Hub-UK, The A-Z of French Food - Dictionaire Gastronomique Francais-Anglais, Review written by Hub-UK, January 4, 2012
I have recently come across a great little book for anyone traveling to France or taking a holiday there but before I tell you more I have a little story for you . . .
It is a long time ago now but one year I decided to take my family on holiday to the South of France. I had arranged to take three weeks off so what better opportunity to introduce the children to France than to take a leisurely drive down over two days avoiding all the motorways.
When I say leisurely I mean that loosely as it was still a huge amount of driving. On the first day we crossed over on the Channel ferry to Boulogne with my target being to be just south of Lyon by the evening, where we would find somewhere to stop overnight.
It was early evening when we spotted a small roadside hotel. Looked nice from the outside with a substantial car park at the rear. We pulled up on the road outside and went in to enquire if they had rooms available. We were immediately whisked off on a guided tour on which we were given a choice of rooms. The tour finally culminated in the dining room which had about forty tables, with bright red and white gingham tablecloths, all set for dinner. Strange - there was no-one else staying at the hotel yet the dining room was set to serve one hundred and sixty diners!
We decided to take the room and went to park the car only to be told by the landlady that we should park in their garden. It seemed an odd request when they had such a large car park at the back of the hotel. Who were we to argue so we retired to our room to change and have a wash before coming down for dinner at seven o'clock.
We came down for dinner and were given a pleasant table by one of the windows and handed the menus to make our choice. I had just started to tell my wife and the children that I would interpret the menu for them with the use of my schoolboy French when we heard a deafening roar of traffic and the outside of the hotel disappeared in a cloud of dust. Through the restricted visibility we could just make out truck after truck pulling into the car park at the back of the hotel shortly to be followed by an influx of lorry drivers to the restaurant. The place was full of diners! So now we knew why the car park was empty.
Back to the menu . . . but the schoolboy French was no use whatsoever! We had very little idea of what we were ordering. The English / French dictionary did not have most of the words listed - I ended up ordering sheep's brains! The meal was a great success in the end but I wished I had been able to interpret the menu.
That was then but these days help is on hand with a neat little pocket book called The A-Z of French Food - Dictionaire Gastronomique Francais-Anglais which comes highly recommended by Hub-UK.
The first descriptive French-English dictionary of gastronomic terms.
Menu decoder and guide to French gastronomy, history and culture, The A-Z of French Food invites you into the world of French art de vivre.
- Elegant and easy to use: Trimly thin and with a flexible cover that makes it easy to slip into pocket or purse, The A-Z of French Food is the handiest portable French-to-English food and wine dictionary.
- Exhaustive: Its 144 pages of alphabetical listings translate and comment not only the ingredients but also the preparations, garnishes, cheeses and wines.
- Entertaining: What is a communard? A potage à la jambe de bois? The nouille-style? What is the origin of the words bistrot or restaurant? What was Louis XIV's favourite snack? The A-Z of French Food includes history, lore and metaphorical usages that give insights into the French language and psyche.
The A-Z of French Food is:
- A great travel companion
- An indispensable aid for the home chef trying to use a French cookbook
- An original and useful corporate gift
- A reference book for cooking schools
What the Papers say about The A-Z of French Food:
- The New York Times: Now English-speakers, too, can dine in French. The A-Z of French Food, a slim pocket-size book, is probably the most complete French menu translator available. Many entries - like the names of fish and shellfish and cuts of meat - are not found in typical pocket-size general dictionaries. They are particularly useful for tourists who want to know the difference between a Belon oyster and a Marennes when encountered on a menu. Accurate and concise culinary definitions are given, along with some historical information and anecdotes. Wine terms are included. Popular and slang expressions that include food terms have also been slipped in.
- The Washington Post: A help to anyone looking up perplexing culinary terms, whether encountered in a cookbook, in a gourmet food store or on a menu.
- Vogue, Australia: This descriptive dictionary is the very best to come along. The 4.000 plus entries include many modern cuisine terms not found in other glossaries and is rich in historical explanations.
- Mimi Sheraton's Taste: A miracle of compact completeness.
- France-USA Contact: Don't enter a French restaurant without it !
- Boston Sunday Herald: Those informal café-bars covering the sidewalks of France derived their name from the rumbling stomachs of Russian Cossacks who occupied Paris in 1814. They demanded speedy service by shouting 'bistro!' - the Russian word for quick. That is just one of many interesting nuggets of information in the 144 page pocket-size guide, The A-Z of French Food.
- The Hartford Courant: For anyone who has ever struggled with the wording of a French menu, there is help.
- The Morning News Tribune, Chicago: Eating out in French restaurants can be a challenge, especially if the owners have neglected to translate the menu to English. But now you can simply whip out The A-Z of French Food, a dictionary that is one of the most complete lists of French foods in a pocket-size. Leafing through the book, you will also learn the origin of Cordon-Bleu, the story of the homard thermidor or the use of a sauce Robert . . .