By Dr. Brad Holway
Language can be a funny thing. So can food. This odd little true story intertwines both subjects in a very odd way.
When I was a kid, it was the custom in my family to eat duck eggs. If you've never eaten them, you're missing something. They're nothing like chicken eggs; they have a rich, nutty flavor that's hard to describe in words. Back in those days, my parents would take drives out to Long Island on my father's day off. When they did, they'd buy a bunch of duck eggs at a farm out there. When I was about nine, the farm was sold and the land was developed for tract housing. My duck egg days ended.
I accompanied my parents on a short vacation up to Quebec Province during my teenage years. We stopped for breakfast at a little roadhouse in a small town. To my parents' dismay, the menu was all in French. One item on the menu was "deux oeufs" ("two eggs"). My mother, who had taken French in high school, remembered that "oeufs" meant "eggs". My father was thrilled. "They got duck eggs here!" he exclaimed, assuming that "deux" meant "duck's".
The waitress poured us some coffee and asked for our orders. "I'll have the deux oeufs", said my father, almost drooling over the idea that he would soon dig into a plate of duck eggs. A few minutes passed and the waitress returned with our breakfasts. My father eagerly began eating. Suddenly, an odd expression appeared on his face and he beckoned the waitress.
"These are CHICKEN eggs!", he lamented.
"What kind of eggs do you THINK we'd have here?", she replied.
Deux oeufs, of course.
reprinted from Living Happy Vol. 2, No. 10