Saturday, 25 April 2015

Play on words

The French, as the British in their newspaper headlines, are very keen on plays on words in all forms: witty, funny, clever, but also plain stupid, or unfathomable for foreigners.

Epis & Riz - Cormatin
The best ones however are the “jokes” based on a foreign language, mostly on English. An example? “Yes, we can!” This slogan was meant for the Fête de la Voie Verte, a weekend with demonstrations by arts and craftsmen and women and stands for the inevitable wine tastings along the Voie Verte, a long cycle path. What this had to do with Obama? Nothing, really, except that the festival took place during a weekend, and that “Yes, we can!” automatically should be associated with “Yes, weekend!”. Far-fetched? Oh no, there are even better ones available!

Cormatin has for years now an épicerie/rotisserie, run by Monsieur B. The shop is well known, and rightly so, for its freshly ground coffee, sold by the bag, its thick slices of exquisite ham at € 1 a piece and for its grilled chickens. The shop is called an épicerie, a grocer, originally a shop selling épices which are spices; nowadays the word stands for an ordinary grocery shop. Monsieur B. had an assortment as can be found in any village grocery shop. Recently he decided to stop his activities and enjoy his well-earned pension.
His shop was taken over by someone who wanted to maintain the shop’s proven formula, and Monsieur B.’s shop started a second life, albeit under a different name.
What could be an appropriate name for a shop of this nature? The answer is as logical as it is French: “Epis & Riz” (Ears of Wheat & Rice) of course! When one slurs a bit and does not articulate properly, “épis et riz” sounds very similar to “’épicerie”, does it not? Monsieur B. still helps out on busy days in his former shop, and the ham, grilled chickens and freshly ground coffee are still available.

If you would like to check whether this story is true, visit La Tuilerie de Chazelle.

1 comment:

  1. Good call -- I'm not sure I would have picked up the play on words here!