The best condom-free sausages in France


They are used to picky foreigners in the markets in and around Aix-en-Provence.

There’s always someone wanting to know about the life of the slaughtered chicken they want to buy.

Did the chicken house have indoor-outdoor flow?

“What’s English for ‘free range?'” you’ll hear one vendor say to another.

Did the chicken have a balanced, chicken-free diet?

“Yes of course, Madame!”

Was the chicken organic?

Oui, c’est tout bio,

And local? Was its carbon feather print the size of a small chicken or an enormous pterodactyl?

Oui, c’est de la region – juste à coté d’Aix [Just down the road},” they’ll say agreeably.

In fact, market vendors are so agreeable that a cynic might wonder if they are simply providing the correct answers to questions they consider to be quite pointless.

So I wasn’t surprised to see bemusement on the faces of several butchers in several different markets and meat stalls when I asked whether their fresh or dried sausages contained preservatives.

Mais non madame,” they responded with the same smile.

Comedians each and every one of them.

It was a video I stumbled onto on Youtube that informed me of my mistake – a common one, as it turns out.

You see the word préservatif  means condom in France. It does not mean conservateurs  – the chemicals used to extend the shelf life of food.

That’ll teach me for trying on English words with a French accent (although it often works!).

I swear that I asked that question of at least six butchers over a period of months before I learned my mistake.

Not one of them pointed out my error.

Instead they all promised deadpan, hand on heart, that their sausages were 100 per cent condom-free.

3 thoughts on “The best condom-free sausages in France

  1. That’s so funny Karen! I seem to remember getting a similar smile in a restaurant when me and my sister-in-law said we couldn’t possibly eat more because we were so full. It turns out we were saying we were pregnant.

  2. Finally… catching up with your blog Karen, on a warm overcast Xmas morning in Auckland! What a delight! Leo is especially amused, and wants to read it all – but I told him we’d leave some for tomorrow and the rest of our (long awaited) holidays :-)!
    Lots of love and Merry Xmas to you and the boys!!
    Biba, Vlad and Leo

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