The Beginner’s Guide To Fine-Dining Terminology
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This week we’ll be taking you through:
The Beginner’s Guide To The Terminology Of Fine Dining
The world of fine dining has its own complex language that can turn a romantic date into a confusing embarrassment if you don’t know the lingo. Worry no more, because we’re here to help. This beginner’s guide to the terminology of fine dining is your one-stop shop for culinary verbiage. Let’s get started!
A la Mode: In America, it usually describes a dessert, typically pie, served with a scoop of ice cream on top. The direct French translation means “in fashion” or “up-to-date.” This is the first of many French words on this list, because while the French were busy single-handedly creating modern cuisine, the rest of us uncultured swine were merrily chugging slop from a trough.
Al dente: Half-chubbed pasta.
Aioli: Highfalutin mayonnaise.
Amuse-Bouche: Literally meaning “amuse the mouth” in French, an amuse-bouche is an act of oral sex performed before a meal to loosen-up a restaurant patron so they may enjoy the meal more thoroughly.
Anti-Pasto: The only thing that can defeat pasta.
Aperitif: A classy term for getting drunk on an empty stomach.
Artisan: The word your local baker bestowed upon himself to justify his $22 loaves of rye bread.
Béchamel Sauce: Proof that even a flour-based food sludge can sound delicious if you name it properly.
Bouquet Garni: I don’t know.
Carpaccio: Thin slices of raw beef served as an appetizer, usually topped with lemon juice, parmesan, or arugula. Also an Italian slang term for a person who solicits prostitutes from the comfort of their car.
Charcuterie: Adult Lunchables.
Confit: A meat, usually duck, cooked in its own fat to really rub in our dominance over its species.
Consommé: A richly flavored stock traditionally served after a newly married couple consummates their marriage. It is more colloquially known as “Fuck Soup.”
Crème Fraiche: Highfalutin sour cream.
Deconstructed: A meal served by a chef who is utterly unwilling to assemble it into its traditionally recognizable shape, partially as an artistic expression, but mostly out of contempt for the customer.
Digestif: A bookend to an aperitif, a digestif is a post-meal alcoholic beverage that aids digestion by triggering a violent eruption of vomit.
Flambe: When a chef sets your food on fire, then—in a mad scramble to save face—tells you he meant to do it.
Foie Gras: A pate made from the fattened liver of geese. It is achieved by staging a traumatic event in a goose’s early developmental years, which eventually triggers alcoholism and the aforementioned fatty liver.
Frenched: To be spit upon by a French person, typically because you’re not French.
Fusion: A term used by chefs to describe cultural appropriation you can taste.
Gazpacho: Cold soup that costs $14.
Ghee: Don’t listen to all the charlatans and flimflam artists saying that it’s good for your heart. Its clarified butter and clarified butter is just fucking butter.
Hors d’Oeuvres: A small appetizer served before the main meal, like the handful of Cool Ranch Doritos before a Little Caesars Hot-N-Ready.
Kobe: Typically shouted by chefs when they toss food scraps in the garbage.
Omakase: Meaning “I’ll leave it to you” in Japanese, a restaurant with an omakase menu is strikingly similar to a prison cafeteria in that diners must eat whatever is served, no questions asked, lest they be shanked in the yard.
Petits Fours: The collective term for the legs of miniature horses.
Prix-Fixe: The French term for a doctor of the penis. I don’t know why it’s on this list.
Roe: This small but elegant word that flows so delicately off the tongue describes the eggs scooped out of a fish’s pussy.
Sommelier: Someone who swears all wine doesn’t taste the same.
Sous-vide: A type of food preparation that makes everyone who boils the flavor out of everything feel like they were right all along.
Sweetbreads: Something you order thinking you’re gonna get a cinnamon bun but instead get a cow’s throat gland.
Tapas: A series of small-but-obscenely overpriced dishes that leave you so dissatisfied that you might as well build the cost of the drive-through burger you’re gonna pick up after dinner into the bill.
Tartar: A classic dish that spits in the face of every good-natured person who’s ever told you to avoid eating undercooked meat.
Umami: What your friend who just came back from Japan calls “savory.”
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