C’était long comme un jour sans pain.
say-tay LAW kuh muh zhoor sah PAA. Click below to hear this pronounced!
It was long and dreary.
And here, encapsulated in a single sentence, you will find the importance and centrality of bread in French culture. What would you find it most difficult to do without for a day? Twitter? Music? Exercise? No: bread.
Because that’s what this sentence says: It was as long as a day without bread.
How was the movie? It was overblown, half of it should have been left on the cutting room floor, it was boring: C’était long comme un jour sans pain. The seminar? Repetitive, lacking intellectual stimulation, simplistic: C’était long comme un jour sans pain.
I can’t think of any English “as long as” comparison that has the force of this one. Every meal in France includes bread—breakfast, lunch, dinner. And it’s fresh, crusty, simple, natural: flour, water, salt, yeast. Period. If you have ever tasted it, you already understand why everyone enjoys it and no one seems able to do without it. A day without bread is unimaginable. People will get up before dawn if they must, in order to buy fresh bread for breakfast and still make it to work on time.
Here’s a website I’ve just discovered, all about bread: http://votrepain.com/ It’s really a gathering of websites about le pain, that mention le pain in passing, that offer recipes for le pain. Don’t drool on your keyboard, it wouldn’t appreciate that. Bon appétit !
(And yes, I baked that bread in the photo above.)