France

French word of the day: Purée

Few French people actually think about mashed potatoes when using this expression.


Why do I need to know purée?


It’s a swearword you can use in front of basically anyone.


What does it mean?


As a swearword, purée falls among the really harmless insults that you may use as you please.


Purée ! – Mashed potato!


It is kind of like saying ‘oh sugar!’ if you drop a vase in front of your kids. Even an old, posh French lady could probably hear you exclaim purée without frowning.


When can I use it?


Whenever!


Use purée like you use putain – which French people tend to do constantly (read more about putain here) – just without the fear of offending someone nearby.


Tu as vu l’heure? Purée, on est en retard – Did you see the time? Shoot, we’re running late


Purée, il pleut ! – Oh darn, it’s raining!


Purée, on a pas fait assez de purée – Oh sod it, we didn’t make enough mashed potatoes.


Another French variant is punaise, ‘darn’ it’, or the funny-sounding saperlipopette, which according to an online dictionary is an “ancient term used to express astonishment”. 


Any other options?


Don’t forget that purée really refers to a delightful side dish that is mashed potatoes. Although the most traditional version is crushed pommes de terres (potatoes) mixed with a generous lump of butter, purée technically means “mash” and you can use in front of all mashed veggies:


Purée aux épinards – mashed spinach


Purée de carotte – mashed carrots


Purée de pois cassés – mashed peas


Or (personal favourite) Purée aux truffes – mashed potatoes with truffle oil.




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