When I first moved to Alsace, I wish I had had a French food dictionary!
There are some things that French 101 (or even French 301) isn't going to prepare you for, like words describing meat and the different cuts of beef and pork.
So I've put this little French restaurant food dictionary together based on what I've experienced and learned about eating out in Alsace.
Feel free to suggest new entries! I'm always updating my little French food dictionary.
You can send me your suggestions here!
Ways to Describe Cuts of Meat
Boulettes: normally meatballs
Carré d'Agneau: rack of lamb
Charcuterie: smoked and salted meats and sausages
Cervalas: a short fat sausage that tastes like a hot dog
Civet: ragout or stew
Cote: for "boeuf", rib roast or prime rib
Cuisse: thigh, leg
Echine: spare rib
Emincé: small slices of
Entrecote: rib steak, rib-eye steak
Escalope: for "poulet", chicken breast; for all others, "chop" or "cutlet"
Faux-Filet: sirloin steak
Filet de Boeuf: tenderloin of beef
Filet Mignon: pork tenderloin
Foie Gras: specially prepared duck or goose liver that tastes very differently from a normal duck or goose liver.
Gigot d'Agneau: leg of lamb
Jamboneau: ham hock or ham shank cut of pork
Jaret: shank, hock, knuckle
Kassler: smoked and cured pork
Lard: bacon, not always sliced thin like in the US
Lardon: bacon, usually minced
Magret: breast, usually a duck breast
Onglet: prime cut of beef
Os: bone, as in "avec os" or bone in
Paleron: beef chuck roast
Panaché: variety as in "a variety of..."
Poitrine: pork, the cut used to make bacon
Types of Meat
Agneau: lamb or sheep
Biche: female deer
Canette: young duck
Cerf: male deer
Chevre: goat, usually they're referring to cheese made from goat's milk. I have never seen goat's meat used for cooking anything in Alsace.
Chevreuil: roe deer
Langoustine: prawns similar to lobster
Lieu: pollock, a white fish that can be substituted for Cod or Haddock.
Merguez: spicy north African sausage
Noix de St. Jacques: scallops
Pintade: guinea fowl, similar to a pheasant
Sandre: pike perch
Sanglier: wild boar
Volaille: chicken or poultry
A la broche: rotisserie
Confit: candied or crystallized OR cooked in fat (usually its own fat if it has any fat)
Coulis: fruit purée
Croustillant: cooked in oil to the point of being crisp or crunchy
Cuite: cooked, baked, roasted
Daube: stewed, as in "en daube"
En croute: baked in a crust
Feuilleté: enclosed in puff pastry or mille feuille pastry dough
Galette: thin cake usually cooked in a pan
Matelote: fish stew
Poelé: cooked in a pan in oil
Rösti: hashbrowned potatoes
Salé: cured or salt cured
Tarte: an pie with no top crust, usually a somewhat thin pie
Tartine: a piece of bread with a paste spread on it
Tiède: warm, warmed up
Tourte: a deep dish pie with a top crust
Vapeur: steamed as in "à la Vapeur"
Velouté: cream of
Cèpes: mushrooms called porcini, cep, penny bun, steinpilz
Cerfeuil: chervil, it has a lemon anise flavor
Girolle: chanterelle mushrooms
Herbes de Provence: usually a mix of basil, thyme, and oregano
Laurier: bay leaf
Morilles: morel mushrooms
Oseille: sorrel, a tangy herb used in a lot of French cooking
Paprika doux: paprika
Poivre: usually black pepper
Betterave: red sugar beet
Celeri: celeriac or celery root
Celeri en branches: celery branches (normally called Celery in the US)
Chou de Bruxelles: brussel sprouts
Cornichon: small pickles
Haricots: beans as in haricots rouges, haricots verts, etc...
Paprika: bell pepper
Pommes de Terre: potatoes
Agrûmes: citrus fruits
Airelles: cranberries or blueberries
Fraise de bois: wild strawberry
Genièvre: juniper berry, used in Choucroute normally
Quetsch: dark purple plum
Merise: wild cherry
Mirabelle: small yellow plum
Noisette: hazel nut
Raisin: usually it means grape
Raisin Sec: raisin, literally dry grapes
Eau de vie: brandy, usually fruit brandy
Kir: white wine with a bit of fruit syrup, it's a popular before dinner drink or apperitif
Kir Royal: sparkling wine with a bit of fruit syrup
Liqueur: a somewhat sweet, mild alcohol
Pastis: a licorice flavored alcohol usually mixed with water and a few ice cubes, a very popular apperitif in France
Pression: draft beer
Vin chaud: hot spiced or mulled wine