clafouti

One Fancy Ass Dessert, Comin’ Right Up

I can admit when I am wrong. Over time, it has become clear that the world is a better place when people just own up to their mistakes. For instance, if I forget to ring in an order and table 12’s well-done burger sits in my apron for ten minutes before I remember to ring it in, I am flat out honest with the table and tell them why their food is taking so long. It’s better than blaming it on the kitchen or some other bullshit excuse. I think it makes your table appreciate your honesty and then tip you better. It’s not easy to admit that I have made a mistake, but that is what I am going to do right now. Last week at work, I mispronounced the specialty dessert to about four or five tables without realizing that I was letting myself sound like a complete and utter idiot.

When I get to work, I look at the specials list and try to commit them to memory. Nobody wants to hear their server read a list of specials off of a piece of paper. It takes about two minutes to memorize the four specials and three desserts so I do it in order to appear professional to my guests. After my first table of the evening was finished with their meal, I approached them with a dessert menu and began to explain what the specials were. One of the desserts was something I had never heard of. It was called a “clafoutis.” (See picture above.) It’s a French dessert that is pronounced all Frenchy. Click here to hear its proper pronunciation. It was described to me as a warm cranberry dessert that is similar to a custard-like cake. As I began my description of it, I suddenly could not remember what it was called. I hadn’t written it down, so I just went for it. I called it a flatooey. Yes, a flatooey. I may as well have called it a shipoopi. Or a Zamboni. I said it with 100% confidence like there really was a fucking French dessert called a flatooey. The guy at the table started laughing when I said it and my stupid ass thought he was laughing with me, not at me. I gave him a look that said, “I know, isn’t that the craziest name for a dessert you have ever heard?” I rolled my eyes having no idea he probably knew that I was trying to say clafoutis.

I went on to a couple more tables with my lack of French dessert knowledge. Finally, I went back to the board to see what kind of sauce the other dessert came with and that was when I realized I had been calling the fancy French dessert a fucking flatooey all night long. It struck me as funny and I started to giggle. The chef asked me what was so funny, but I didn’t dare tell him that I was totally botching up his dessert description all night. Years and years in the restaurant business and here I was felled by the pronunciation of one single dessert. My humble upbringing had bitten me hard in the ass. Desserts of Ding-Dongs, Pop Tarts, Betty Crocker and candy bars had not prepared me for a centuries-old fancy-ass dessert from France called a clafoutis. I corrected my pronunciation, but still did not know it was French. For the rest of the night, I pronounced it like I was in Texas and didn’t give it a hint of a French accent. It wasn’t until I got home that night and Googled it, that I learned the proper way to say it. All night I said it like I was offering them a fucking Moon Pie with Blue Bell ice cream. “Why hi thar folks, Maybe y’alled like to try this high falutin‘ dessert we gots tonight called a clawfootie. It shore is good. Granny done cooked it up in the backyard next to the cement pond. Y’all come back now, ya hear?” God, I’m an idiot.

By the way, I also learned that since it was served with cranberries and not cherries, the dessert was technically called a flaugnarde. So I wasn’t the only one who was wrong that night.

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26 thoughts on “One Fancy Ass Dessert, Comin’ Right Up

  1. ChiTown Girl

    I'm absolutely NOT laughing at you (ok, maybe a little!) because I had never heard of a clafoutis before last night myself. One of the cooking blogs that I read regularly had a recipe for a clafoutis posted last night, and it was the first time I had ever seen the word before. I guess that makes us both country bumpkins. 😉

    Reply
  2. LittleTytoAlba

    Haha! Bugger the French and all their crazy language stands for! No offense to French readers or people who simply like to name their delectable deserts after the French, but is it really so hard to name your dish something pronounce-able? The fancy name won’t make your fancy desert taste better. Only good cooking will. /snark off

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  3. Elizabeth Singleton

    Hi-LARious! Don't feel bad- I bake a lot and I'm 1/4 french and I've never heard of a flatooey. I mean, shipoopi, er… clafoutis. 😉 What the eff kind of name is that anyway? Too funny! I LOVE reading your blog by the way. Thanks for the laughs!

    Reply
  4. Krissy

    Silly little mistakes happen to me all the time at my job. Last week for some reason I would great my table(s), "Hi. How is everyone doing today? My name is Kristi; I'll be your server today. Can I get you all started on desert?..(We all laugh)..I mean an appetizer?"And then they'll end up ordering an app.My tables love my honesty. We joke all the time.

    Reply
  5. femanonlove

    Bitchy, if you can find me somewhere that will actually serve a Moon Pie with Blue Bell outside of Texas, you'll find me. I'd rather that than some French thing anyways.

    Reply
  6. Karate Los Angeles

    Back in college, I worked in an Italian restaurant and butchered half the desserts. It happens to the best of us. Eventually, though, the managers made a little cheat sheet in the kitchen to help us pronounce them better. Maybe you guys should start doing that, too? Just for safety!

    Reply
  7. Rachel

    I'm not laughing at you…I'm laughing at people who actually know this shit (and probably take it VERY seriously).Who the fuck eats something called a clau-whatever, or even knows the difference between that and whatever it is that comes with cranberries? People with two children who are named Thaddeus IV and Ernestine who are in prep school so that plebian children don't infect them, that's who. Dessert is supposed to be fun.

    Reply
  8. Little redhead

    Haha well to everyone who is nagging about the name, in France the name is pretty normal, it's a pretty famous pie desert. It's a French desert, hence the name is French, to them the name is not fancy, just French. Everything with a French name sounds fancy to Americans :p Not everything can have an English name.

    Reply
  9. Anonymous

    "Lil' Redhead" has it right.Its a normal name in french, not fancy at all. Just beacuse its not in english…meh whats the point. "Sundae" is a fancy name for dressed up ice cream- go bitch about that.Great story btw- its the responses that suck.

    Reply
  10. January Dawn

    This post killed me. I had tears literally rolling down my face and couldn't stop laughing even after I read it. It reminded me of the time a guy in front of me at a take out sandwich restaurant ordered a focaccia sandwich and pronounced it Foh-ka-chee-ah. I still can't see the word without wanting to pronounce it that way. And now clafoutis will always be flatooey.Awesome.

    Reply
  11. Anonymous

    I have been reading your fabulous blog for the last couple of hours. This post had me nearly falling off the bed. I had to stop reading for a second or I was going to laugh myself into an asthma attack. Thanks, that was just what I needed!

    Reply
  12. Kill Natalie

    This is by far my favorite post you've ever done. I was pretty much crying with laughter throughout the whole thing. Can you please release a book so I can buy it and recommend it to everyone I know?

    Reply

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