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April 2017

Cookbooks in Context

Why the French and Americans use ‘entrée’ differently

Jonathan_Depp_Reading_Escoffier

When it comes to cooking, even Johnny Depp turns to the French .

 

For nearly two centuries, French has lorded over the culinary scene. We “sautee,” “julienne,” and “chiffonade” all in accordance with whatever rules the best French chefs codified into culinary technique at the turn of the last century. From “mise-en-place” to the 5 mother sauces every chef’s culinary training is filled to bursting with French culinary pedagogy. For nearly a century, French cuisine WAS haute cuisine.

The pervasiveness and prestige of French cuisine and culture took interesting shapes. In America, this meant that almost every menu presented, especially in more expensive restaurants, was littered with either French sayings or simply presented completely in French.After all, it was only to be expected that if you were dining at the Waldorf Astoria in 1899, you would speak French.

Waldorf-Astoria - 1899

This may seem like a stretch, but this is in fact a menu printed in America….

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