Je ne suis pas fana de l’aneth.

Je ne suis pas fana de l’aneth.

zhuhn swee pah fah-nahd laa-NET. Click below to hear this.*

I’m not crazy about dill.

Dill? Why are we talking about dill?

Because it’s summertime, and all the “eat-fresh” recipes seem to have dill in them, that’s why. And I’m just not a big fan of dill.

Fana is short for fanatique. In Latin, a fanum was a temple dedicated to a divinity, whose followers engaged in wild, passionate, exuberant rituals to show their devotion. Sounds a bit like a Beatles concert, right? Or substitute the name of someone attached to your own generation. I’m sure you can think of someone.

But the meaning of fanatique has not only expanded from a purely religious significance to something much broader. It has also softened to something much less violent or fervent. So it is that I can apply the word to a mild dislike for an herb. A descent into the trivial!

But let’s talk about what I don’t like. If you look up l’aneth in an all-French dictionary, it will say: Fenouil. But wait…isn’t that fennel? Yup. And aren’t fennel and dill two different plants? Yup. Behold: two photos from my Encyclopedia of Herbs, Spices, and Flavorings: A Cook’s Compendium, by Elisabeth Lambert Ortiz (Dorling Kindersley, London, 1992).

As you can see, they do look rather alike. But their taste is different, their uses are different, and just to prove it all, je suis fana du fenouil, mais pas de l’aneth. (Naturally, that’s clear scientific evidence.) Go figure. Don’t feed me your beloved dilled salmon and expect me to rave about it. But don’t worry, I promise to be polite.

*Some mobile phones, such as Blackberries, won’t display the audio player. If no player appears, here’s an alternative link to the audio file:

je_ne_suis_pas_fana_de_l_aneth.mp3

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