French Food Terms in English

by Kelly

in Thoughts On Food & Cooking

The French are known for their culinary skills and the quality of their ingredients. Is it any wonder that we have so many French words in English cooking lexicon? Sometimes the meanings have changed however… when a word is written the same in two different languages, it is known as a false cognate. I’ve highlighted a few of my favorite French food words in English below.

  • à la carte: literally means off the menu, but is not used in French.
  • à la mode: in French it means fashionable, but if you ask for your pie à la mode, meaning with ice cream, they won’t understand!
  • Amuse bouche: a fancy appetizer designed to ‘amuse’ your mouth!
  • brulé: as in crème brulée… or burnt cream pudding. Delicious!
  • casserole: in English it’s a baked dish, but in French it’s a pot.
  • courgette: unfamiliar to many Americans, but widely used in Britain, it’s a zucchini.
  • En papillote: a way of preparing fish baked in parchment paper
  • fondue: literally means ‘melted’ used for a melted cheese dish
  • hors d’oeuvres: an appetizer
  • sauce: means the same thing in both languages, but also used for salad dressing

Here’s a list of other French food terms that you might find in English.

Here’s a translation of French food vocabulary into English… very handy for travelling and eating!

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