The simple vegetable, often thought to have been originally purple in colour and changed by the Dutch to its most common colour today in honour of their Royal household has the ability to get people into trouble.
In the United Kingdom, a maxim well used is: “eat your carrots, they’ll help you see in the dark.”
Unfortunately, as I’ve just found out, it doesn’t mean at all the same thing in France. I was at a party just recently, celebrating a birthday where there weren’t enough candles available. We were a small family gathering, I was there with The Laydee of the House, she being the best friend since skool years of the wife of the birthday boy, along with the surviving parents of the couple.
I’d met my friends murder in law a few times, a very pleasant lady, but one currently recovering from a fall so was slightly incapacitated.
The day turned to night, more champagne was consumed, we ate, more wine was consumed, it got dark and started to turn colder. Towards midnight the murder in law got up from her chair to go into the house. Leaving the lit cover of the gazebo to walk the 20 or so metres to the house it got very dark indeed, so as she passed me I stood up to help her and said to her “I hope you’ve eaten enough carrots this evening.”
The hum of conversation stopped, it seemed the entire world was all of a sudden staring at my rapidly reddening face. The Laydee of The House did a massive facepalm.
It was then that I learned that in France, to tell someone to eat their carrots is telling them they’re an unpleasant person, eating carrots makes you friendlier, less nasty.
It was an uncomfortable few minutes for me as I explained to the assembled throng that I did indeed mean the English version, although I did note the birthday boy smiling behind his hand.
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