Quel œuf!

Today I read an article in Le Monde in praise of the egg and listing the many egg related idiomatic expressions. I’ve added a few more:

  • quel œuf! (kel euf) – what an idiot!
  • faire l’œuf  – to play the fool
  • marcher sur des œufs – to walk on eggs
  • ne pas mettre ses œufs dans le même panier – don’t put all one’s eggs in the same basket
  • tuer la poule aux œufs d’or – to kill the hen who lays the golden eggs
  • conduire avec un œuf sous l’accélérateur – to drive with an egg beneath the accelerator (drive carefully in bad weather)
  • avoir la tête pleine comme un œuf – to have one’s head full to bursting
  • va te faire cuire un œuf – go fry an egg! (get lost)
  • il tondrait un œuf – he’s so cheap, he’d shave an egg
  • étouffer dans l’œuf – to nip something in the bud

And why not praise the humble egg? French cuisine would be lost without it. Imagine life without an omelette, quiche, or crème brulée. The article quoted Grimod de la Raynière who said, “Les œufs sont d’une si indispensable nécessité que le cuisinier le plus habile renoncerait à son art, si on lui en interdisait l’usage,” which means “Eggs are of such an indispensible necessity that the most able cook would renounce his art if he was forbidden to use them.” France loves eggs so much, they have their own day (October 12, I just missed it).

The simple egg can be served:

  • brouillé – scrambled
  • à la neige – floating island dessert
  • à la coq / mollet – soft-boiled
  • dur – hard-boiled
  • sur le plat / au plat – fried
  • poché – poached
  • œuf à cheval – a dish served with a fried egg on top

Whether in a savory idiom or sweet dish, lift your fork in honor of the indispensible egg today.


About Patricia Gilbert

Patricia Gilbert is a French teacher. She's Canadian, lives in the United States, but dreams of living in France. Follow her on Instagram @Onequalitythefinest and on Twitter @1qualthefinest.
This entry was posted in Cuisine and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Quel œuf!

  1. Emma Lee says:

    I really enjoyed reading all your eggy expressions! Thanks for sharing!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s