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Aug 24, 2014

Important & Interesting: Le Grand Gousier

THE STORY:

Sure, we all think different things are interesting or important, but for an English-speaker in France, there's not just a cultural difference, but also a linguistic one, that can make boring things "intéressant" and mundane things "important".


In French, something might interesting or important in the English sense, but there are two other meanings that are even more commonly used. Something "intéressant" is, simply, inexpensive (or at least a very good deal).

Something "important" is significant, as in, the difference between the quality of two diamonds might be important. The correction in Gigi's glasses prescription is also important. There is construction going on at a local metro station that is "important" enough to interrupt the flow of traffic, but it's not particularly important.

THE CHEESE: Le Grand Gousier

Le Grand Gousier is a pasteurized goats' milk cheese from the Vendée, marbled with ash and coated with a thick, dry, orange crust. More interestingly (to me, at least), Grand Gousier is a character created by François Rabelais, who lived from 1483 or 1494 till 1553. The Grand Gousier is a glutton who likes to drink and eat salty foods. He's an important character, in that he's the husband of Gargamelle (which must be where les Schtroumpfs -- the Smurfs -- got the name), who is the daughter of the King of the Butterflies. Their child is Gargantua.


Now, back to the cheese. It's one of the many Vendéen cheeses I try in the grocery store, and it has that cheaper grocery store quality about it. However, I will easily allow that I prefer it to all the other cheeses I try from here. It's got a decent creamy-firm texture and a pleasant -- if not quite bland -- mellow flavor.


THE CONNECTION:

Le Grand Gousier that I taste is intéressant, in the French slang sense that it's on sale, and therefore cheap (but I still don't want to buy it). It's not particularly interesting in the English sense because it's not that exciting or memorable, taste-wise.



And is it important? Well, it's grand. I mean, it's got "grand" right there in the name. But it's not particularly grand, nor big ("grand"), nor important, nor important, in English or français.

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