One has just been sent out as a biblical dove, has found nothing green, and slips back
into the darkness of the ark -- Kafka

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

What is a "Cheminot"?

I ran across this word in Madame Bovary. The literal translation seems to be something like "railway worker, railwayman."

In Bovary it is a pastry or bread of some sort:

Madame Homais was very fond of these small, heavy turban-shaped loaves, that are eaten in Lent with salt butter; a last vestige of Gothic food that goes back, perhaps, to the time of the Crusades, and with which the robust Normans gorged themselves of yore, fancying they saw on the table, in the light of the yellow torches, between tankards of hippocras and huge boars' heads, the heads of Saracens to be devoured.

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The very little I found on "cheminot" (alternate spelling "chemineau") on line seems to confirm Flaubert's description: a special cake or roll eaten at certain festivals (Western France).

http://www.cnrtl.fr/definition/chemineau//1
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