The French language has pervaded many aspects of international life, and cooking is certainly one of them. Not just in haute cuisine circles but directly in our day to day cooking as well.
Did you know that purée, broil and marinate all come directly from French? There are in fact hundreds of French culinary words in the every-day English vocabulary.
The French certainly didn’t invent cooking, but they did invent restaurants! In the 1600’s haute cuisine was all the rage both within the royal kitchens and a huge guild system of chefs. In the 1700’s this workable culinary system got turned on its head, along with everything else during the French Revolution. Thousands of chefs lost their jobs, as the royal circles and tightly run guild system collapsed. These highly trained chefs spread through the kitchens of Europe and thus so did the French culinary language!
Here are some common French words that are just the same in the English language:
Blanch: To put fruit or veg in boiling water so the skin can be removed more easily.
Brule: To caramelize the sugar on a foods surface.
Escalope: A thin, boneless slice of meat.
Frappé: Something that is iced or set in a bed of ice.
Gratin: An oven-baked dish on which a golden crust of bread crumbs, cheese or creamy sauce is formed.
Julienne: To cut into thin strips.
Pâté: A paste made of liver, pork or other meat.
Purée: To blend into liquid.
Sauté: To cook quickly in oil.
Discovering and learning words that are the same or very close between the French and English language is a clever way of increasing your French vocabulary. If you don’t realize they are the same word then of course you won’t use them, so in just a short study session you may find you can get quite a vocabulary boost! Don’t forget to also look for words that are not identical, but very similar, learning these is still a lot easier than trying to memorize completely new words.
Do the above and you will be speaking French like a chef in no time, and so, I wish you all a bon appétit!