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Cooking in French
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by: Celebrity Recipes Magazine

French cuisine contributed a lot of terms to the world of cookery. Indeed, a seasoned chef might even use these terms without giving a passing thought of its Gallic origins. What are some of these terms? Here are a few:

Alumette. No this does not mean making an omelet of "alum," rather it may either describe foods cut into thin, match-like strips, or a kind of puffed pastry with a savory garnish which is then finished with an icing.

Hors d' oeuvre. Literally, the words mean "outside of work." In meaning, it refers to appetizers, and is roughly equivalent to the Italian antipasto. Surprisingly, the smorgasbord of Scandinavia is also categorized as an appetizer. However, the sheer bulk of the smorgasbord provides it with wider scope.

Gelée. It is French for jelly and is equivalent to the English aspic.

Bavarois. This refers to Bavarian Cream, a combination of custard, gelatin, and whipped cream with flavoring. It differs from bavaroise not only in spelling, as the latter refers to a drink composed of strong tea, eggyolk, sugar syrup, boiled milk, kirsch, rum, maraschino and other flavorings.

Blanch. This anglicized term obviously came from the French word blanche, which means white. It means plunging food briefly into boiling water, before draining. Why blanch? Probably because some food items turn to white after boiling.

Bonne Femme. Literally, it means "good woman." However, it means cooking "country style," or cooking in a simple and unandorned way. Another French phrase, "a la paysanne" is sometimes used in lieu of bonne femme.

A la Carte. This phrase means from the card, referring to a dish that can be found printed on the bill of fare or menu.

Brochette. Literally, brochette means skewer. As such, the phrase en brochette means on a skewer.

Cocotte. This term refers to cooking utensils, either round or oval in which food is cooked. These utensils are made either from earthenware, porcelain (fireproof), tinned copper etc. Foods served in such cooking vessels are usually appended with en cocotte (e.g. eggs en cocotte).

Entrée. This term is trickly since it means entrance. As such, we may confuse it with appetizer, right? Wrong. Although before it may have meant such, common usage at present makes it refer to the main course.

Fricassee. This is the French word for "medley." In culinary use, however, it actually mans stew. Chicken, lamb or veal are cooked a la fricassee (in seasoned broth, and served with Velouté sauce).

Papillote. No, it does not mean butterfly, but rather frilled paper used in decorating the tips of lamb chops or crown roast. It also means baking in oiled paper.

Filet. You can confuse this with English word fillet which mean the same thing - the only difference is the spelling. Essentially, it means slicing meat or fish without bones or to bone a piece of meat or fish.

Galantine. It is a deboned chicken, meat, game or even fish that is stuffed, rolled and then cooked in a rich bouillon. Originally, it only refereed to chicken (as such, our native dish called galantina which is similar in essence). It is always served cold and glazed with aspic.

Glace/Glacé. Almost the same, but somewhat different in meaning. Glace means ice in French, while glacé means to freeze. The latter may also mean to cover with icing or frosting, thereby providing a dish with a somewhat glossy exterior.

Gratin. This term derives from the French word gratter (to scrape or grate). In relation to dish, the term refers to the sprinkling of bread crumbs or grated cheese on the surface.

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September 22, 2017

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