Jan 31, 2015

Count On It: Trois Laits


Such a simple little thing, counting on your fingers. Yet even here there are cultural differences, and about the only thing the Francophones and Anglophones agree on is that all five fingers represents the #5.

In English, when we count off something on our hand, it's index finger, then index-and-middle, until we reach #4 by holding all four fingers in the air, our thumb tucked into our palm.

In French, they start with the thumb and work their way to the pinkie. None of this back-and-forthing in multiple directions; it's as if we Anglophones are counting in some confusing Imperial system and the French in logical, linear metrics.

Now, if you really want to go far afield, finger-counting-wise, try Chinese. Here 1-5 are fairly straightforward, counting like an Anglophone. But from there on, you can continue counting up to ten -- with one hand. French and English speakers need two hands to go above 5. Shown below, Chinese 6, 7, 8, and 9.

And below, one-handed Chinese 10 (fist closed), although I also learned it in Taiwan with crossed fingers.

The Chinese can win the hand-counting contest with one-hand tied behind their backs, but whether the French way is better than the Anglophone way is debatable. I will say this, though, starting at one end and counting to the other end, French-style, means that #1 gets the thumbs up, literally.

THE CHEESE: Trois Laits

Trois Laits is, as you might expect, a cheese made of three milks: cow, sheep, and goat. It's a hard cheese, made in the style of, well, a hard cow, a hard sheep, or a hard goat cheese. But with all three milks, get it?

It's between rubbery and creamy with a mild sweetness to it. No strong flavor comes out of any particular milk, nor of any herbs or other molds. My notes to myself say "it tastes generally cheesy." I think that sums it about up quite nicely.


How many milks are used to make this cheese? One, two, three. You know how many fingers that is, but which fingers depends on your native language.


  1. I increasingly see folks count by starting with a closed fist and extending one finger at a time, starting with the pinky. I wonder if this is a West Coast thing?


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