realize I will probably never curse like a native French person, but it would help to at least recognize the words, since for years when talking to little children about bumping into something ("cogne") I mistakenly used the pejorative word "con" -- which I have since seen translated as: complete idiot, arse-wipe, dick-head, shit-for-brains, stupid bastard, fuckwit, and utter twat, among others.

So here's a cursory coarse curse course from my French friend Aurore:
  • mon cul = my ass. Same meaning as the softer mon oeil = my eye. Meaning, "bullshit." Has been said by her teenage son to her. Not horribly shocking, but don't say it to a teacher.
  • trou de cul = asshole. C'est vraiment un trou de cul. What an asshole.
  • con, and by extension connard and connasse (masculine and feminine versions) = ass, cunt, prick, basically all pejorative words for genitalia rolled into one.
    • Quelle connard! What an asshole.
    • Gros con = big asshole.
    • Petit con = small asshole. Could be said to kids in the South of France, but not in the North, where they are more puritanical. According to Aurore. Who is from the South.
  • merde = Shit! A child could say the softer version of this -- "mince!" in public. But the word "merde" itself is considered a very bad word.
    • As an alternative, you can say, "Je te dis les cinq lettres," meaning "I say the five letters to you," as in the awful five-letter word. As an American, looking at these words in translation, it's hard to see "merde" as worse than "con," but the French do.
    • Can also be called "le mot de Cambronne," Cambronne being Napoleon's general whose answer to the Brit's demand for surrender at Waterloo was this carefully-chosen nugget.
  • pétas (in the South), pétasse (in the North) = whore
  • putain or pute = whore, and also every possible other thing in the world. Eggs are undercooked? Putain. This putain car is not parked properly. The pute dress is out of stock in my putain size. While its meaning is vague, the sentiment is clear. Children should not say this in school.
  • ta gueule = Shut the Fuck Up! Not to be confused with "taisez-vous" = shut up, but more in a "be quiet" way. Whereas "taisez-vous" is said by teachers to children, "ta gueule" is used by drugged up gang members about to get into a knife fight.
  • dégage or casse-toi = Beat it! Get lost!
  • va te faire.... Aurore, a lovely French woman with a posh English accent, cheerfully spews out a string of these "Va te faire..." curses:
    • Va te faire foutre! = Go fuck yourself!
    • Va te faire mettre! = Go get yourself fucked!
    • Va te faire enculer! = Go get yoursef fucked up the ass!
    • Va te faire sodomiser! = Go get yourself sodomized!
    • Va te faire chez les grecs! = Go get done to you whatever those Greek guys are doing, probably with sheep, in the horrible stereotypes we all enjoy perpetuating!
  • When I ask about "fou-toi," which I was taught in American jr. high and high school was "fuck you," I am met with a a blank stare. "No, that's not correct French. It's 'va te faire foutre.'"
I have to include this:

Here, the French gesture that accompanies any of these words (and especially useful in cases of road rage) is demonstrated by my brother and a little artist's model:

And so, having exhausted my knowledge of French curse words and probably horrified my mother and caused my prudish grandmother to roll over in her grave, I leave you with the request that you click here to see why even though this may be a bitch of a shitty posting, I think you'd be a total asswipe not to fucking learn how to curse when you're living in a goddamn foreign country.

THE CHEESE: Trou de Cru
Trou de Cru, which literally means "raw hole", is made from cooked cow's milk, which is not the same as pasteurized cow's milk, but it's not really actually raw either, despite the name of the cheese. Thérmisation is a process in which milk is heated for 15 seconds between 57-68 °C in order to kill harmful bacteria with less damage to the milk than full pasteurization. It's an industrial cheese, made by the Berthaut group.
It's washed during its three week affinage period with marc de Bourgogne, which comes from the same region, Burgundy and the Côte d'Or ("Golden Coast" which refers to parts of Burgundy that are not coastal at all...). It's an orange, gooey cheese that is high, high, high on the stinkometer, and is sometimes called a "Petit Epoisses" and, in fact, was invented in the early 1980s to be something akin to an individual serving size of Epoisses. It's got a strong taste to match, and though it is reputed to have floral overtones, I cannot find them beneath the huge gym sock stink. Compared to an actual Epoisses, it is even less fruity and more acidic.
Trou de Cru is so smelly, it needs to be kept under glass. Literally.

So Trou de Cru is from a coast that's not a coast, is a raw cheese made from cooked milk, and is called a hole despite the fact that it has no hole and is not a hole itself. Go figure.


"Cru" -- the word for "raw" -- is the basis for our English word "crude" which certainly describes this posting. Also, the translation of this cheese -- "raw hole" -- just sounds like a great derogatory curse word. And it's smelly. So don't complain about this connection, you stinkin' raw hole.


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