10 French Cuisine Words You Already Know

So while the French might not have invented cooking, the French were the first and best at creating systems and rules for cooking, writing them down, and passing them on. Here are some words that stuck in the English language:

1. Apéritif

When you have a little glass of something before sitting down for a meal, we call that an “apéritif”. This is a word we’ve directly borrowed from the French, but which French took from the Latin aperitivus, which is something that you open with.

2. Restaurant

If a word seems impossible to spell, chances are it’s French. “Restaurant” is no exception, and literally means “the place that provides food”. Guess what, most of the time the French shorten this to resto, which is much easier to spell!

3. Picnic

This classic English summer favourite is actually another habit we picked up from the French. The French have been having pique-niques since the mid 18th Century!

4. Chef

English takes a lot of its food words from French. Perhaps because the English are not as famous as the French for their culinary prowess. The French word chef doesn’t just mean a cook, though, it means your boss: mon chef.

5. Cuisine

In English, a country’s “cuisine” is the type of food they cook or eat. In French though, la cuisinecan also mean “the kitchen”!

6. Sauté

“Sautéd vegetables” in English are just vegetables lightly fried in oil. This comes from the French verb sauter which means “to jump”.

7. Julienne

“Cut into thin strips” The word comes from a soup of the same name, which is prepared with thin strips of vegetables garnishing it — in French a potage julienne.

8. Purée

“Blend into liquid” The word comes from the feminine past participle of verb purer (“to make pure”)

9. Fondue

Whether it’s cheese, chocolate or whatever else you might fancy, “fondue” is another French word. It comes from fondre, “to melt down”, and fondu means “melted down”.

10. Mousse

Who doesn’t love a chocolate mousse? Well, in French not all mousses are edible! La mousse means any type of foam, lather or froth.
Well, I hope this helped add some historical and linguistic flavor to your next soirée, and wish you a hearty bon appétit.
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