Edible Idiom: Ecrire des tartines
Part of the continuing series originated by Chocolate & Zucchini extraordinaire, Clothilde Dusoulier, on French idiomatic expressions that relate to food.
“Ecrire des tartines.”
Literally translated as, “writing tartines” (a tartine is a slice of bread topped with some sort of spread, such as butter or jam), it means writing reams, or being unnecessarily wordy.
Example: “J’étais surprise que sa lettre soit si courte ; d’habitude, il m’écrit des tartines.” “I was surprised his letter was so short; he usually writes me tartines.”
This colloquial expression can also appear in the singular (“écrire une tartine”) and is derived from the 18th-century journalists’ slang, in which une tartine was a very long (and, it is implied, boring) article or speech. A rather self-explanatory image; I always picture the writer or speaker fastidiously buttering a long piece of split baguette.