french cooking

Editor’s note: This glossary of French cooking terms was originally published in 1887.

Aspic: Savory jelly for cold dishes.

Au gratin: Dishes prepared with sauce and crumbs and baked.

Bouchées:—Very thin patties or cakes, as name indicates—mouthfuls.

Baba:—A peculiar, sweet French yeast cake.

Bechamel:—A rich, white sauce made with stock.

Bisque:—A white soup made of shell fish.

To Blanch:—To place any article on the fire till it boils, then plunge it in cold water; to whiten poultry, vegetables, etc. To remove the skin by immersing in boiling water.

Bouillon:—A clear soup, stronger than broth, yet not so strong as consommé, which is “reduced” soup.

Braisé:—Meat cooked in a closely covered stewpan, so that it retains its own flavor and those of the vegetables and flavorings put with it.

Brioche:—A very rich, unsweetened French cake made with yeast.

Cannelon:—Stuffed rolled-up meat.

Consommé:—Clear soup or bouillon boiled down till very rich, i.e. consumed.

Croquettes:—A savory mince of fish or fowl, made with sauce into shapes, and fried.

Croustades:—Fried forms of bread to serve minces or other meats upon.

Entrée:—A small dish, usually served between the courses at dinner.

Fondue:—A light preparation of melted cheese.

Fondant:—Sugar boiled and beaten to a creamy paste.

Hollandaise Sauce:—A rich sauce, something like hot mayonnaise.

Matelote:—A rich fish stew, with wine.

Mayonnaise:—A rich salad dressing.

Meringue:—Sugar and white of egg beaten to sauce.

Marmade:—A liquor of spices, vinegar, etc., in which fish or meats are steeped before cooking.

Miroton:—Cold meat warmed in various ways, and dished in circular form.

Purse:—This name is given to very thick soups, the ingredients for thickening which have been rubbed through a sieve.

Poulette Sauce:—A bechamel sauce, to which white wine and sometimes eggs are added.

Ragout:—A rich, brown stew, with mushrooms, vegetables, etc.

Piquante:—A sauce of several flavors, acid predominating.

Quenelles:—Forcemeat with bread, yolks of eggs highly seasoned, and formed with a spoon to an oval shape; then poached and used either as a dish by themselves, or to garnish.

Remoulade:—A salad dressing differing from mayonnaise, in that the eggs are hard boiled and rubbed in a mortar with mustard, herbs, etc.

Rissole:—Rich mince of meat or fish rolled in thin pastry and fried.

Roux:—A cooked mixture of butter and flour, for thickening soups and stews.

Salmi:—A rich stew of game, cut up and dressed, when half roasted.

Sauter:—To toss meat, etc., over the fire, in a little fat.

Soufflé:—A very light, much whipped-up pudding or omelette.

Timbale:—A sort of pie in a mold.

Vol au vents:—Patties of very light puff paste, made without a dish or mold, and filled with meat or preserves, etc.

Excerpted from The Original White House Cook Book, 1887 Edition.