Probably OT: pets de nonne/putain

Joel S. Berson Berson at ATT.NET
Thu Dec 27 19:37:54 UTC 2007

At 12/27/2007 10:00 AM, Laurence Horn wrote:
>At 9:05 AM -0500 12/27/07, Charles Doyle wrote:
>>Isn't there an airy French confection known (in translation) as "nun's fart"?
>Indeed, "pet(s) de nonne" [ped(@)'nOn].  There
>are also, or at least there used to be, "pet(s)
>de putain", whore's fart(s), although I haven't
>encountered those personally (in patisseries :-))
>and don't know how they differ.

Just for fun, I went on the web.  It's a hurdle, since I don't read
French.  The difference I sense is that whore's farts are stronger
than nun's.  Although someone I consider expert in French cousine of
the 18th century says they're essentially the same -- "basically
fried dough - calzone, fry bread, churros, etc." -- and notes
variations in flavorings (e.g., orange water, cinnamon).

There are only a dozen Google hits for "pet[s] de putain" (as a
phrase).  One (in native English) says "Make your Fritters paste
stronger than ordinary, by augmentation of flower and egs, then draw
them small or slender, and when they are fryed, serve them warm with
sugar and sweet water. [The French Cook, by la Varenne, 1653]"

And perhaps differently shaped:  "The nun of pets are small round
cakes, 3 to 4 cm in diameter, made with choux paste."

An English-language page has a picture and a

In translation, one French-language page suggests "Drink chosen: a
dogfish of Savoy".  ("Une roussette de savoie"; "rousette" is
apparently a grape variety).

 From an English-language page, one finds the polite name:  "Soupir
de nonne: 'nun's sighs'; fried choux pastry dusted with
confectioners' sugar. Created by a nun in an Alsatian abbey. Also
called pet de nonne."


The American Dialect Society -

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