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Why are main courses called entrées in the US?

greedygirl May 30, 2008 05:02 AM

I've always wondered that, what with entrée being the word for starter or appetiser in French.

Can anyone throw any light on this burning issue?

  1. Naco Jun 8, 2008 08:39 AM

    Going back to fork and knife styles, I wonder if there aren't regional differences within the US on that. I grew up and live in North Carolina, and I and my family have always used the "European" style.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Naco
      kmh Jul 4, 2008 01:32 AM

      Could the usage of the knife and fork relate to a combination of socio economic factors, and the rise and rise of convenience and no chew food? I mean, if you're eating a beautiful piece of steak it seems a bit of a waste to cut it up into little pieces to eat and then eating them cold.

    2. Chew on That Jun 6, 2008 03:55 PM

      It's funny - I've just been so used to it being called entree that I didn't even notice it was a French word (I mean if I thought about it, I'd know...) Thanks for wondering!

      1. purple goddess Jun 5, 2008 03:56 PM

        In Australia, hors d'oeuvres/canapes are nibblies before a meal. Usually things like mini vol au vents or things on mini toasts, Chips, dips are not canapes, as aren't crudites. (pronounced canAPSE and crooditAY's, respectively) The entree is a small portion before the main. A soup is a soup and not an entree. The main is the centrepiece of the meal and then comes dessert.

        Pudding is a dish, not a course. Spotted Dick is a pudding you can have for dessert.

        Pop/soda is called soft drink, as in "can you get some soft drinks for the non-drinkers?" and covers everything non-alcoholic from coke thru to non-carbonated mineral water. Juice is juice and NOT "soft drink"

        Soda is a specific soft drink, as in soda water, as in "Scotch and Soda, please"

        chips are either hot or cold, depending on the context "Do you want me to get you a bag of chips" or "when you're at the supermarket, can you grab me some chips" or "do you want chips with your flake/burger".. although, because I lived in the UK for years, I call cold chips "crisps", much to the amusement of my husband.

        Biscuits are either "dry" or "sweet", think crackers and Tim Tams respectively, and the word "crackers applies specifically to a type of dry biscuit, as in "Can you grab some Water Crackers and a couple of other types of dry biscuits with the dips?"

        It's tomAHto, BanAHna, eggplant, zucchini, poTAYto

        bap, kaiser, ciabatta, pide are all different types of rolls, but a bap with chips and gravy is a butty ( the "but" pronounced like "put", not "but" or "boot")

        We use our knives and forks British style, it's filleT steak, Herb, "a la mode" is something you only hear on American shows (Twin Peaks was the first time I heard it), anyone needing a valet (pronounced valAY) would be called a "wanker" (wankAH), although valAY parking is common in good hotels.

        Tea is a drink, not a meal. Anything eaten in the afternoon, say after school you might have been given a slice of cake, or a sandwich is Afternoon Tea. High Tea is something completely different and only served in one very classy hotel here in Melb (that I know of).. it's a bit of a Melb institution to have "High Tea at the Windsor" (which is actually owned by Saudi's.. go figure).

        It's tomAHto sauce, never ketchup, life's pretty straight without Twisties, Violet Crumbles, Crunchies and Polly Waffles are the best chocolate bars ANYWHERE IN THE WORLD, All Aussie snigger at the old joke about the Chockito and the public swimming pool,

        and it's lollies, not candy or sweeties.

        We use the Metric system for everything except peoples height. Your 500 kilogram car might be traveling at 100 kilometers (kill-o, not Kyle-o) but I'm 5ft 9.

        It's centre, not center, alYOOminEEum, mathS, and when I type colour, it's not a typo.

        But then again, I come from a long line of Lancastrians.. and you know what they say 'bout dem..

        **insert unintelligibly thick accent**

        Lancashire born, Lancashire bread, strong in arm , fick in 'ead.

        31 Replies
        1. re: purple goddess
          Sam Fujisaka Jun 5, 2008 05:06 PM

          Brilliant.

          1. re: purple goddess
            pikawicca Jun 5, 2008 05:15 PM

            But why don't you folks have a term for what we Yanks call "popsicles," and the Brits call "ice lollies?" Drove me crazy when we lived there, having to describe these things and not having a name for them that was comprehensible to an Aussie.

            1. re: pikawicca
              purple goddess Jun 5, 2008 05:56 PM

              Ahhhh!

              You mean an Icy Pole?

              An Icy pole used specifically is a lemonade ice pole.. if you want another flavour you have to nominate it... as in "I want an orange icy pole"

              "Icy pole" refers to both on-a-stick kind and solid-in-plastic kind.. although they are sometimes known as "freezies".

              An Ice Cream is anything other than an Icy Pole, including the famous Choc Wedge and the Paddle Pop.

              A Pine Lime Splice is a combo of both, and possibly the BEST ICE CREAM IN WORLD.

              1. re: purple goddess
                pikawicca Jun 5, 2008 06:12 PM

                Is a Ripper-Dipper an icy pole? We loved these things, and have nothing like them in the U.S. Australian food terminology remains charmingly inscrutable to me.

                1. re: pikawicca
                  purple goddess Jun 5, 2008 06:22 PM

                  I have no idea what a Ripper Dipper is?

                  I'm in Melb, so it may be something that is common in another state?

                  I even tried googling for them, with no results!

                  Food terminology varies from state to state.

                  1. re: purple goddess
                    pikawicca Jun 5, 2008 06:31 PM

                    This was in Canberra. It's a very slender light-blue raspberry/lemonade pop. Very tasty. Had no idea that it was regional.

                    1. re: pikawicca
                      purple goddess Jun 5, 2008 07:29 PM

                      if it has no ice cream, just flavoured ice, then it's an icy pole.

                      You lived in CANBERRA?? And survived to tell the tale??

                      How did you survive, as a Chowhound? Surely someone from a REAL Aussie city sent you REAL food??

                      1. re: purple goddess
                        maria lorraine Jun 8, 2008 08:19 PM

                        Goddess, you are a prize....

                2. re: purple goddess
                  maplesugar Jun 6, 2008 10:45 AM

                  Interesting. In Canada (or at least in Ontario, Quebec and Alberta) freezie refers to the kind of cold sugary treat encased in plastic , usually sold unfrozen in the grocery stores...and anything sugary (but not containing ice cream) on a stick is a popsicle...the ice cream variations seem to get their own specific name, like Creamsicle for instance - Ice cream on a stick covered in an orange popsicle coating.

                  What exactly is a Pine Lime Splice?

                  1. re: maplesugar
                    livetocook Jun 6, 2008 12:06 PM

                    "usually sold unfrozen in the grocery stores" That brought back memories. I totally forgot they are sold that way, in cases, in the grocery stores. I haven't boughten one for years. When I think freezie, I immediately think of them frozen in a convenience store freezer beside all the other frozen treats. I remember paying 25 cents for a larger one as a kid. So big, they took forever to eat. My mouth used to get so sore from sucking up the juices.

                    1. re: livetocook
                      maplesugar Jun 6, 2008 04:09 PM

                      I used to get them frozen at convenience stores too...and I think they were a quarter, the smaller ones a dime. No matter what size I always ended up with a sore mouth not from suckig up the juice but from the sharp plastic edges.

                      1. re: maplesugar
                        k
                        KevinB Jun 7, 2008 04:29 AM

                        At our local store (funny, it was called a "cigar store" back then, even though it sold very few cigars), when you bought a Freezie, you handed it over with your coins, and the clerk would take a pair of scissors, and cut the top off for you.

                        1. re: maplesugar
                          livetocook Jun 11, 2008 07:45 PM

                          "No matter what size I always ended up with a sore mouth not from suckig up the juice but from the sharp plastic edges."

                          yes!! I used to get a sore jaw from sucking up the juices and a cut up mouth from the sharp edges. And the little ones were 10 cents.

                          hehe. good times. I also remember the store clerk cutting the top off.

                      2. re: maplesugar
                        purple goddess Jun 9, 2008 04:04 PM

                        MS, that's exactly what a freezie is.. basically a flavoured cordial in a plastic pouch, sold unfrozed in the supermarket.

                        Anything sugary but not containing icecream is an icy pole. and the ice cream varieties go by their brand names.

                        "Can you grab me SOME icecream while you're at the shops" would refer to a tub of ice cream, and you'd be asked "what flavour?"

                        "Can you grab me AN icecream" would mean you wanted a specific ice ceam and you'd be asked "what sort?"

                        A Pine Lime Splice is the world's very best vanilla ice cream coated in a crunchy icy-pole-like shell of lurid green ice, that tastes of pineapple/lime.

                        Best.

                        Ice cream.

                        Evah.

                        1. re: purple goddess
                          maplesugar Jun 9, 2008 10:19 PM

                          Ah, your icy pole is our "popsicle" and it sounds like CA and AU both use brand names for the single-serving ice cream varieties.

                          Same for some/an, some being the tubs, an being either a single-serve or small container of a specific flavour.

                          I'm glad to hear the pine in Pine Lime Splice refers to pineapple and not pine as in the coniferous tree ...I was wondering hehe :) Up here we have a Creamsicle - one of my personal favourites - which (of the dozens I've had over my 30-something years) are vanilla ice cream coated in a bright orange popsicle shell ...yours sounds like a delicious twist. Thanks for sharing :)

                          Erica

                      3. re: purple goddess
                        kmh Jul 4, 2008 01:26 AM

                        or an ice block!
                        and a frosty fruit is perhaps the best ice block in the world
                        i too am a fan of the pinelime splice.

                    2. re: purple goddess
                      Passadumkeg Jun 6, 2008 12:47 PM

                      Nor Ripon, where the gent comes to the square every night a 6 to blow is horn and the preferred beverage is Tetley's? I used to hire Geordies just to tick off the BBC typrs!

                      1. re: purple goddess
                        k
                        KevinB Jun 7, 2008 05:18 AM

                        Interesting! I've had some exposure to Strine, but here in the Great White North, we say things rather differently:

                        Canapes (CAN-a-pays), hors d'oeuvres, and crudite are only served to guests who are standing/mingling, and are never part of the sit-down portion of a meal. The entree thing has proven to be so confusing that many restaurants now list "starters", "soups", "salads", and "mains" on their menus.

                        Pudding here is always a dessert, usually what other parts of the Empire call a "custard", though bread pudding, for example, is quite thick. Some British-style restaurants in Canada will offer blood pudding, etc. but that's not the general usage.

                        Pop/soft drink are interchangeable, and refer to flavoured, carbonated beverages - no juices, no waters, no club soda (aka "soda water"). Mineral waters are either still or sparkling. If you ask for a soda, most places will assume you want a scoop of ice cream with soda water poured over it (and usually some flavoured syrup).

                        Chips are always cold; deep fried potatoes are "fries" or "frites", depending on location. A request for "crisps" will get you a blank look in most places in Canada.

                        Crackers are thin, crispy, usually salted, and most often used with dips or the construction of canapes. What you call "sweet biscuits" are cookies here; they are considered an entire separate food group. Finally, a biscuit in both Canada and the US is milk/flour/butter (or lard or shortening)/baking powder, mixed together fairly gently, and baked. The result is somewhat like a scone, except it lacks the scone's potential as an assault weapon.

                        Almost always to-MAY-to, and ba-na-na (except, of course, when one's discussing "Bananarama", where your diction prevails).

                        Buns and rolls are used almost interchangeably, with a modifier placed in front (hamburger bun, hot dog roll, etc.), although "dinner roll" always refer to a small (less than a fist) bun which is not pre-sliced.

                        Here's it fill-AY and val-AY (and the same goes for parquet, Manet, Monet, etc.) Tea is also a drink only, with the same exception for "High Tea", which can be found in three or four locations in Toronto. Anything eaten between regular meals is called a "snack".

                        Ketchup is ketchup; tomato sauce is a simmered stew of tomatoes, salt, and spices, either made at home from scratch (especially by southern European immigrants) or available commercially in jars and cans, and is quite often used as a base ingredient in pasta sauces, stews, and other dishes.

                        I think Canadian chocolate bars take a back seat to no one; the Coffee Crisp is unique and delicious.

                        A "lolly" is hardly ever used, but if done, it refers to a candy on a thin paper stick. Candy is a very generic term; most people refer to a specific type, such as jelly beans, chocolates, gummies, glossettes, smarties, etc.

                        Despite the government's best efforts, the Imperial system of weights and measures is in general usage except on the highways. Stores are required to post prices in kilos, but they also post prices in pounds, and I have yet to hear anyone order "500 g" of anything; it's always "two pounds of this, half-pound of that". I stand 5"10" and weigh 195 lbs (not 16 stone, whatever). But it's "keel-o" here, not "kill-o", and yes, as some wag put it, I prefer the "u" in honour, because there's not much of it about these days.

                        Now can we hear from someone on the Indian sub-continent for their take on this subject?

                        1. re: KevinB
                          b
                          Blueicus Jun 7, 2008 07:41 AM

                          At least in southern Ontario, I'd say that the term "Appetizer" is more commonly used than Starter (Gordon Ramsay seems to use the term Starter a lot).

                          Club Soda is used, but I'd call the thing you describe as "soda" as a "float".

                          The confusion between "High Tea" and "Afternoon Tea" seems prevalent in this area. Possibly people imagine citizens of "High Society" having afternoon tea so they start thinking it's called High Tea.

                          I've noticed that with regards to cheese and deli items I use grams a lot but if I go to a butcher using the imperial system is easier for me (in determining portion sizes).

                          Kilometer is pronounce "Kil-aw-meter" but Kilogram isn't a "Kil-aw-gram".

                          1. re: Blueicus
                            maplesugar Jun 7, 2008 08:36 AM

                            Ditto if I ask for a soda I get club soda and if I ask for a float that's ice cream (usually vanilla) floated on rootbeer or some other pop. As for my geographic point of reference I grew up outside Ottawa, lived in Montreal and the Eastern townships and now call Calgary home ...maybe there are regional variations for "floats"?

                            1. re: maplesugar
                              k
                              KevinB Jun 7, 2008 01:21 PM

                              To clarify: floats are ice cream in soda pop (as you said, usually root beer or coke), while a soda is a scoop of ice cream, some syrup (chocolate is a favourite), and then filled with soda water. However, very few places serve the latter these days.

                              1. re: KevinB
                                maplesugar Jun 7, 2008 01:27 PM

                                Is this back when there were soda fountains in pharmacies? If so that definitely predates my frame of reference... (I'm not young by any stretch<just ask my daughter lol> but I'm in my mid 30's).

                                1. re: maplesugar
                                  k
                                  KevinB Jun 9, 2008 03:06 PM

                                  Nope, when I was a teenager in the 70's, it was not at all unusual to visit the local greasy spoon, and order a plate of fries, and a chocolate soda (chocolate syrup, scoop of vanilla ice cream, filled with soda water). And before Baskin-Robbins took over the ice cream market, there were ice cream chains like Swensen's that made sodas as well as sundaes. I agree it's harder to find them these days, but they still exist.

                                  We were in New York City a couple of years ago, and I took my elder daughter to the Met. As we returned to the subway, we saw a little "soda shoppe". I had an egg cream, and Nicky had her first chocolate soda, which she thought was great.

                                2. re: KevinB
                                  purple goddess Jun 9, 2008 04:31 PM

                                  A scoop of icecream in a tall glass of soft drink is a "spider".

                                  Icecream, syrup and soda water just sounds disgusting....

                                  But a scoop of icream, a raw egg, in milk with ice and syrup (which we call "topping") is an egg flip, and delicious!

                                  1. re: purple goddess
                                    k
                                    KevinB Jun 11, 2008 07:00 PM

                                    With all sincerity - try a soda! I'm sure most groceries sell some sort of chocolate syrup. Put a little in the bottom of a tall glass, then put in the ice cream, and (slowly!!) add the soda water, as it will fizz and bubble up like crazy. Serve with a straw and a long necked spoon. I promise you won't be disappointed.

                            2. re: KevinB
                              purple goddess Jun 9, 2008 04:22 PM

                              canAPSE and crooditAY's and hors d'oeuvres are definitely served prior to the meal, when mingling, standing.. that sort of thing.

                              There is no such thing as Ketchup in OZ.. although I see that one particular supermarket is bottling tomato sauce as "ketchup" and I doubt that it will sell. Us Aussies are fanatical about the Americanisation of our country, and we take particular umbrage at our national condiment being Yankified.

                              The stuff you use in pasta sauces,stews is either toMAHto paste or pasta sauce. Because I am a wanker, I might call it "sugo", and my family know what I am referring to.

                              dead'orse goes on ya pie, mate, tomato paste goes in ya spa bog.

                              To differential between different flavours of "pasta sauce", you might refer to the container.. as in.. "Can you grab me a jar of pasta sauce?" which would differentiate it from tomato paste, or even use the brand name "Grab me a jar of Five Brother's.. the one with the eggplant in it, would ya?"

                              So a recipe for spag bog (OZ for spaghetti bolognese ) might be:

                              Brown 500g of lean mince, a diced onion and 2 cloves of garlic, 1 teaspoon of Italian herbs, add 2 tablespoons of tomato paste, fry off. Add 500mls of red wine and 500mls of pasta sauce, simmer until done.

                              All the measurements would be in metric, including the metric tablespoon/teaspoon which are different amount from and Imperial OR an American tablespoon.

                              1. re: purple goddess
                                k
                                KevinB Jun 11, 2008 07:30 PM

                                "The stuff you use in pasta sauces,stews is either toMAHto paste or pasta sauce."

                                Not in this colony. Tomato paste is a very thick concentrate of tomato flavour, generally used to thicken and add flavour to sauces and stews. Tomato sauce is a much thinner sauce of tomato puree and water, with a few flavourings such as salt, sugar, and garlic added. Most people will use tomato sauce as a neutral base for a pasta sauce (or stews, or chili, or beans - it's quite versatile), but add in additional spices, meats, onions, celery, etc. as they see fit. (It's also not unusual for people to add a small tin of tomato paste to the sauce to thicken it.)

                                Pasta sauce is a tomato sauce with additonal spices and flavours added. It is considerably thicker in consistency than tomato sauce, but not near as thick as tomato paste. (You can stand a spoon upright in the paste; not so in either pasta or tomato sauce.) For example, I can get pasta sauce with vegetables such as onion, celery, carrot, and mushrooms, or one with basil and romano cheese, or one with hot peppers, etc. Pasta sauce is tomato sauce PLUS something extra.

                                "Us Aussies are fanatical about the Americanisation of our country".

                                Doubtless. We Canadians are quite disturbed by the indignities suffered by the Queen's English at the hands of Americans, and, er, others.

                                1. re: KevinB
                                  greedygirl Jun 12, 2008 03:10 AM

                                  Not as disturbed as those of us who live in the motherland! Thank God for BBC Radio - doing its level best to uphold standards!

                                2. re: purple goddess
                                  kmh Jul 4, 2008 01:30 AM

                                  umnmmm. I buy ketchup (Heinz) over sauce - i prefer it...
                                  sauce is pronounce sawwwssss not suss

                              2. re: purple goddess
                                kmh Jul 4, 2008 01:25 AM

                                PG this is perhaps the ONLY sensible thing on this board written about the australian cuisine terminology. Most understandings and assumptions ^^^above had me rolling my eyes.

                                extras:
                                fillet (fill-ay) mignon is made using filleT steak.

                                Tea is sometimes used in areas where lunch is dinner (i.e. dinner is served at lunch time) and this is most often heard around farming and rural types.

                                I say crisps so my husband can understand me.

                                1. re: purple goddess
                                  n
                                  noodlegirl83 Sep 1, 2009 04:24 AM

                                  Great summary, love it!
                                  I'm from Aus (Melb, too) and should have read your post before posting a few times randomly earlier in the thread!! Agree with everything you wrote, except
                                  I say "alla-MIN-yum"
                                  And I do occasionally hear some people of working-class or old fashioned nature refer to dinner as 'tea'. Mostly just dinner though, isn't it!
                                  And Icy Poles, yes!! lol ;D

                                2. Sam Fujisaka Jun 5, 2008 07:38 AM

                                  Here is the "soda" vs "pop" vs "cola" vs "other" map of the US:

                                  http://popvssoda.com:2998/countystats...

                                  15 Replies
                                  1. re: Sam Fujisaka
                                    Gio Jun 5, 2008 07:51 AM

                                    How very interesting, Sam. Thanks for that. I wonder what "other" would be called instead of Pop, Coke and Soda....
                                    BTW: I live in Sodaland but never touch the stuff.

                                    1. re: Gio
                                      BobB Jun 9, 2008 09:06 AM

                                      One notable and highly localized "other" is the word tonic. When I was growing up in Boston in the '50s and '60s all carbonated soft drinks were tonic. Nowadays soda is probably the more widespread term thanks to the homogenizing influence of McDonalds and its ilk, but there are still plenty of people here who call it tonic. And yet the map Sam found shows no indication of "other" usages in the area. Makes me wonder about its credibility...

                                      1. re: BobB
                                        e
                                        evewitch Aug 29, 2009 12:11 PM

                                        Yep. My grandma (an American-born Italian living in Belmont) has always called it "tonic."

                                    2. re: Sam Fujisaka
                                      LNG212 Jun 5, 2008 07:52 AM

                                      Thanks, Sam, for the awesome map. As another interesting note ... I'm a NY-er and used to asking for "seltzer" if I'm in a bar and not drinking. When I moved to Toronto for a short period, I'd ask for "seltzer" and would be greeted with the reply "what flavor?" Confused the heck out of me. And they used the term "pop" as well, iirc, for "soda". I don't recall if I did, but I should have tried asking for "club soda" to see what would happen. :)

                                      1. re: Sam Fujisaka
                                        greedygirl Jun 5, 2008 07:55 AM

                                        Is Coke used for all types of soft drink in the South then?

                                        1. re: greedygirl
                                          carswell Jun 5, 2008 08:04 AM

                                          Actually, the map's key shows the usage of coke (not cola) as a generic. And, yes, in many places in the south it refers to all types of soft drinks, including non cola-coloured ones.

                                          1. re: carswell
                                            grayelf Jun 5, 2008 10:32 AM

                                            Chiming in from Vancouver (the BC one) to say it's usually soft drinks or pop here. If you order a soda, you'll likely get club soda. It was the same when I lived in Toronto 15 years ago, as I recall...

                                            1. re: grayelf
                                              maplesugar Jun 6, 2008 10:37 AM

                                              2 cents from Calgary (and having grown up in the Ottawa area) I agree on soft drinks/pop. I grew up down the street from a Pop Shoppe that sold it's own house brand "pop" which referred to every flavour & colour. If you order soda, particularly at any bar I've worked at, you'll get club soda/bar soda. :)

                                            2. re: carswell
                                              MMRuth Jun 5, 2008 03:08 PM

                                              Yes, they'll ask what kind of coke you want - Sprite, etc.

                                              1. re: MMRuth
                                                livetocook Jun 6, 2008 11:48 AM

                                                So, if you want "Coke" do you say Coca cola??

                                                As far as I know, every where in Canada we call it Pop. Soft Drink is also a term used but, I think of that as, I don't know less casual. (I immediately think movie theatre for some reason). If we hear someone want one it be, "I feel like having pop" The only time I'd hear someone say, "I feel like having a soft drink" would be my DH, jokingly

                                          2. re: Sam Fujisaka
                                            h
                                            Harters Jun 5, 2008 03:05 PM

                                            I find this very interesting - but then I like maps (I have a US friend who has been regularly sending me county maps of the results of the primaries)

                                            Some states seem to have little difference betwen counties whislt others have almost a chequerboard effect. Is there anything about the population make-up or culture or whatever that might account for this.

                                            And then there's the odd looking outcomes in certain states. I've visited Virginia more than anywhere else so that was the first place I looked. Looks to be generally a soda state until you get to the rural south west when it becomes pop. Similarly, New York is soda in the east, pop in the west. Is this just geography?

                                            1. re: Harters
                                              MMRuth Jun 5, 2008 03:12 PM

                                              Doesn't surprise me at all about Virginia - as you may know, much of northern Virginia is DC suburbia, lots of transplants, more "northeast" in mentality, whereas southwestern VA is MUCH more rural, southern. Probably a similar situation with NY.

                                              And, I think there are also differences in the U.S. in terms of what people call the evening meal - supper vs. dinner. But Sunday dinner, as far as I know, is always lunch!

                                              What I find so interesting is the split in Wisconsin, and the pocket of "soda" in southeastern Illinois and eastern Missouri. And no mention of the term "soft drink" at all. Maybe that goes into "other".

                                              1. re: Harters
                                                a
                                                Agent Orange Jun 8, 2008 11:05 PM

                                                As far as New York state, I would say that the western part of NY on the Great Lakes is much more Midwestern in culture than the rest of the state. "Upstate" NY and the NYC region are more "Northeastern" and seem to have more in common with the Mid-Atlantic and New England states.

                                                Virginia is a little funny. It's Southern, but not of the "Deep South", and the demographics are more "Northeastern" around DC (the NoVa region), as MMRuth points out. The southwestern corner of the state is topographically mountainous and part of Appalachia and therefore shares much in common with West Virginia / western Kentucky which apparently means calling soda "pop".

                                                Which reminds me of the term "soda pop". I've heard many a Midwestern transplant in Florida use this term for soft drinks. Is it actually spoken up there, or is it a concession between their old vocabulary and that of their adopted home?

                                              2. re: Sam Fujisaka
                                                s
                                                soupkitten Jun 6, 2008 10:58 AM

                                                in msp i grew up with "pop" but then the east coast kids made fun of me for "pop" when i went to school, and i say "soda" now. i don't think i made any other major concessions, other than altering my pronunciation of the words "bag" and "hammock." i think it's got a sort of bourgeoisie element too. if you're eating in a diner in my area of the midwest (particularly the further out of the cities), the *waitress* will ask if you'd like a *pop.* if you are *dining* in an urban restaurant the *server* will certainly bring you a *soda.*

                                                1. re: Sam Fujisaka
                                                  maria lorraine Jun 8, 2008 08:30 PM

                                                  Nice goin', Sam. I wonder if there are other maps of that ilk for other food terms.

                                                2. Passadumkeg Jun 4, 2008 12:40 PM

                                                  And remember a cold will lasr 2 weeks if you take care of it and a fortnight if you don't What is a fortnight?
                                                  Now beer vocabulary has moved in the US, and become quite similar in both languages, except for a shandy, Brrrrugh!

                                                  1. Sam Fujisaka Jun 4, 2008 11:10 AM

                                                    I'll try to find a map that shows the geographic distribution in the US of the differential use of: "pop, soda, soda pop, soft drinks", and other words used for soft drinks.

                                                    11 Replies
                                                    1. re: Sam Fujisaka
                                                      h
                                                      Harters Jun 4, 2008 11:27 AM

                                                      I'd be interested to see that, Sam. I'd always assumed "pop" was a North British word (you don't come across it in the south too much) until I heard it in upstate New York (and Ontario). Our context is a carbonated soft drink (like, say, Sprite) - presumably orginating from the time when bottles were corked and would "pop" when opened.

                                                      1. re: Harters
                                                        scoopG Jun 4, 2008 02:47 PM

                                                        Pop is used in upstate NY? Wow. I know pop is used in the Midwest. In NYC usage of pop will only draw a confused stare!

                                                        I love the origin of the English usage of "Elephant and Castle" from the French and of course the famous French town of Ypres, which in WWI English soldiers called "Wipers."

                                                        1. re: scoopG
                                                          h
                                                          Harters Jun 4, 2008 03:12 PM

                                                          The famous French town of Ypres is actually the famous Belgian town of Ypres (now called Ieper).

                                                          The Tommies did indeed call it "Wipers" as they called the nearby village of Wijtschaete "Whitesheet" and Ploegsteert "Plugstreet". The Flemish dialect is a so-and-so of a language to pronounce so I wouldnt blame them. Belgian e-friends say it should be called Plegm-ish.

                                                          But just to show that they had some humour and understanding of the language, three nearby field hospitals were called Bandaghem, Dozinghem and Mendinghem.

                                                          To keep sort of on topic, it's a great area of the world for food - particularly in the mussel season which is just about ended now until September. I visit quite often - but havnt yet learned sufficient of the language to be able to order correctly. Mercifully, as Belgium has French and Flemish (Dutch) as official languages, menus are always in both languages.

                                                          1. re: scoopG
                                                            Catskillgirl Jun 7, 2008 02:04 PM

                                                            Only in Western upstate NY. *G* I grew up near Buffalo and it's definitely "pop" there. Moved to NYC where it's "soda" with many trips to Boston where it's "tonic". Now when I visit my sibs near Buffalo, "pop" sounds very foreign to me, since in the Catskills where I live everyone drinks "soda".

                                                            1. re: scoopG
                                                              w
                                                              Whippet Aug 29, 2009 05:16 PM

                                                              Sadly, the E&C origin appears to be apocryphal:
                                                              http://www.worldwidewords.org/qa/qa-e...

                                                              1. re: Whippet
                                                                e
                                                                evewitch Aug 30, 2009 08:52 AM

                                                                I think the real origin is a bit cooler, really. Always hate to hear of something that is named what it is because of "those stupid" whomever.

                                                            2. re: Harters
                                                              greedygirl Jun 5, 2008 03:25 AM

                                                              I also think pop is a Northern thing - many's the time we were sent down to the shop by my Dad for a bottle of pop and a Mars Bar. It was a major treat when my mother (who is a food fascist) went out for the night to - I kid you not - "Young Wives". What can I say - it was the seventies!

                                                              1. re: greedygirl
                                                                s
                                                                smartie Jun 5, 2008 02:50 PM

                                                                pop is definitely northern - we southerners called them fizzy drinks!

                                                            3. re: Sam Fujisaka
                                                              carswell Jun 4, 2008 11:30 AM

                                                              Any such map worth the paper it's printed on should also show the places (mostly southern, I'd wager) where coke is used as a generic for all carbonated soft drinks, not just Coca Cola.

                                                              1. re: carswell
                                                                Sam Fujisaka Jun 4, 2008 12:24 PM

                                                                I believe the map has cola as a generic term. Still looking for it.

                                                                1. re: carswell
                                                                  a
                                                                  Agent Orange Jun 8, 2008 10:52 PM

                                                                  Edited for redundancy. Map link posted below.

                                                              2. Passadumkeg Jun 4, 2008 06:32 AM

                                                                After 1066:

                                                                English farm: French ruling class:
                                                                cow boeff
                                                                pig porc
                                                                sheep mouton

                                                                And why are evening meals called "tea"?

                                                                11 Replies
                                                                1. re: Passadumkeg
                                                                  carswell Jun 4, 2008 06:51 AM

                                                                  Don't forget:

                                                                  calf veau/veal

                                                                  1. re: Passadumkeg
                                                                    h
                                                                    Harters Jun 4, 2008 08:31 AM

                                                                    "And why are evening meals called "tea"?"

                                                                    To differentiate them from the middle of the day meal called "dinner" :-0

                                                                    To give you what I understand the short answer to be.....traditionally (as nowadays), the main meal of the day was called "dinner". But it was eaten in the middle of the day to fit in with work arrangements. Therefore there was a need to call the evening meal something else. Hence "tea". However, please don't confuse "tea" with the drink "tea" or "afternoon tea" or, even "high tea" as these are entirely different experiences. Nowadays, depending on your geographical location in Britain and/or your social class, you are likely to call your evening meal "dinner", "tea" or "supper". However, even here this can be misleading as someone may well have their "tea" and then "supper". In this case, "supper" means a light snack just before going to bed. As a rough rule of thumb if your evening meal is "tea", you are likely to be be northern and/or working class. If it's "supper", definately middle class and southern. Most people just have lunch and dinner, though. Everyone has breakfast - except dieters.

                                                                    Hope that's clear :-)

                                                                    I gather Australians use tea/dinner in much the same way. Dunno about New Zealanders or other English speakers in the Commonwealth of Nations. .

                                                                    1. re: Harters
                                                                      Passadumkeg Jun 4, 2008 08:53 AM

                                                                      And Geordies have Tetly's!
                                                                      Why is Marmite called marmite? Aluminum spelled differently? Billion, a different number? We don't use daft, spive, the bog, nicked, etc.?
                                                                      English: the common lnguage that divides.
                                                                      Right chuft,
                                                                      Just being Bolshie

                                                                      1. re: Passadumkeg
                                                                        h
                                                                        Harters Jun 4, 2008 09:29 AM

                                                                        "Right chuft"

                                                                        Ah, now then. Your "chuffed". Being "right chuffed" is being "very pleased" (traditionaly said in a fake Yorkshire accent as "I'm reet chuffed to 'ave trained me whippets to go down t'pit"). But chuff can also be a euphemism for the word which Americans sometimes substitute "freak".

                                                                        There are some very useful "British slang" websites out there. I use another board (different subject) where most users are Brits but there are some Yanks. Occasionally, they need translations.

                                                                        Word differences can be very very localised. And to return to food by way of explanation. Take a small bread roll - a burger bun sort of thing, if you like. We'd call it a bun if a burger was in it. It'd be a bread roll if it was served in a restaurant. But if I go to my bakers to buy some, I ask for "barm cakes" or "barms" - a particular flat version would be an "oven bottom". However. drive 10 miles north and exactly the same thing is a "bap". Drive 15 miles south east and its a "cob". Go a bit further south and its a "batch".

                                                                        Yours

                                                                        Bolshie John

                                                                        1. re: Harters
                                                                          livetocook Jun 6, 2008 11:34 AM

                                                                          Ack. I'm going cross eyed trying to keep up.

                                                                          It's all bun, bun, bun here in Edmonton, AB, Canada. With a description in front ie, hotdog hamburger, sesame, whole wheat etc. If you said dinner roll I'd know what you meant but, would immediately think the pull apart type.

                                                                          1. re: livetocook
                                                                            h
                                                                            Harters Jun 6, 2008 03:24 PM

                                                                            I'm going to make it worse. I forgot "muffin".

                                                                            Again, I don't have to go too far from home to find exactly the same bread roll is called a "muffin". And I do mean exactly the same.

                                                                            This is not a muffin in the American sense of the word of a small cake thing (which are now sold in the UK). Nor is it an "English Muffin" which, until recently was not available in England and was, I think, an American invention (but we now have them here). Nor is it a traditional Brit muffin which is toasted as a snack and looks very similar to a "muffin", but, errr, fluffier.

                                                                            So, think yourself lucky in Edmonton. If I go into a sandwich shop here and want a cheese and salad sandwich, I need to know if the local word is barm, bap, batch, cob or muffin (and I havnt moved more than one county away from home). Much easier just to ask for it as a sandwich on 2 slices of bread!

                                                                            1. re: Harters
                                                                              Catskillgirl Jun 7, 2008 02:01 PM

                                                                              Fascinating. Truly. So many variations!

                                                                      2. re: Harters
                                                                        k
                                                                        KevinB Jun 4, 2008 11:53 AM

                                                                        I'm afraid the Canadian colonials have adopted the American terms, and it's breakfast, lunch, and dinner here, although some people do use supper and dinner interchangeably.

                                                                        However, my English grandparents were quite particular that the midday meal on Sunday (after church, of course), was "Sunday dinner". Sadly, that was always either over-cooked roast beef, Yorkshires, and gluey gravy (no horseradish, alas), or over-cooked mutton, boiled potatoes, and gluey gravy (no mint sauce, alas). On the ride home from Hamilton to Toronto (about an hour), the only sounds coming from the back seat were childish wails of "When can we get something to eat?!".

                                                                        Oh, and I worked with an English ex-pat for a few years who always took delight in his "elevenses".

                                                                        1. re: Harters
                                                                          greedygirl Jun 5, 2008 03:22 AM

                                                                          I think that's about right. My parents, who are working-class turned lower middle-class Northerners, have breakfast, dinner and tea. I, on the other hand, as a Northerner who is middle-class and now lives in the South (and speaks the "affected BBC dialect"), have gone native and have breakfast, lunch and dinner.

                                                                          1. re: Harters
                                                                            s
                                                                            saacnmama Aug 28, 2009 11:47 PM

                                                                            But 'supper' is a perfectly good word that risks no confusion with afternoon traditions!

                                                                            1. re: Harters
                                                                              n
                                                                              noodlegirl83 Sep 1, 2009 04:20 AM

                                                                              Yep, it's a working class or old fashioned Aussie thing to say "tea" for dinner, nothing to do with tea the beverage or afternoon tea (consisting of tea the beverage and some snacks/cakes). Not as common now I think, though, most people say dinner! And lunch is always lunch!

                                                                          2. k
                                                                            KevinB May 31, 2008 01:24 AM

                                                                            When you're finished with that, perhaps you can find out why, when "au jus" is French for "with the juice" (of the roast), American menus often refer to dishes as being served "with au jus sauce". "With with the juice sauce"?

                                                                            15 Replies
                                                                            1. re: KevinB
                                                                              h
                                                                              Harters May 31, 2008 02:47 AM

                                                                              And then go on to discussing why, in America, "a la mode" means with ice cream - when it's just "in the style/fashion" in French.

                                                                              And why Americans pronounce "herb" as 'erb, as though it was French. Particularly as I don't believe they pronounce "hotel" as 'otel.

                                                                              1. re: Harters
                                                                                susancinsf Jun 1, 2008 09:15 AM

                                                                                I am from the US and pronounce the h in herb, though admittedly a bit more slightly than the h in hotel...

                                                                                1. re: Harters
                                                                                  l
                                                                                  Lizard Jun 1, 2008 10:55 PM

                                                                                  But Harters, once you open up this can, other questions inevitably follow:

                                                                                  Why do Britons insist upon using the French words for some things (aubergine, courgette, for instance) and yet also pronounce other French words against the grain (valet, for instance)?

                                                                                  As for American pronunciation of 'herbs'-- never found it particularly French (which would involve a different vowel pronunciations) and always makes me think 'grass' first as opposed to say, aromates...

                                                                                  1. re: Lizard
                                                                                    h
                                                                                    Harters Jun 2, 2008 01:27 AM

                                                                                    "Why do Britons insist upon using the French words for some things (aubergine, courgette, for instance) and yet also pronounce other French words against the grain (valet, for instance)? "

                                                                                    As to the former, I imagine it has everything to do with France only being 20 miles away (a 45 minute ferry trip), so it will have been through there that courgettes were imported rather than zuccini via Italy. Our climate doesnt successfully grow aubergines, so most are imported from Spain or the Netherlands, but there doesnt seem to be a need to suddenly call them the Spanish or Dutch word. Although I think the Dutch word for aubergine is aubergine.

                                                                                    "Valet" goes back hundreds of years as a word in usage - back to the time when French was still the language of upper class society who would employ them. However, inn terms of the role "at court", we quickly Anglicised the job and called them "grooms". You won't generally hear "valet" much used in the UK as it is in the US. However, as we're British, we insist on pronouncing "varlet" (also derived from French) with the final letter.

                                                                                    I think the short answer is that since the Romans arrived a couple of thousand years ago, we've been adapting the language as new things and customs arrive. For example, teenage Brits now use many American words and idioms, picked up from TV programmes - they are seen to be fashionable. Original imprting arrangements probably also explains why we use "tomato", derived from the Spanish tomate, rather than the Italian pomodoro

                                                                                    1. re: Harters
                                                                                      l
                                                                                      Lizard Jun 3, 2008 12:44 AM

                                                                                      Cheers for that, Harters.

                                                                                      There are other words pronounced against the grain. Not that I can remember. I've thought this might have as much to do with proximity as the choice of produce terminology. (Producing difference from the continent.)

                                                                                      1. re: Lizard
                                                                                        h
                                                                                        Harters Jun 3, 2008 04:40 AM

                                                                                        We are, indeed, a linguistically challenged small island nation located off the coast of Europe.

                                                                                        1. re: Harters
                                                                                          Gio Jun 3, 2008 05:10 AM

                                                                                          But, the sound of your speech is sooooo mellifluous.

                                                                                          I wonder if Italy stands alone with the designations:
                                                                                          Primi
                                                                                          Secondi
                                                                                          Contorni, etc.....

                                                                                          1. re: Gio
                                                                                            greedygirl Jun 4, 2008 05:54 AM

                                                                                            You've clearly never been to Manchester and heard the way they mangle the words ciabatta (cha-batt-ar) and panini. ;-o

                                                                                            1. re: greedygirl
                                                                                              h
                                                                                              Harters Jun 4, 2008 08:18 AM

                                                                                              "ciabatta (cha-batt-ar)"

                                                                                              You mean I've been pronouncing it wrongly all these years. Deary me.

                                                                                              Gio - that's very kind. But I'm afraid that our local accent is not one of the most pleasant on the ears. Think the Gallagher brothers from Oasis - or the irritating Brit woman in "Frasier".

                                                                                              1. re: Harters
                                                                                                Gio Jun 4, 2008 08:58 AM

                                                                                                GG and H... The most wonderfuly incomprehensible British speaker I've ever heard is Ian Wright the Globe Trekker traveller. Absolutely Love his shows. Sometimes the need for sub-titles exists. He was born in Suffolk.

                                                                                                http://www.pilotguides.com/tv_shows/g...

                                                                                            2. re: Gio
                                                                                              kmh Jul 4, 2008 01:16 AM

                                                                                              pasta antipasta zuppe

                                                                                              1. re: kmh
                                                                                                l
                                                                                                Lizard Jul 4, 2008 01:35 AM

                                                                                                Wow, now I'm confused. I thought that antipasti were served before pasta and main dishes. But perhaps I just thought so on account of that prefix (not prix fixe :) )

                                                                                                1. re: Lizard
                                                                                                  kmh Jul 4, 2008 01:58 PM

                                                                                                  I didn't mean the order was just suggesting there are more items on an italian menu than primi secondi...

                                                                                                  1. re: kmh
                                                                                                    l
                                                                                                    Lizard Jul 4, 2008 11:13 PM

                                                                                                    Gotcha. Thanks!

                                                                                    2. re: Harters
                                                                                      p
                                                                                      Pete S Jun 12, 2008 08:49 AM

                                                                                      That's always puzzled me too (the Herb thing) - Someone told me it was to avoid confusion with the man's name "Herb" (more common in the US than here in the UK).

                                                                                  2. carswell May 30, 2008 08:51 PM

                                                                                    Margaret Visser gives a detailed explanation in her excellent *The Rituals of Dinner*.

                                                                                    French-style formal dinners in the 18th and 19th centuries had a set sequence. They would typically begin with one or more soups. The next dish would be the *relevés* ("removes" in English), which might be roast mutton, stewed turkey or two large fishes. Only then came the *entrées*, "the 'entries' to the meal proper, which might include cheek of veal, cutlets, tongue, vol-au-vent, sole, chicken, sweetbreads, and eels." There followed two large *entremets* (a cake and a fish, for example). "Around the large creations clustered little dishes, the *hors d'oeuvres*, placed literally 'outside' the main 'works': *hors d'oeuvres* stood apart spatially, not temporally as they do today." Next was the second course, the really big items including, possibly, one or more *pièces de résistance*, accompanied by salads, vegetables and sweet *entremets*. The last course was dessert (sweets, pastries, cheese, fruit and possibly meat pâtés).

                                                                                    So, when entrée (the course in a meal) entered the English language, it was actually the second or third dish served and that's the meaning that stuck. The French, on the other hand, perhaps encouraged by the fact that *entrée* is a native word with the meaning of entrance, viewed it as the first course, especially after *relevés* fell out of fashion. But even today, when you start a multi-course French meal with a soup, it's the second dish, the dish that comes after the soup, that's the *entrée*.

                                                                                    18 Replies
                                                                                    1. re: carswell
                                                                                      Sam Fujisaka May 30, 2008 09:11 PM

                                                                                      No hors d'oeuvres and pates, terrines, or timbales before the potages and soups???? I'm temporally and historically and gaulically wrong? Sacre bleu! Mon deu!

                                                                                      1. re: carswell
                                                                                        c
                                                                                        cornflower55 Jun 1, 2008 02:41 PM

                                                                                        true, except the change didn't happen solely as a result of translation from french to english. entree means the first course both in the UK and Australia (although in the UK the term "starter" is more commonly used).

                                                                                        none of the explanations i've heard explain the fact that the usage of entree as the main course is specific to the US and Canada.

                                                                                        1. re: cornflower55
                                                                                          h
                                                                                          Harters Jun 1, 2008 02:58 PM

                                                                                          "entree means the first course both in the UK and Australia (although in the UK the term "starter" is more commonly used). "

                                                                                          I have never seen "entree" used to describe the first course in the UK. We would always call it either the "first course" or "starter".

                                                                                          1. re: Harters
                                                                                            n
                                                                                            noodlegirl83 Sep 1, 2009 04:16 AM

                                                                                            I'm an Aussie and yes we say entree for the first course ("starter" you would call it) and "main" for the main!

                                                                                            And also, fillet pronouncing the "t". I have only ever heard it pronounced "fill-ay" on Iron Chef with the American dubbing, so I guessed it was an American thing...

                                                                                          2. re: cornflower55
                                                                                            carswell Jun 3, 2008 05:44 PM

                                                                                            As far as I know, entrée is rarely used in British English and when it is it refers to a dish served between the fish and meat courses (cf. Sir H. Thompson's 1880 *Food & Feeding* "A family dinner may consist ... of soup, fish, entrée, roast and sweet" as cited in the OED). So, not the first course.

                                                                                            You're apparently right about Australian English.

                                                                                            My guess is that the different meanings have something to do with when the word entered common usage in the various countries. Webster's isn't clear on when it entered North American English but I'd bet it was well before it entered Australian English, i.e. that the Americans went with the old meaning, the Aussies with the new.

                                                                                          3. re: carswell
                                                                                            maria lorraine Jun 8, 2008 08:23 PM

                                                                                            Carswell, you are linguistically gifted in both French and English...

                                                                                            answer me this.

                                                                                            In culinary school, it was beaten into us that the proper spelling was
                                                                                            hors d'oeuvre. It's already plural so no need for a "s" at the end of
                                                                                            oeuvre. Translation: things outside the work -- the work, the oeuvre, being the meal. Not the "works."

                                                                                            What's your take on this? Or any other Chowhound's.

                                                                                            1. re: maria lorraine
                                                                                              carswell Jun 8, 2008 08:36 PM

                                                                                              Hi, Maria,

                                                                                              Not so much linguistically gifted as just fortunate enough to live in a bilingual city.

                                                                                              *Hors-d'oeuvre* is the French singular and plural. The English plural (as per Merriam-Webster's, for example) is either hors d'oeuvres or hors d'oeuvre (MW lists the former first). So, you're right in catching Visser's typo in the quote: since *hors d'oeuvres* was italicized (what I tried to indicate with the asterisks), it was in French and should therefore have been *hors-d'oeuvre*. She also left out the hyphen, which, according to Le Petit Robert, is de rigueur.

                                                                                              I imagine Visser spoke of "works" because in a typical formal dinner, which she was describing, there would often be several large dishes -- i.e. works -- served as part of each course.

                                                                                              1. re: carswell
                                                                                                maria lorraine Jun 8, 2008 08:59 PM

                                                                                                Thanks, Carswell.

                                                                                                I had always assumed that the temporal definition of hors-d'oeurve was the correct one: the small bites that came *before* the meal, the oeuvre, began. The spatial definition eluded me in my reading of Visser long ago.

                                                                                                And just one oeuvre. Like a symphony with several movements is still one oeuvre.

                                                                                                (And I corrected my own misspelling above!)

                                                                                                1. re: maria lorraine
                                                                                                  carswell Jun 8, 2008 09:08 PM

                                                                                                  I think she's using it in the French sense, where it can mean either a body of work or the individual works that comprise the body of work (e.g. an "oeuvre d'art"). For example, Le Petit Robert defines *Œuvre littéraire* as *Les œuvres complètes d'un auteur.*

                                                                                                  1. re: carswell
                                                                                                    s
                                                                                                    soupkitten Jun 9, 2008 09:37 AM

                                                                                                    actually "outside the work" originally referred to the kitchen brigade system-- the chef and various station cooks took care of meats, fish, mains, vegetables, sauces, baking, pastry etc. these guys dealt with the main meal and it's components--

                                                                                                    the small bites, appetizers, starters, hors-d'oeurve-- whatever you want to call 'em, were actually originally the job of the servers/butlers/house staff, and so, while "hors-d'oeurve" were part of the meal, the chefs and cooks had very little to do with them, and they referred to these small noshes as "outside of the work"-- "the work" being their own kitchen tasks.

                                                                                                    1. re: soupkitten
                                                                                                      maria lorraine Jun 9, 2008 10:30 AM

                                                                                                      Thanks. Have an information source so I can read more and compare it to Visser's?

                                                                                                      1. re: soupkitten
                                                                                                        carswell Jun 9, 2008 10:33 AM

                                                                                                        Interesting proposed etymology but the first time I've heard of it. A hardly exhaustive scan of various French and English dictionaries, food reference books and websites turns up nothing in the way of support for it. Can you cite a reference or two? Visser provides an extensive bibliography.

                                                                                                        While Le Petit Robert doesn't come out and state the origin, it does point in a direction. The first listed use (1596) of *hors-d'oeuvre* is as an architectural term meaning a room projecting or detached from the main building, also used literarily to mean an accessory or superfluous thing. *Hors-d'oeuvre* in the culinary sense wasn't used until the following century.

                                                                                                        Quoting William and Mary Morris' Dictionary of Word and Phrase Origins (via The Straight Dope): "The French phrase hors d'oeuvres literally means 'outside the works.' Originally it was an architectural term referring to an outbuilding not incorporated into the architect's main design. The phrase was borrowed by France's culinary experts to indicate appetizers customarily served apart from the main course of a dinner. Thus hors d'oeuvres are, quite literally, outside the main design of the meal." The Oxford Dictionary of English Etymology would appear to support this view.

                                                                                                        1. re: carswell
                                                                                                          s
                                                                                                          soupkitten Jun 10, 2008 09:10 AM

                                                                                                          oh crud you guys-- i can't find anything online either, and i believe i read that particular nugget in a textbook. i'm going to have to find the reference for you at home tonight. i'll look for the book and give you a cite as soon as i can. tx

                                                                                                  2. re: carswell
                                                                                                    l
                                                                                                    lagatta Aug 29, 2009 05:40 PM

                                                                                                    My "Oxford English Reference Dictionary" (the English print dictionary I use most) spells hors-d'oeuvre just as in French, and doesn't list a plural.

                                                                                                    1. re: lagatta
                                                                                                      carswell Aug 31, 2009 05:06 PM

                                                                                                      I earn my keep as a word nerd and I've got to say that's the first time I've heard the OERD cited as a spelling authority. Let's take a look at a couple of more frequently cited references for contemporary British English, shall we?
                                                                                                      - Shorter Oxford English Dictionary (6th edition, 2007): hors d'oeuvre / hors d'oeuvres
                                                                                                      - Concise Oxford English Dictionary (11th edition, 2004): hors d'oeuvre / same or hors d'oeuvres (for what it's worth, the Chambers Concise 20th Century Dictionary agrees).

                                                                                                      More to the point, maria lorraine is American. Merriam Webster's (hors d'oeuvre / hors d'oeuvres) is widely considered the most up-to-date U.S. reference for spelling, hyphenation, word division, etc. But even the venerable and voluminous Webster's Third New International Dictionary (1993) favours hors d'oeuvre / hors d'oeuvres (with hors d'oeuvre listed as an alternate plural). What's more, Margaret Visser, I and, from every indication, you are Canadian. The spelling in the Canadian Oxford Dictionary (2nd edition, 2004), arguably the modern-day arbiter of Canadian orthography, is hors d'oeuvre / hors d'oeuvres. Same story for the outmoded but still occasionally cited Gage (1996 CD-ROM version included with the Canadian Encyclopedia).

                                                                                                      Of course there's no single authority in English and variant spellings abound (see chile, chili, chilli, chillie, etc.). Nevertheless it seems quite clear that, although one may encounter hors-d'oeuvre in English-language texts from time to time, it is not standard modern usage.

                                                                                                      1. re: carswell
                                                                                                        Caitlin McGrath Sep 1, 2009 07:45 PM

                                                                                                        And I think the reason is clear enough: in English, hors d'oeuvres reflects the way people say it as a plural; unlike the way people prounounce the plural in French (same as singular), in English we add the 's' sound to the end as with other nouns. If we don't it is because we are making a point of pronouncing it the French way.

                                                                                                        1. re: Caitlin McGrath
                                                                                                          h
                                                                                                          Harters Sep 2, 2009 01:46 PM

                                                                                                          In truth, I'm not sure how we spell this in the UK, but I think we'd usually pronounce it in the French way, without any "s".

                                                                                                          1. re: Harters
                                                                                                            Caitlin McGrath Sep 2, 2009 03:17 PM

                                                                                                            Thanks for the point of reference, John. I shouldn't have generalized to all English speakers, vs. Americans and perhaps Anglophone Canadians.

                                                                                              2. s
                                                                                                smartie May 30, 2008 03:50 PM

                                                                                                interesting point because in England menus mostly say hors d'oevres instead of appetizers and often main courses instead of entrees. Also in England we always say fillet pronouncing the end T and in the usa it's pronounced the French way fillay. It's back to tomato tomayto again ..................

                                                                                                4 Replies
                                                                                                1. re: smartie
                                                                                                  l
                                                                                                  Leonardo May 30, 2008 04:03 PM

                                                                                                  Reason the English pronounce the ending "t" in fillet is to waste no opportunity to intentionally mispronounce a French word. When Americans do so, it is more out of ignorance.

                                                                                                  I too have always wondered about the entree thing. Thanks.

                                                                                                  1. re: smartie
                                                                                                    Amuse Bouches Jun 4, 2008 03:01 PM

                                                                                                    I think in America hors d'oeuvres have a different connotation than the first course -- I think of it as cocktail tidbits -- things like canapes or party meatballs -- something to serve with drinks.

                                                                                                    1. re: smartie
                                                                                                      BobB Jun 9, 2008 08:56 AM

                                                                                                      Seems to me I've more often seen the word "starters" used in the UK where we Americans would say appetizers.

                                                                                                      1. re: BobB
                                                                                                        s
                                                                                                        saacnmama Aug 28, 2009 11:40 PM

                                                                                                        Hm, I've never thought about the diff between hors d'oeuvres and appetizers before, but suppose y'all are right--apps are the first course and hors d'oeuvres more sort've stand-alone.

                                                                                                    2. h
                                                                                                      Harters May 30, 2008 02:24 PM

                                                                                                      Almost as big a burning issue as how come north americans and europeans handle knives & forks differently.

                                                                                                      17 Replies
                                                                                                      1. re: Harters
                                                                                                        MMRuth May 30, 2008 02:28 PM

                                                                                                        Indeed. My American parents adopted the European method of eating during the many years we lived outside the U.S., and so that is what I use as well - makes a lot more sense to me than switching all the time. Lots of theories about how it developed - one thing I've read is that the men on the frontier wanted one hand free at all times to reach for or hold a weapon, and that the women would often being holding a baby. But I have no idea if any of that is true or not.

                                                                                                        1. re: MMRuth
                                                                                                          h
                                                                                                          Harters May 31, 2008 02:54 AM

                                                                                                          I've never really known if it developed in America or if it used to be the European style and we changed to holding both items for some later reason.

                                                                                                          I was also interested to see, on our trip before last, which included some time in Canada that the one-handed style is also widely used there. Interesting in that large scale immigration to there in the 19th century & early 20th was almost exclusively British.

                                                                                                          1. re: MMRuth
                                                                                                            sailormouth Jun 6, 2008 10:25 AM

                                                                                                            There are three types as I understand it.

                                                                                                            American: All action in the right hand, switching knife and fork between.
                                                                                                            British: Action in both hands, knife in left, fork in right.
                                                                                                            European: Action in both hands, knife in right, fork in left.

                                                                                                            1. re: sailormouth
                                                                                                              MMRuth Jun 6, 2008 11:06 AM

                                                                                                              I've never heard of that British way of eating, ever. I believe it's the same as the European way.

                                                                                                              1. re: MMRuth
                                                                                                                h
                                                                                                                Harters Jun 6, 2008 03:11 PM

                                                                                                                We Brits eat with fork in left hand, knife in right as do other European countries. Occasionally a left-hander might reverse the knife & fork but Mrs H doesnt (nor does our niece)

                                                                                                                1. re: Harters
                                                                                                                  sailormouth Jun 9, 2008 04:04 AM

                                                                                                                  The offending party that told me this erroneous information has been caned. Thank you!

                                                                                                              2. re: sailormouth
                                                                                                                Sam Fujisaka Jun 6, 2008 12:17 PM

                                                                                                                Filipino: tablespoon in the right hand, fork in the left.

                                                                                                                1. re: Sam Fujisaka
                                                                                                                  p
                                                                                                                  pushslice Sep 1, 2009 11:28 PM

                                                                                                                  Utensils?? That's if you were hanging out w/ an upscale family!! otherwise it was kamayan (hands) all the way :-)

                                                                                                                  1. re: Sam Fujisaka
                                                                                                                    boogiebaby Sep 2, 2009 12:49 PM

                                                                                                                    This is common in many asian countries I think -- at least in India, Singapore and Malaysia. You use the fork to push the food onto your spoon. It's quite practical IMO.

                                                                                                                  2. re: sailormouth
                                                                                                                    s
                                                                                                                    smartie Jun 6, 2008 03:09 PM

                                                                                                                    the Brits most certainly do NOT eat with the fork in the right and knife in the left.

                                                                                                                    1. re: sailormouth
                                                                                                                      s
                                                                                                                      saacnmama Aug 28, 2009 11:37 PM

                                                                                                                      I remember watching my brother in my host family when I was an exchange student in Switzerland shovel in a quick lunch one day and became convinced that that method best serves a need for speed.

                                                                                                                      Now, why do Europeans find it rude or suspicious to put one hand in your lap if you're eating something that doesn't require 2 pieces of cutlery? When I ask, I'm always told "I don't know what you're doing down there" with a sly smile.

                                                                                                                  3. re: Harters
                                                                                                                    maria lorraine Jun 8, 2008 08:40 PM

                                                                                                                    >>Almost as big a burning issue as how come north americans and europeans handle knives & forks differently.<<

                                                                                                                    Here's what I learned at the Culinary Institute:

                                                                                                                    Since caveman times, the knife was used to spear a piece of food and hold it while taking a bite. As well as to cut and carve.

                                                                                                                    When small dining forks came along and were first used by the upper class in Europe, they were rare, fancy. When forks finally came across the big pond to the US, they were so unusual, so rare and so intriguing, that people actually PUT DOWN THEIR KNIFE to use this new elite utensil.

                                                                                                                    But the knife had to still be used for its customary reason -- for cutting. So the fork was switched to the non-dominant hand to steady the food when the knife sliced or sawed. Afterwards, the fork was switched back to the dominant hand for spearing food and delivering it to the mouth.

                                                                                                                    1. re: maria lorraine
                                                                                                                      Sam Fujisaka Jun 8, 2008 09:26 PM

                                                                                                                      Tous les hommes des cavernes ont fini vers le haut de la consommation avec des couteaux, des fourchettes et des cuillères? Que diriez-vous des Asiatiques?

                                                                                                                      Did all the cavemen end up eating with knives, forks, and spoons? What about Asians?

                                                                                                                      1. re: Sam Fujisaka
                                                                                                                        maria lorraine Jun 8, 2008 09:44 PM

                                                                                                                        <<Did all the cavemen end up eating with knives, forks, and spoons? What about Asians?>>

                                                                                                                        My knowledge of utensil history is sadly incomplete.

                                                                                                                        I referred to cavemen's use of knives and the ubiquitous use of knives in all cultures since.

                                                                                                                        And then I wildly leapt forward in time to when dining forks became a feature at the table of European aristocracy. First knives, then dining forks, then how forks hopped the pond from Europe to America. And how Americans switched hands.

                                                                                                                        What I left out is the advent of the fork in general, as well as the dining fork in particular, and also the advent of any other utensil used as a delivery system of food to the mouth by any culture, including those used by Asians.

                                                                                                                        It's here that I'm guilty not so much of ethnocentrism as I am of huge all-centric ignorance. And of answering the question.

                                                                                                                    2. re: Harters
                                                                                                                      h
                                                                                                                      hungry_pangolin Jun 12, 2008 08:52 AM

                                                                                                                      I'm Canadian, and almost everyone I know eats with the fork in the left hand, knife in the right. Perhaps it's a regional or socio-economic thing.

                                                                                                                      1. re: hungry_pangolin
                                                                                                                        l
                                                                                                                        lagatta Aug 29, 2009 05:34 PM

                                                                                                                        Yes, I was going to say the same thing. I live in Québec, but I'm referring to English-speakers as well as French-speakers. I have seen anglophone and francophone Canadians eating the USian way, but it is nowhere near as universal here as it is south of the border. Switching looks so awkward. I am left-handed, by the way.

                                                                                                                        1. re: hungry_pangolin
                                                                                                                          l
                                                                                                                          lagatta Aug 29, 2009 06:05 PM

                                                                                                                          Metric is used far more in Québec than in English-speaking Canada, though Imperial is still heard.

                                                                                                                      2. michele cindy May 30, 2008 05:10 AM

                                                                                                                        here's an explanation from a word origin website:
                                                                                                                        http://www.takeourword.com/TOW114/pag...

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