Handy Phrases and Vocabulary Words about French Cuisine
It will make your experiences speaking French more pleasant to be able to speak about a subject with confidence.
Food is important to the French, and you will enjoy both understanding expressions relating to food, and being able to use them correctly in conversations.
Cuisine (cook) itself is a French word; one that has become a loan word in English. In English it also is used to mean cookery, and food, depending on the context.
Some Useful Expressions
When you pick up a menu in a French café or restaurant, you will feel proud of yourself when you can understand and even explain to friends or family that plat du jour means today’s special dish, and menu du jour means today’s menu.
You will know how to get the attention of the waiter or waitress by addressing them as Monsieur or Madame, s'il vous plaît, instead of the outdated Garçon and Mademoiselle.
It is good to know what you are ordering when you ask for (vous commandez) crudités (raw vegetables) or charcuterie (sausages, pâté, ham and pork products).
Know how to use the indispensable Bon appétit to tell others to enjoy their meal, and L’addition s’il vous plaît, to request your bill at the end of the meal
Some More Useful Expressions
Here are some useful expressions which describe the manner in which French food is cooked:
à la jardinière means with assorted vegetables, like une salade jardinière (a garden salad).
à la normande-in a cream sauce
au gratin-baked in a milk, cream and cheese sauce
rôti au jus-a roast dressed in its own pan juices
au vin blanc-in white wine
Boeuf bourguignon-beef cooked (stewed) in red wine
Carottes Vichy- - carrots in butter and parsley
en cocotte-cooked in a covered baking dish or pot; for example, oeufs en cocotte
aux fines herbes-a mixture of minced, fresh or dried parsley, chervil
tarragon and chives (sometimes), used to season salads,omelets and other dishes, for example, omelette aux fines herbes
mousseline-sauce to which whipped cream has been added
à la mode-in the style of
baguette - a long, narrow loaf of French bread
Knowing What You Order (and Eat)
Armed with this vocabulary you can now confidently order a lunch consisting of an entrée au jambon ( ham and eggs appetizer), have a plat du jour of cotelettes du mouton (mutton côtelettes), some légumes (vegetables) such as épinards (spinach), and finish up with a dessert of pancakes (crepes).
You can also accept an invitation to a French home, and understand what is a potage julienne (vegetable soup), have some gigot de mouton (leg of lamb), and enjoy une salade niçoise (a salad typical of the south eastern French town of Nice, comprising lettuce, tomato, hard-boiled eggs anchovy fillets and olives); followed by a dessert of tarte aux fruits (fruit tart).
You are probably also now ready to dine in a fine French restaurant with confidence.
You can also find more information on French cuisine in French as Spoken in the Caribbean