Languages behave in different ways, English absorbs, accepts, uses and discards new words every day. English bilingual dictionaries proudly display a large English section compared to the other language.
Now French is a language which relies on structures. Grammar is rigid, uncompromising. There is only one right way, get it wrong and a crime is committed.
So when it comes to foreign words we hit a world of confusion. For most people, it may not matter greatly but if you were born French and worked for decades with languages then a simple recipe can create havoc, even before looking at the ingredients.
A couple of month ago, I was very fortunate to find a last century practical encyclopedia of healing food, for 50p in a charity shop. Among hundreds of recipes it contains a recipe for what looked like a kind of Pain Bagnat. Having a particular fondness for Pains Bagnats, stuffed breads, originating from Nice. I was readying myself for a 5 minutes enjoyment reading the recipe when suddenly brain did a double take on the title.
This is a Courgette, Mushroom and Pesto (so far so good) Panino. I knew of panini and if when in a state of starvation or in the position when choice was required paninis (plural) but it never occurred to me that I was incorrectly using the word. Then "salami", raised its ugly head, should that be "salamo".
Drop the newly bought ancient encyclopedia with a thump and grab the fablette to get to Wikipedia which revealed that, "In some English- and French-speaking countries, panini is sometimes used as a singular word (like salami also an Italian plural noun) and sometimes incorrectly pluralized as paninis."
But it gets worse, "In Italian, panino refers properly to a bread roll and panino imbottito (stuffed panino) to a sandwich.....Panino is also often used to refer to a sandwich in general."
Now utterly confused, words had deserted me. So here is a picture step by step
Courgette, Mushroom and Pesto Panino
For this recipe, you'll need:
1 small round loaf
3 tablespoon olive oil
250g small round mushrooms
1 tsp oregano
3 tbsp pesto
50g gr salad
250g Taleggio cheese ( which I didn't use in my recipe)
salt and pepper to season