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No. 128: maman gâteau

maman gâteau:

femme très attentionnée, qui fait des cadeaux; a very caring/attentive woman who gives presents…

soft, indulgent mother/woman...

I’m not feeling too confident about my French today after yesterday’s post, but I came across this phrase yesterday when I was reading. Not quite sure exactly what it meant,  I went in search of a definition. The second definition: soft, indulgent mother/woman…made more sense in the context of what I was reading. If I’m on target, the phrase makes me smile, because the literal translation is “cake mom” or “mom of cake”…

Who wouldn’t want a cake mom?




maman gâteausoft, indulgent mother; but literally, cake mother

maman: mom; mother

11 Comments Post a comment
  1. Le cœur en gâteau

    January 31, 2014
  2. A “maman gâteau” is indeed an indulgent mother who would spoil and overprotect her children. It isn’t necessary giving presents that is the more important of the definition but the indulgence/spoiling/overprotection. We also use the expression of “mère poule” to mean something similar.

    Don’t worry too much about making mistakes in your interpretations of French expressions and words…that is the only way you will learn. If you don’t throw it out there, you will never know if you understood it right. (Suzanne)

    January 31, 2014
    • Hi Suzanne,
      Thank you. I needed to hear that today. Have been beating myself all day over my foibles and misinterpretations. Thanks for being kind and supportive. Bon week-end.

      January 31, 2014
  3. Thanks for your posts. I too am an expat in France and know that it’s difficult to interpret everything 100% correctly. But thanks to your efforts, and to your great readers who can add a bit of precision, we are all learning together. I had not heard this expression (maman gateau) but I like it and your image was perfect! Keep up the good work. It is very informative.

    January 31, 2014
    • Hi Margo,
      Thank you for your kind words. It’s hard to put yourself out there and then mess up. But, like you said, we are all learning together. Re: maman gâteau–there is a resto (tea house) in Paris named Maman Gâteau which I love, they have the most comforting food and indulgent cakes. Now I finally understand the meaning of the name.

      January 31, 2014
    • Well put Margo. And it seems like you’re having fun. And your readers (speaking for myself) are enjoying it!

      January 31, 2014
  4. I aspire to be one of those! Affectionate though, not necessarily indulgent. And I love to give presents! Lovely image too. Thank you.

    January 31, 2014
    • Thank you. Yes. I don’t think it is too bad to be a maman gâteau. You have such a short time with your kids…before you know it they will be going off to schools in foreign countries, and you’ll (I’ll) only have a dog to spoil…

      February 1, 2014
  5. Sarah Larson #

    I don’t know if I am a “maman gateau”, but I love the cake – perfect for Valentines Day!

    February 3, 2014

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