How French Food Taught Me The Importance of Google Translate
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How French Food Taught Me The Importance of Google Translate

No amount of Rosetta Stone could've prepared my family for this.

How French Food Taught Me The Importance of Google Translate

The summer before I left for college, my parents decided to take the family on a trip to France. All of us were very excited for the trip and my parents, having been out of the country a few times before, felt adequately seasoned in preparing for such a trip.

Our experience began after sitting through a twelve-hour flight, leaving everyone tired and hungry. Despite this, we decided to get to our first destination before stopping to eat. After about three hours of undisturbed farmland, we decided that we would just stop at whatever town we came across first. It was honestly more of a village than a town - one where there was only one traffic light and the grocery store was more of a 7-Eleven. This, of course, meant that not a single person spoke a lick of English. But after stopping roughly seven people on the street in hopes of finding a restaurant, we were finally able to find a bistro nearby. Once seated, we eagerly poured over a menu, only to (unsurprisingly) find it to be written completely in French. However, all of us had downloaded a translator app, so not to worry. My stepdad, sister, and I began to use our phones to be able to decide what we'd eat, but my mom did not. She said that she recognized a decent amount of what was listed and could decide on her own, and considering the foreign countries she's been to, this wasn't all that unbelievable. So, when the waitress came back, we placed our orders. As she walked away, she was laughing, but we figured it was a "oh these weird American tourists" kind of laugh.

We were very wrong. By the time our food was brought to us, not only was the waitress laughing, but the table of old French men sitting nearby were, as well. This was because my mom, having been a little too confident in her French understanding, had mixed something up when she placed her order. She thought she had ordered ratatouille - a vegetable dish. What she had actually said was andouille, which was apparently a massive sausage that stunk to high heaven and looked a massive dick. They might as well have served it with a side of meatballs. When we realized this, my sister and I began to laugh so hard we cried. My mom, on the other hand, was very embarrassed - as she is the kind of person who won't even eat a banana in public without breaking off bite size pieces. Lucky for her, my stepdad decided to earn himself some extra brownie points and switched plates with her. So while he sacrificed not only his taste buds but a portion of his pride, my mom enjoyed a delicious plate of steak au poivre (something he often reminds her of).

Every other meal we had after this was absolutely amazing, what with France being the culinary capital of the world. But no amount of foie gras could ever make my family forget such an occurrence.

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