#ThatTranslatorCanCook Week Twenty: Macarons

This week, which may be my last #ThatTranslatorCanCook post for a while (see explanation below), so I wanted to go out with a bang. I’ve tried to make macarons in the past and failed, so when I found a recipe that claimed to be ‘unfailable’, I jumped at the chance to try them. My attempt was semi-succesful, thanks to our dodgy oven, but they tasted nice!

So, firstly, why am I not going to be continuing with #ThatTranslatorCanCook for a while? It’s because I’m actually on a very specific diet at the moment for my IBS. I am trying a low FODMAP, which eliminates certain types of sugar that are fermentable and therefore ferment in your gut and cause digestive issues. If you’re interested in knowing more, you can look at my blogpost on my first week on the low FODMAP diet on my lifestyle blog. Since I first tried the diet 5-7 years ago, it has boomed in popularity and there are actually a wealth of recipes in English and French, so I may well try some French low FODMAP recipes for #ThatTranslatorCanCook in the future. However, at the moment I have to prioritise my health. And now onto my last non-low FODMAP #ThatTranslatorCanCook.

I had relatively few issues with translating this recipe, but the biggest issue actually came from the title. The macarons are touted as being ‘inratable’, but I tried looking this up on linguee.com, it came up with no matches. ‘Rater’ means ‘to fail’ and ‘in’ signifies a negative, so I came up with ‘unfailable’. This isn’t a really word, but neither is the French! If you have any other suggestions, let me know!

Petits gâteaux
When I looked up this term on linguee.com, it came up with ‘cupcakes’, which these clearly are not. I played around with a few different terms – ‘small confectionary’ and ‘petits fours’ first sprung to mind, but didn’t seem quite right, so I just opted for ‘small cakes’, which still didn’t have the right ring. Does anyone have any ideas?

Sugar (again).
Sugar appears to be the bane of my life when it comes to recipe translation from French to English. I’ve covered it in my blogs on galette des rois, stoemp and croissants. My issue here was that the recipe called for ‘sucre glace’ and ‘sucre en poudre’, which I had thought both meant icing sugar. I did a little digging and found this reddit post that says that ‘sucre en poudre’ is just regular granulated sugar, which made sense with the image supplied in the recipe. My quest to understand the many varied terms for sugar continues!

My first issue came when I had to sieve the ground almonds – they’re actually quite difficult to sieve, because of the big chunks, even with my brand new metal sieve!

Sieved ground almonds and icing sugar

I also struggled with the piping, because I didn’t have a proper piping bag or nozzle so they ended up looking like the poop emoji. 💩 

Piped raw macarons that look like poop emojis.

When it came to baking, I had an issue with the term ‘entrouverte’. When I looked it up, it suggested that the door should be ‘half-open’. However, this seemed to completely defeat the object of having the oven at a certain temperature and meant that the macarons never really completed cooked. After discussing it with my family, my sister-in-law suggested that she had seen on Bake-Off that the contestants kept the oven slightly ajar with a spoon, which was confirmed by this post on macaron tips. I’ll be certain to try to consult this post before trying macarons again.

Overall, not exactly a success, but they tasted nice!

Next week, I’ll be talking about my specialism, medicine, and some online resources to improve your medical knowledge.

Published by verityroat

Verity Roat BA CANTAB MA TRANSLATION CIOL Career Associate is a UK-based Arabic and French > English translator, Copy-writer, Copy-editor, Transcriber, Role-player & Tutor.

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