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French Faux Pas and Easy Eggs Benedict


January 22, 2014

Recipe: Easy Eggs Benedict

When one speaks just enough French to be dangerous, the degree to which “one” can put “one’s” foot in “one’s” mouth knows no bounds.  And who are we kidding here…by “one”…I most decidedly mean me.

Les Petits Plats

An epic lunch at Les Petits Plats

There are many traditional French language faux pas, and I’m proud to say that as I roll into week three I have expediently ticked through nearly all of them.

I have exclaimed to 70 year-old waiters that “Je suis très excitée” as they have set down my escargot course, meaning to share with them my enthusiasm, but instead emphatically telling them just how aroused I was. [Je suis excitée VS Je suis impatiente].

I have dramatically declared myself both pregnant and dead at the end of dinner (meaning to say full and finished respectively) [Je suis plein VS j’ai plein and Je suis fini VS j’ai fini).

And I have earnestly inquired at the boulangerie if the pork sausage is made with condoms, rather trying to find out if it was organic or had some “preservatives”. [Des préservatifs VS des conservateurs].

These french faux pas however, are a small price to pay for the chance to be immersed in a magical landscape where everywhere I turn there is another exquisite sight to behold.

Eglise Sainte Eustache

Eglise Sainte Eustache against the Paris night sky.

Luxembourg Gardens

The renowned Luxembourg Gardens

Magical moments on an evening stroll home.

Magical moments on an evening stroll home.

One of the parts I am enjoying most about the French lifestyle is the commitment to small pleasures; a picnic shared in a park, a cup of coffee sipped while the Paris winter rains fleck against the windows. Meals are a chance for artful expression, and however simple, they are paid attention to with the utmost care.

Les Petits Plats

Les Petits Plats…worth the metro ride and then some.

When I think about eggs benedict I immediately picture the american version, where griddled english muffins soaked in butter submissively give way to a hunk of ham that is then topped with a poached egg and positively doused with a buttery laden hollandaise sauce. Not one to judge, I’ve enjoyed more than my fair share of this rendition, but it does make it the kind of thing one should only seldom enjoy if one hopes to make it a day past 45.

Easy eggs benedict

The perfect way to start the day.

This simplified version of the dish is bare bones and yet delicious. A hearty, crusty wheat bread is toasted and then spread with just a hint of Dijon mustard. Atop this rests a few pieces of crispy bacon serving as the base for which to sit the perfect poached egg, which then has just a dollop of hollandaise to elevate this from the everyday to the extraordinary.

Easy Eggs Benedict
Serves 2

Easy Eggs Benedict

Easy Everyday Eggs Benedict

  • Hollandaise sauce (recipe follows)
  • Eight slices cooked bacon (I prefer to do in the oven which results in very crispy ending without all the mess)
  • Four slices whole-wheat bread
  • Dijon mustard
  • Four farm fresh poached eggs (the use of PoachPods makes this easy breezy, and again without all the mess)
  1. In a large cast iron skillet, put the eight slices bacon. Put in a cold oven and turn on to 400 degrees. After 15 minutes, check and flip bacon. Finish another 10-15 minutes pending on desired crispness and remove to papertowel lined plate to dry.
  2. Meanwhile, warm prepared hollandaise and set aside.
  3. To make the poached eggs with the pods, fill a small sauce pan, one-third with water and bring to a boil. Lightly grease the pods, reduce water to a simmer, put pods into pan and crack one egg into each pod. Return lid to pan and cook 4-5 minutes until desired doneness is achieved.
  4. To assemble, toast the bread and spread with Dijon mustard. Then top each piece of bread with two pieces bacon and one poached egg. Finish with a small spoonful of hollandaise and a sprinkle of paprika if desired.

Hollandaise Sauce

  1. Place in the top of a double broiler 3 large egg yolks and 1 1/2 TB cold water
  2. Off the heat, whisk the egg mixture until it becomes light and frothy.
  3. Place the top of the double broiler over, not in, barely simmering water and continue to whisk until eggs are thickened, 2 to 4 minutes, being careful not to let the eggs get too hot.
  4. Remove from heat and whisking constantly slowly add in 1/2 cup warm butter.
  5. Whisk is 1 – 3 tsp lemon juice, a dash of hot pepper, and salt and pepper to taste.

Note: The trick with making Hollandaise is the emulsion, or adding the butter to the egg, you must do it slowly and whisk like your life depends on it. If the sauce is too thick, whisk in a few drops of warm water. Sauce may be kept warm for up to 30 minutes on a very low simmer.


  1. Very funny! I am sending this to my daughter who studied French. Glad you are having a great time!

  2. Nicole says:

    Hello Erina- so glad you are eating your way across the City of Lights and posting such exquisite photos and recipes! So many pleasures to be enjoyed… You have gotten through the most embarrassing linguistic Faux Pas, so I think you can start relaxing! Small detail: “j’ai assez mangé, merci” (I have eaten enough, thank you) is really the only way to say that you’ve finished your meal and eaten enough. You want to stay away from the word ‘plein’ as this isn’t used to describe a belly being “full”.. unless you are making allusions to pregnancy! If it can help you avoid the next linguistic embarrassment, there is one more doozy you haven’t mentioned yet: “I am cold” is said “J’ai froid” and not “Je suis froide”… (= frigid…..) !! Knock’em dead! xox

    • Shut Up & Cook says:

      Merci, merci Nicole!!

      How right you are…I think I’ve tiptoed through the most embarrassing and I’m definitely nailing it on the croissant ordering, so really, what more could a girl want?

      Keep these tips coming though. I’ll take all the help I can get.


  3. catherine elwell says:

    I, too, was overwhelmed with the real food of France. I couldn’t get enough-fresh foie gras, real Camembert, light pastry creams, and Roquefort and, oh, the Bordeaux wines. I gained 14 lbs. in 14 days. One photo shows me standing in front of Chateau Rothschild with my shirt popping open about my breasts.

    As a teenager participating in an international music festival in Montreal, I made a terrible mistake. As I finished my dinner at my host’s house I blurted out, “Je suis plein.” Shocked faces clued me that I was way off track.

    • Shut Up & Cook says:

      Catherine…I love both of these stories!

      The food is indeed exquisite and bossom bursting worthy..and as for teenage declarations of pregnancy I’ve fortunately made it through that chapter…but the waiters were none to pleased to hear my status with a bottle of Bordeaux in front of me!

  4. My husband and I just recently figure out how to make eggs Benedict at home. This recipe looks awesome! We usually just use the packaged Hollandaise sauce though, so I will have to give this a try!

    • Shut Up & Cook says:

      What kind of packaged Hollandaise have you found is best?! I’d actually never heard of the packaged kind until I got to Paris and I found some that looks delicious (bought but haven’t yet tried) from Le Grand Epicerie so I’ll report back. Curious what the options are in the states though.

  5. Karista says:

    Oh Erina looks like you’re loving every moment, faux pas or not! Lol! I do love the way Europeans savor life. Silly as it sounds, I came back from Tuscany slightly forever changed. Savoring more time to connect with friends and family and more time to relish a lovely moment, maybe over something as simple as a cup of tea or glass of port. Thank you for taking us along for the ride! I’m living my visit to Paris through you. 🙂

    • Shut Up & Cook says:

      I’m so glad to have you along for the ride, Karista! This was how I felt about all your Tuscany posts.

      I think you’re right…Europe gets into your bones and is hard to let go of.

      I’d be curious to hear any tips or suggestions for how to transfer the lifestyle back to the U.S.

  6. Patrick says:

    Eggs Benedict is my absolute favorite breakfast dish. I can’t wait to try this!

  7. That is hysterical! You are going to come back with different sensibilities – so glad you did this!

  8. Oh my – how funny! I love baking my bacon as well and your eggs Benedict looks super delicious. It’s one of my favorites!

  9. Hahaha, I’m sure the waiters were quite flattered 😉 At least you’re learning! Those pics (and sites) are just gorgeous. Enjoy your time there. And this rendition of eggs benedict looks fantastic!

    • Shut Up & Cook says:

      Thank you Amy! The waiters were definitely quite “something”! Glad you enjoyed the site…thanks so much for stopping by!

  10. Came across this looking for for a place to star a blog. That Egg Benedict looks absolutely amazing!! If you ever want some white chocolate caramel pecans or anything for your travels check me out

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