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About This Glossary

Espelette PeppersFor many diners, the restaurant menu can present a confusing and intimidating barrier to the pleasures of dining out. The French language, of course, is no help with so many sound-alike words. It is so easy to confuse tourteau (crab) with tortue (turtle), ail (garlic) with aile (a poultry wing), chevreau (young goat) with chevreuil (venison). The variety of fish and shellfish found in France's waters can be equally confusing, particularly when one is faced with a multi­tude of regional or local names given to each species. The large, meaty monkfish, for example, might be called baudroie, lotte, or gigot de mer; depending upon the region or the whim of the chef.

In preparing this glossary, I have tried to limit the list to contemporary terms, making this a practical guide for today's traveler in France. Translations are generally offered for those dishes, foods, and menus, in markets, expressions or terms phrases one is most likely to encounter on menus and in shops. I have also added regional terms one might not find explained elsewhere.

Patricia Wells is pleased to provide a downloadable version of the French/English Food Glossary.

Two versions of the document are available:

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