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Feb 7, 2010 09:46 AM

Best Menu Dictionary?

Although I am practicing my rusty French and reading every online menu I can, I still think I want to have a slim pocket menu handy to avoid any surprises at certain places we do not order the menu or we have a choice.

Does anyone have a favorite that always impresses you with its exhaustive resource?

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  1. "The A-Z of French Food/Dictionnaire Gatronomique Fran├žais-Anglais" ( fits the bill.

    2 Replies
    1. re: tortoiseshell

      That does seem to fit the bill, perfectly. Thank you. I wonder if I can find it at that WH Smith near Concorde when I arrive more cheaply than Amazon's price of $49.95. Would you think it is a standard book to carry on hand in all the English bookstores?

      1. re: hbfoodie7

        It's outrageous what they're now charging. Mine from Brentano's (sadly now closed) were 100 FF. I wish I'd known your question around lunch time because I went by WH to & fro Flottes; but there's also Galignani, Shakespeare, Abbey, the Village Voice, Tea & Tattered Pages, the American U, Attica, the Red Wheelbarrow, SF & I'm sure other places.

        John Talbott

    2. A to Z is really the best. However, before it came out, my husband copied and reduced twice the dictionary in Food Lovers Guide to Paris for me. The stapled together result was around 4 x 6 inches and served us well for a decade.

      1 Reply
      1. re: mangeur

        Agree about A-Z. The last time I found it, I purchased several as gifts. The price was 22 euros; it is now 24, according to their web site. This gives you a sense of whether it is worth the $50 to buy it from Amazon before your trip.

        Patricia Wells (author of Food Lovers Guide to Paris) does have a free, downloadable version that is quite good. hbf7- you might want to start with it, and see how it works for you:

      2. Hi,

        I had a great pocket gastronomic French-English dictionary.

        I bought it on for less than 5 euros. Seriously, it was great! But alas, I lost it. :-(

        1. Also use the downloaded Patricia Wells one. It's a WORD doc and I slightly reformatted it to make a small book out if it. Rick Steves recommends Marling Menu master but I've never actually laid eyes on one. Even a good size French dictionary will disappoint in the food department. Keep hoping for an Iphone App. Bon Chance

          3 Replies
          1. re: Gman

            For years, I have used The Marling Menu-Master. It's available at Amazon


            1. re: toitoi

              The Marling Menu Master was one of the first food dictionaries I found. For me, the organization of information by course wasn't as helpful as the format of A-Z, nor did it cover as many food words as A-Z or Patricia Well's online resource.

              Another inexpensive book that I found better than Marling, but not as good as A-Z was
              Eating & Drinking in Paris: French Menu Reader and Restaurant Guide:

              Also- here are some earlier threads where these same books are discussed:

              1. re: souvenir

                Marling may have some kitchen use, i.e., when you are trying to decipher a sauce or a classic dish, but at table it is close to useless. Unless an ingredient or component falls obviously in a category, you cannot find it easily. Any simple alphabetized list will take you to the translation in a fraction of the time needed to parse the Marling.

                (I am an expert because in other countries and before we started using Wells and AtoZ in France, my husband and son would just hand me a Marling and wait for me to translate the menu for them. Worse was when each of us tried to use it.)

          2. For years we've used Marling (for both France & Italy); for years we've been frustrated -- it's useful about only 15 percent of the time. Yes, Wells is good -- but thanks for the recommendation of "AtoZ in France" -- it sounds most promising. -- Jake