Monday, 7 July 2014

Aperitif, pre dinner drinks

Most of the time the English language has the upper hand when it comes to one word replacing a phrase.Words like jet- lag, weekend,jogging, leggings, are happily incorporated into other languages. Sometimes though we need to borrow a word from another language to make life easier. One of these is aperitif. What a lovely word. We would have to say pre- dinner drinks. Aperitif sounds much more friendly and fun. In Italy it has been turned  into aperitivo  to make it sound more homely , but we can't do much with it in English so it has stayed as aperitif. Sooner or later on  holiday you might be invited for an aperitif . It is less of a commitment than being invited for a meal and lots of people can be catered for without the palaver of a proper meal. So you could find yourself with a whole mix of fellow  Europeans , Belgians, French, Germans , Italians all having a great time learning how to say Cheers in each others language and having lots of laughs. It always takes me back to our family camping holidays. My dad took great delight in sitting around a table on a flimsy camping stool drinking dubious red wine from a plastic cup on holiday . Proust, Prosit, Salute, Santè, Cin cin , Cheers , he would call out enthusiastically . We would all smile broadly, nod and point, communicating as best we could. For my dad after his six years in the war, this was victory, this was what he had sacrificed his youth for,being able to raise a glass and wish each other the very best , all united and happy to be together.
I thought of those far off , long gone camping holidays this evening as I raised my glass of rosè to my French and German friends. A funny thing happens though at aperitifs. You drink on an empty stomach and being British I start to lose my inhibitions. Under the influence of the alcohol - not much , I am exaggerating a bit- I can speak amazing French. They look at me in amazement as I reel off amusing anecdotes and  intervene knowledgeably in debates. The only trouble is that I'm not really sure what I'm saying and I'm not really sure what they're saying either. I come away asking my husband what it was all about and why did the tall man just have bananas and whisky for a week and why did everyone laugh  when I said chorizo. But we had a great time at the aperitif and we've been invited back for a meal . Vive l'aperitif !!!

No comments:

Post a Comment