Are You a Curious Epicurean?


As American cuisine has become more sophisticated, many modern menus are splattered with interesting new ingredients and mysterious preparation methods. A few years ago, it was merely a matter of au gratin meaning with cheese or calamari posing as an elegant term for squid. But the culinary world has become serious, and what was once simple is now quite complicated. So before you venture out on your next Alexandria dining excursion, test yourself and your friends with the following short glossary of some of the most popular culinary terms that will likely show up on your plate.

Amuse Bouche
Small complimentary appetizer, sometimes just one bite, served at the beginning of a meal to stimulate the appetite.

Beurre Blanc
Seasoned butter sauce flavored with white wine, shallots, and vinegar or lemon juice, served most often with fish.

Seafood stew, made with assorted fish and shellfish, onions, tomatoes, white wine, olive oil, garlic, saffron and herbs, often ladled over thick slices of French bread.

Thinly sliced raw meat or fish served with a sauce.

Coq au Vin
Classic French dish, composed of chicken, mushrooms, onions, bacon and various herbs cooked together with red wine. A Julia Child classic!

Coquilles St. Jacques
Broiled or baked scallops served in the shell, bathed in a wine sauce with bread crumbs or cheese.

Crme Anglaise
Vanilla-flavored custard sauce, usually served with desserts.

Crme Frache
Heavy cream thickened and slightly soured with buttermilk, similar to sour cream, but richer.

Haricot Vert
Thin green French bean.

Oysters Rockefeller
Named for John D. Rockefeller because of its rich texture, it is simply oysters on the half shell topped with spinach, butter, bread crumbs and seasonings, baked or broiled.

Miniature cream puffs filled with either a sweet or savory mixture, most often served as a dessert filled with ice cream or custard.

Thick, well-seasoned stew of meat, poultry or fish that can be made with or without vegetables.

Spicy condiment or dressing, resembling mayonnaise, most often served with fried seafood.

Steak Tartare
Heavily seasoned ground beef, eaten raw.

Thymus glands of either veal, young beef, lamb or pork, prepared in a variety of ways, including poached, sauted and braised.

Tarte Tatin
Caramelized apple tart, baked with pastry on top and inverted for serving.

Not to be confused with the liqueur-filled chocolate balls, coated with cocoa, these are the much sought after dark or light edible, subterranean fungi.