Lunch today at l'Entracte de l'Opera, a pleasant and bustling café and brasserie. As I was finishing my delicious poulet fermier, a kindly older British couple was seated near me at a corner table.
Getting straight away to business, they ordered, in high-school French, a bouteille de rosé. The waiter departed to fetch their wine, and they began to scan the food part of the menu. They looked quizzically at the specialty of the day: Souris d'agneau.
"Un souris? What's a souris? Isn't that a smile? A smile of lamb? Whatever could that be?"
"Just ask the waiter, dear."
The waiter returned with their rosé, ceremoniously had monsieur taste the wine. Then retrieving his pad, "Vous avez décidé?"
The gent looked up through his glasses and asked, "C'est quoi un souris, s'il vous plait?"
"Euuhh, une souris, c'est un petit animal," replied the waited, scrambling his fingers across the tabletop to illustrate a little mouse running. He searched for a translation. "Euuh, a moose?"
"A mouse???" They looked at each other with the-French-are-serving-WHAT? startled expressions.
Never able to mind my own business, I intervened.
Une souris is indeed a mouse, une souris d'agneau is a lamb shank.
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