Some things the French have observed about the English have crept into their language. Our love of custard had led to the dessert being called ‘crème anglaise’. However, I was astonished to learn that it is never eaten warm. One of my retired students was describing what he made in his soup maker. The machine could blend and heat eggs, sugar, vanilla and milk to make ‘crème anglaise’. ‘Then, while it is nice and hot you eat it?’ I asked. ‘No, you put it in the fridge to cool,’ he said. All of my students affirmed that ‘crème anglaise’ is always eaten cold. So don’t expect hot custard on your ‘tarte tatin’.

A garden with flower beds and winding paths is described as ‘un jardin à l’anglaise’.  Something that we are often guilty of is ‘filer à l’anglaise’ which means to leave a gathering without saying goodbye to everyone. It’s hard enough getting used to going round everyone in the room to shake their hand or to kiss them upon arrival, without having to repeat the whole process when we leave. In our family we try to avoid it by calling out a loud, ‘Goodbye’ to everyone and giving an expansive wave of the hand. So yes, we do have a tendency to ‘filer à l’anglaise’.

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