The Long-Suffering Sarah and I decided to make the best of a class in high school with which neither of us was particularly enamoured. It wasn’t even so much that we didn’t like French class. It was that we didn’t really appreciate the exercises we had to do. Our teacher one year insisted on having the students create les diologues using the vocabulary and declensions we were learning at the time. This, educationally, is a brilliant strategy. But it was boring.
I mean, there we were, two students who did fairly well academically, having to fill out (at times) preformatted paragraphs with sentence endings left blank. Things like: Je n’ai pas fait mes devoirs parce que… (we finished that one with “mes mains ont été agrafés au plafond”, and Je n’aime pas faire la vaisselle parce que… “je suis hydrophobe”. Granted, we learned a LOT more French this way, and our escapades usually resulted in our teacher trying desperately not to bust a gut while the rest of the class screamed for a translation.
So one of our “diologues” was to make a presentation to the class for Christmas. The Long-Suffering Sarah and I decided we would do a cooking show. We baked cupcakes and cookies the night before our “show”, and then made sure we had an inflatable santa with forks taped to its head (because we were making “les petits gâteaux aux reindeer”. And we couldn’t find an inflatable reindeer so we had to dress Santa up.
The inflatable part is important because étape 1 is the étape in which we murdered the reindeer. Can’t make les petits gâteaux aux reindeer without tuer les rennes. Right? Right. So we had this inflatable Santa-cum-reindeer all inflated at the front of the class, and, in very meticulous French, we listed all of the ingredients you’d need (beurre, sucre, farine, les oeufs, un renne), and then we began to outline the process.
We stabbed the ever-loving shite out of that reindeer, then jumped about on its corpse and shoved the whole thing into le four for a set amount of time. Whence we had previously stashed the cupcakes and cookies.
That was the second-best French presentation we ever made. (The first was the one in which I played an American tourist in a restaurant in Portugal. I was ordering in broken French, and the Long-Suffering Sarah was answering in Portugese. We got good marks in spite of not using very much French, because we’d demonstrated we could conjugage the verbs properly in three languages.)