French has long served English as the donor language par excellence in the field of cookery. A considerable number of culinary terms have been adopted into English down the ages (e.g. Chirol, 1973). Since cuisine is a field where France excels, the strong influx of borrowings from this area is by no means surprising. In the nineteenth century, too, French has been the source of a significant proportion of words and meanings which reflect the refinement of French gastronomy.
The focus of this paper is on the culinary vocabulary borrowed from French in the nineteenth century. According to the Oxford English Dictionary (henceforth oed) the term gastronomy itself, the art of preparing fine food, is a nineteenth-century borrowing which was adapted from the French gastronomie. The present study provides an analysis of the sense developments of the various borrowings from their earliest recorded uses in English to the present day in comparison with their equivalents in French. It will be interesting to see whether a) a particular meaning a borrowing assumes after its adoption is taken over from French (due to the continuing impact of French on English) or b) whether it represents an independent semantic change within English. Such a detailed investigation of the semantics of the culinary words of French provenance is missing in existing studies.
1.1 Previous Studies of the French Influence on the English Lexicon
A considerable number of investigations concentrate on the impact of French on the English vocabulary. A number of scholars survey the chronological distribution of French borrowings1 down the ages, such as Jespersen (1905), Baugh (1935), Koszul (1936), Mossé (1943), Pennanen (1971), Hillebrand (1976), Coleman (1995), Culpeper and Clapham, (1996), and others. There are also some studies which classify borrowings from French according to semantic criteria: the various lexical items are assigned to different subject fields, i.e. to various areas and spheres of life, such as military, arts, fashion and cuisine. The studies by Mackenzie (1939) and Chirol (1973) should be mentioned here. Mackenzie’s monograph is an early study of the French influence on the English language throughout its history. Mackenzie consults earliest editions of English translations of a multitude of French texts (e.g. La Bruyère’s Les Caractères, J. J. Rousseau’s Premier Discours) and the oed to find French borrowings and their first attested uses in English. He identifies important fields from which French words and phrases are taken over into English, as for instance nineteenth-century French literature (what he refers to as “La Littérature française du xixe siècle”), society and fashion (“La société et la mode”) and gastronomy (“La gastronomie”). Unfortunately there is no recent update of his survey. Chirol’s work Les “mots français” et le mythe de la France en anglais contemporain is a fairly extensive analysis of French borrowings in contemporary English. Yet, since it dates from 1973, the study does not reflect recent developments of the English lexicon. Chirol’s book includes 2500 Gallicisms most of which are recorded in Bliss’s Dictionary of Foreign Words and Phrases (1966). She identifies three essential semantic fields enriched by French during the last few centuries: “Un Art de vivre”, including the areas of cuisine, games, fashion, entertainment and travelling, “Un Savoir-faire”, encompassing borrowings from literature and art, and “Un Savoir-vivre”, comprising fields such as social behaviour and amourous relations. A number of brief surveys (e.g. the essays by Gibson (1973), Otman (1989), Swallow (1991) and Chira (2000)) outline a handful of recent acquisitions from French, among them several items which belong to the field of cooking like coq au vin and courgette (cf. Swallow 1991). Most of the previous studies, however, lack a systematic and detailed analysis of the semantic integration of the borrowings which entered English during the past few centuries.
Only very few analyses focus on French culinary terms. An exception is Bator’s (2011) survey, which concentrates on the semantic field of food. Bator explores quite an early period in the history of English: she looks at French culinary vocabulary in 14th century English. Her results are based on a careful perusal of Curye on Inglysch (English culinary manuscripts of the 14thcentury), which was edited in 1985 by Hieatt and Butler. Bator’s essay is illuminating in many ways. Yet it does not explore the sense developments of the fourteenth-century culinary terms in detail either.
Schultz’s (2012) study, providing the first comprehensive appraisal of the semantic reception of 20th century borrowings from French, may serve as a frame of reference for future research into the influence of foreign languages on English. New media such as online dictionaries and corpus material allowed this type of investigation. The methodology developed by Schultz (2012) to research the various borrowings also constitutes a form of model for the present analysis of the 19th century French culinary terms.
1.2 The Oxford English Dictionary Online as a Source of French Borrowings
The oed Online offers the data for the present investigation. The oed is presently under revision. The electronic oed, consisting of the Second Edition launched in 1989 (henceforth oed2), the oed Additions Series, a series of supplementary volumes released in 1993 and 1997, and a considerable number of revised and new entries which will produce the planned 3rd Edition, or oed3 is searchable online at <http://www.oed.com>. The text of the electronic form of the oed is being updated every three months with the preliminary results of the oed3 revision.2
As already mentioned, the corpus data on which the present paper is based was collected from the oed. The sample of borrowings contained a considerable proportion of borrowings from Standard French as well as some borrowings from different varieties of French (e.g. from Canadian French) and from French Creole. In addition, the sample comprised words with a complex etymological description in the oed, i.e. borrowings which were partly influenced by French and partly by another language.
The oed also identifies possible acquisitions from French. That is, words and senses which may perhaps be adopted from French. The revised version of the oed distinguishes between lexical items that are possibly, probably or perhaps taken over from French.3 All the various types of borrowings included in the oed were taken into account in this study. The words under review were categorized as assumed from French as the immediate donor language. Hence, quenelle, for instance, specifying a variety of ball or roll including meat or fish, was classified as a borrowing of French quenelle, notwithstanding the fact that the word ultimately goes back to German Knödel.
As the nineteenth century is very rich in cookery terms (in all, more than 300 lexical items have been identified as nineteenth-century French borrowings from gastronomy in the oed Online), I shall confine myself to the semantic analysis of the words denoting dishes, desserts and confectionary. Food items such as Comice, the name of a French variety of pear, products as for instance Neufchâtel, a type of French cheese, beverages and other borrowings somehow related to gastronomy will be excluded since describing them as well would go far beyond the scope of this study. (These types of word will be dealt with in separate papers.)
1.3 Aims and Methodology of the Present Study
More than a mere count of the French culinary terms adopted into English in the nineteenth century, this paper will provide a detailed investigation and descriptions of the sense developments of the various borrowings. To compare the semantics of a borrowing included in the oed with that of its French source, French dictionaries such as the Trésor de la langue française (henceforth tlf), the 48 volumes of Datations et documents lexicographiques (ddl), a database which encompasses additional documentary evidence supplementing the tlf, and the Robert Dictionnaire alphabétique et analogique (henceforth referred to as the Grand Robert) were consulted.
It is important to identify the type of change in meaning a borrowing undergoes after its earliest attested use. To classify sense developments, the types of semantic change generally accepted as the basic standard categories (i.e. metaphor, metonymy, broadening, narrowing, amelioration and pejoration) will serve as a frame of reference.4
1.3.1 Identifying Recent Semantic Developments of Unrevised oed Entries
The Times (London), October 22, 2005; headline: “Still making it up as they go along”:
Actors rely on a script and stand-up comics rely on gags. But improvisers rely on each other and the audience. We are the chicken nuggets of showbiz, wafting a bad smell around fillet steak of stand-up and the haute cuisine of theatre. (LexisNexis)
The Times (London), January 13, 2004; headline: “Chris Campling enjoys getting his teeth into a new satirical show with lots of bite”:
Blimey. There I was, laughing in all the right places at all the usual comedic treats, and I hadn’t realised how safe my tastes had become. Yes, I chuckled at Punt and Dennis’s wry observations on the week’s news, but this was comedy with its teeth out. ok, The News Quiz and Dead Ringers offered lovingly prepared jocular haute cuisine, but where was the raw meat of satire? (LexisNexis)6
It looks as if this change in meaning of haute cuisine constitutes an independent sense development within English. French dictionaries and corpora do not record any similar uses for the corresponding French term.
As will be seen, the different nineteenth-century culinary terms under consideration also show several recent semantic developments which have not been documented in the unrevised edition of the oed2 yet. Some of them represent semantic shifts within English, while others are paralleled in French.
1.4 Terminology used in this Investigation
Before we move on to the investigation of the changes in meaning of the various culinary terms under review, some terminological explanation is important. Let us begin with the definition of word and meaning.
There are different definitions of the term word in linguistic research. Sweet, for instance, assumes a syntactic point of view and describes the word as “an ultimate, or indecomposible sentence” (1875: 474). A syntactic and semantic treatment is provided by Sapir, who defines it as “one of the smallest, completely satisfying bits of isolated “meaning”, into which the sentence resolves itself” (2007: 37). The French linguist Meillet takes semantic, phonological and grammatical criteria into account and advances the following formula:
Un mot est défini par l’association d’un sens donné à un ensemble de sons susceptible d’un emploi grammatical donné.Meillet, 1975: 30
Various notions of the term word correspond to Meillet’s formula, encompassing the one included in Arnold’s book The English Word:
The term word denotes the basic unit of a given language resulting from the association of a particular meaning with a particular group of sounds capable of a particular grammatical employment. A word therefore is simultaneously a semantic, grammatical and phonological unit. (Arnold, 1973: 9)
The definition provided by Arnold underlies the use of word in the present paper.
Meaning serves as the common term for the sense or signification of a word, i.e. the idea or concept it represents. Some words show only one specific meaning, as for instance the borrowing vol-au-vent. It was adopted from French into English in 1828 in the sense of “[a] kind of raised pie, formed of a light puff paste filled with meat, fish, or the like” (oed2). Other borrowings are polysemous, such as chartreuse, which is attested in several different meanings in English which can be clearly distinguished. It may refer to “[a]n ornamental dish of meat or vegetables cooked in a mould”, “[f]ruits enclosed in blancmange or jelly” (oed2), or a variety of liqueur produced in the monastery La Grande-Chartreuse. The word can also be used to designate a colour shade (i.e. “pale apple-green” (oed2)) or a type of cat. In some cases, however, it is difficult to identify the various meanings of a word. Similar to the afore-mentioned example of haute cuisine, there are borrowings among the nineteenth-century culinary terms which have developed metaphorical uses in English. In some cases, it is slightly problematic to ascertain the degree to which a figurative usage which occurs in a recent corpus constitutes an idiosyncratic or a transient one. It should be noted that the focus of the present paper will be on those uses of borrowings which are attested in dictionaries like the oed or which occur comparatively frequently in corpora such as the bnc and LexisNexis. Isolated examples of changes in meaning will not be considered since they might represent only temporary usages of borrowings which will not become established in English.
Let us now look at the definitions of the different types of semantic change.
1.4.1 Categories of Semantic Change
Six types of semantic change (broadening, narrowing, metonymy, metaphor, amelioration and pejoration) are usually considered as the most important by scholars (e.g. Bréal (1897), Stern (1931), Ullmann (21967)). They constitute widely accepted standard categories to classify sense developments and thus will be used as a frame of reference in this study in order to identify the various types of semantic change of the words presented in this paper.
1853 J. D. Forbes Norway & Glaciers 333 We .. continued to traverse the snowy basin .. until we passed close to the small bare rock (called by the mountaineers rognon). (oed3)
The French equivalent, literally meaning ‘kidney’, is attested in both meanings in the donor language. It thus looks as if both senses of the borrowing were taken over from French.
The reader of this paper may observe that the term semantic extension is also used to denote ‘broadening’ in the present study.
Narrowing (also called restriction or spezialization in scholarly work) denotes the process in which the semantic scope of a word becomes more restricted. It can also refer to the result of this process. The noun poêlée, for instance, was subjected to a semantic narrowing when it was borrowed into English, where it is used to denote a type of stock or broth with bacon or ham, herbs and vegetables. The French original has a wider semantic extent: it can relate to any content of a pan in French.
1955 E. davidBk. Mediterranean Food 160 The tian owes its name to the vast and heavy terrine of the earthenware of Vallauris, where it is sent to cook on a wood fire in the baker’s oven. Ibid., Tian is one of those ready-made dishes which is eaten cold on picnics.
Both meanings of tian were derived from French.
1967 S. Pakenham Sixty Miles from England xiv. 185 Madeleine Lemaire had one of the most famous Paris salons, where all but the very highest gratin of the French nobility congregated. (oed2)
Au fig. et fam. Élite de la société, d’une société mondaine, qui se distingue par ses titres, ses richesses, son esprit ou son élégance. Synon. élite, crème (fam.), dessus du panier (fam.). Dandy qui était la fleur du gratinproust, Sodome, 1922, p. 952. […]
It thus may well be that the metaphorical sense of the borrowing in English was taken over from French. It should be noted that figurative meaning or use equally refers to metaphorical meaning or use in this paper.
Amelioration and pejoration are the terms for two additional essential categories of semantic change:
Amelioration (occasionally also referred to as melioration) denotes the acquisition of a more favorable meaning or more favorable connotations. One may argue that the development of a metaphorical use of gratin which was outlined above at the same time represents a semantic amelioration of the word.
Pejoration refers to the assumption of a more negative meaning or less positive implications. The borrowing rosbif may serve as an example. It was originally an English borrowing in French, which was adapted from the culinary term roast(-)beef (see tlf). The word was re-adopted into English in 1822, where it now shows ironical and sometimes negative connotations: rosbif can serve as a depreciate term for an English person.8 The semantic development of rosbif is paralleled in French.
The different types of semantic change may sometimes be overlapping. As has become evident, the semantic development of gratin, for instance, constitutes both an assumption of a metaphorical meaning and a semantic amelioration of the word. It seems important to note that further categories can be found in some studies, whereas other works suggest a combination of some of the afore-mentioned types of semantic change.
1.4.2 Classification of Loan Influences
The terminology used in this study departs from Carstensen’s (1968) typology of lexical borrowing since it reflects the most essential categories of loan influences and can be applied to different loan processes and language contact scenarios. I shall concentrate on the categories which are relevant for the classification of the cuisine terms analysed in this paper. The following terms will be employed:
Borrowing functions as the conventional term for a word or a meaning taken over from another language. It can also be used to designate the process by which a language adopts new linguistic material (i.e. a word or a meaning) from a foreign language.
b) Direct Loan
A considerable number of culinary terms the oed records for the nineteenth or twentieth century are direct loans. The term refers to the assumption of a foreign word with no or only slight assimilation of its pronunciation and spelling form. Mousse, for example, pronounced /mu:s/ in present-day English (see the pronunciations provided in the oed or the Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English, 2012), represents a direct loan. It corresponds to French mousse /mus/. Obviously, the spelling of mousse was not changed during its introduction into English, and the pronunciation of the word resembles that of its French source.
Adaptation refers to the naturalization a foreign word undergoes to fit into the system of the language adopting it. Saveloy, which is first attested in 1837 in the oed, can be adduced as an example. It was adapted from French cervelas, a kind of sausage. As is apparent, an orthographic integration at the same time constitutes a phonological assimilation of a borrowing to the linguistic system of the receiving language.
The term pseudo-loan is used to designate the coining of a word in the borrowing language from linguistic material of the foreign language. The word formed in this way looks like a word in the foreign language but it is not actually recorded in it. One may argue that fricandel/fricandelle, ‘a meat ball’, is a pseudo-loan. According to oed2 it was formed within English, on the model of French fricandeau. The word does not exist in French.
e) Back Borrowing
In some cases a word or meaning which has been adopted from one language into another re-enters the original borrowing language. A number of German scholars like Steinbach (1984: 49–50) refer to this type of loan influence as Rückentlehnung (back borrowing). It is not part of Carstensen’s typology (1968). In this study, the term back borrowing will be used. Bifteck, may serve as an example. The word ultimately goes back beef-steak, which was according to the tlf borrowed from English into French as early as 1735. The adapted form bifteck was subsequently re-adopted into English.9
We will now come to the semantics of the acquisitions from French which denote dishes. I will concentrate on those borrowings which are subjected to a semantic change after their introduction into English.
2 The semantic analysis of French-derived dishes
French enriched English in the form of new words relating to dishes in the nineteenth century. The group of borrowings contains 76 lexical items which were adopted from French from the very beginning until the close of the nineteenth century. The majority of them may be classified as direct loans. In the order of their documentation they are:
gratin (1806); poulette (1813); sauté (1813); soufflé (1813); suprême (1813); consommé (1815); rosbif (1822); mayonnaise (1823); palourde (1823); poêlée (now obsolete) (1824); timbale (1824); brandade (1825); relevé (1825); quenelle (1827); escalope (1828); rognon (1828); vol-au-vent (1828); velouté (1830); langouste (1832); beignet (1835); ratatouille (1835); saveloy (1837); specialité (1839); entrecôte (1841); filet (1841); jardinière (1841); boudin (1845); nouille (1845); ballotine (1846); jus (1847); choucroute (1849); écrevisse (1854); beurre-noir (1855); bouillabaisse (1855); rillettes (1858); bifteck10 (1861); moule (1867); fricandel/fricandelle11 (1872); jambalaya12 (1872); chiffonade (1877); chipolata (1877); crépinette (1877); tournedos (1877); crevette (1878); fondue (1878); estouffade (1889); paupiette (1889); canapé (1890); chaud-froid (1892)
Borrowings Reflecting Proper Nouns
Périgueux (1824); Hollandaise (1841); julienne (1841); espagnole (1845); macédoine (attested as a cuisine term in 1846 in oed3); Milanaise (1855); Marengo (1861); Parmentier (1875); Béarnaise (1877); Chateaubriand (1877); duxelles (1877); mirepoix (1877); navarin (1877)
Pilaf (1814), a dish which consists of rice, meat and other ingredients, reflects Turkish pilav. The word might have been partly borrowed via French pilaf and Italian pilaf (see oed3). From oed3 we learn that rubaboo (1821) apparently reflects Canadian French rababou even though the French word is first recorded slightly later than the English borrowing, i.e. in circa 1845.
œufs sur le plat (1874)
pâté de foie gras (1814); petits pois (1820); ris de veau (1820); pâte brisée (1824); poule au pot (1849); prix fixe (1851); pommes frites (1879); poule au riz (1882); petite marmite (1890); plat du jour (1890); petit poussin (1895)
2.1 Semantic narrowing
A comparison between the semantics of the French borrowings and the corresponding sources in the donor language suggests that some lexical items have narrowed their semantic scope during the borrowing process. I shall begin with the semantic analysis of jardinière, poulette and supreme. English borrowed jardinière in the particular meaning of ‘a garnish made of vegetables’ and ‘a flower pot or stand’, while disregarding its French references to ‘a variety of embroidery’ and ‘a type of car’. In English, poulette refers to a kind of sauce which includes cream, butter and egg yolks. This is a specialized sense of the French word poulette ‘young hen’ in à la poulette, designating a manner of making a dish with such a sauce. There are in addition the borrowings suprême, a variety of white sauce or chicken dish served in this sauce, and velouté, a type of soft, creamy sauce. They reflect the specific culinary uses of the French words suprême (attested both as an adjective and as a noun in French in the sense of ‘supreme’) and velouté (literally ‘velvety’) in sauce suprême, suprême de volaille and sauce veloutée.
1869 S. A. Frost Frost’s Laws & By-Iaws Amer. Soc. 66 Entrées. .. Timbale of macaroni à la Milanaise. (oed3)
1987 E. David Omelette & Glass of Wine 169 From the same book come these two menus for September luncheons: Salad of Tunny Fish and Celery, Risotto Milanaise, Fruit. (oed3)
Espagnole (in full espagnole sauce) refers to a brown sauce characteristic of Spain. The French equivalents do not exclusively occur in cooking contexts. Milanais(e) can serve as an adjective and as a noun in French, generally meaning ‘of Milan’, ‘designating or relating to Milan, its regions and its inhabitants’. This is equally valid for espagnol(e), meaning ‘Spanish’, ‘Spanish person’ in French. Similar cases are the borrowings Hollandaise and Béarnaise, which show particular culinary meanings in English, while their French sources are not confined to cookery.
2.2 Semantic broadening
1998 N. Lawson How to Eat (1999) 163 The Italians do a wonderful pasta sauce which is really just the meat juices left in the roasting pan after their particularly flavoursome way of cooking rosbif. (oed3)
La femme de ménage a posé au milieu de la table un petit carré de bœuf rôti, et un plat de pommes de terre (…). – Le rosbif sera tout juste saisi, dit Sampeyreromains, Hommes bonne vol., 1932, p. 105
1826 F. Reynolds Life & Timesii. v. 179 From sheer envy, they hooted, hissed, hustled, and called me ‘rosbif’ and ‘goddam’. (oed3)
1955 R. Farn tr. P. Daninos Major Thompson lives in France xiii. 165 My vis-à-vis pulling up just short of me, assailed me point blank: ‘Completely cracked, you old idiot? Think you’re still among the rosbifs?’ (oed3)
Le Suédois [à Londres] s’entifla dans un taxi (…) Sacrés Rosbifs! On pourrait presque se tenir debout dans ces guimbardesle breton, Rififi, 1953, p. 124
1845 E. Acton Mod. Cookery iv. 135 The unboiled eggs .. enter into the composition of the Mayonnaise. (oed3)
1926 Work-Whitehead Auction Bridge Bull. Jan. 101/2 Mayonnaise adds this feature to the game: When the four players pass and the deal is, therefore, not played, the hands of the four players, sorted but unshuffled, are placed on top of each other, and are then dealt unshuffled in two batches of five and one of three to each player. (oed3)
1914 T. Kinney & M. W. Kinney Dance iv. 69 A relevé consists of a .. rise to the ball or point of the supporting foot, while the active foot is raised to the height .. of the knee of the supporting leg. (oed3)
In 1930, relevé adopted a specific meaning from ecology. It came to refer to
[a] detailed description of the floristic or phytosociological characteristics of a small area within a stand of vegetation, considered as a sample; (also) an area used as the basis for such a description, or the vegetation found there. (oed3)
1881 C. C. Harrison Woman’s Handiwork i. 82 Drawn-work, with darned filet and cut-work. (oed2)
These meanings represent specific uses of the polysemous French word filet, which literally means ‘thread’. In addition, there is macédoine, which shows a culinary use 26 years after its first recorded use in English. It primordially related to a medley of several different items, and was subsequently used as a term for a mix of small pieces of fruit or vegetables. Both senses seem to go back to French. There is also crevette, a type of shrimp or prawn typically cooked in its shell. The item came to denote “[a] deep shade of pink” (oed2). These are the precise senses of the French word. One of the latest acquisitions from French cuisine which diverges from its original meaning is canapé, “[a] piece of bread or toast, etc., on which small savouries are served” (oed2). Two years after its adoption (i.e. in 1892), the item was used to relate to a type of sofa. The two senses seem to be of French origin.
As has become obvious, the great majority of the semantic extensions described above might be due to the continuing impact of French on English. Most of the borrowings in this group expand their semantic scope by adopting additional meanings of the corresponding French terms. This also holds for a number of culinary terms which show metaphorical uses after their introduction into English:
2.2.1 Metaphorical uses
1891 G. Meredith One of our Conquerorsii. v. 123 Our soufflé of sentiment will be seen subsiding under a breath.
The Daily Telegraph (London), November 9, 2011; “The Union is too far gone to be saved by Cameron or Miliband; Looser ties between Scotland and the rest of the uk now seem all but inevitable”
The Conservatives did something remarkable last week. They chose as their leader in Scotland a young lesbian who has held elected office for barely six months. This was a brave choice in a nation whose social views are nowhere near as liberal as its Left-wing politics would suggest, let alone for a party still identified in the popular imagination as the backward-thinking home of pearls and perms. […] Maybe […] there is hope for Ruth Davidson, and whoever Labour elects to run its Scottish show this month. If they can find a Scottish argument for the Union, even if it is a Union in an adjusted form, then perhaps they can expose the delightful but dangerous political soufflé that is Mr Salmond. But they can’t rely on Mr Cameron or Mr Miliband or superannuated Labour heavies from Westminster. It’s too late for that, I fear.16
Metro (uk), December 8, 2011; “Salt of Life (12)”
When 60-year-old retired gentleman Gianni is scolded by his alpha male lawyer friend for not having an affair ‘like every other senior Italian male’, you know you’re in territory that would not fly in England. Even in Rome, Gianni’s frustrated attempts to enjoy extra-marital relations with younger women could easily curdle into distasteful lechery but hangdog writer/director/star Gianni Di Gregorio keeps his comic soufflé light and fluffy.
Tu connais mieux que moi la valeur des pétroles en ce moment. Je crois que je n’ai pas de conseils à te donner (…) – Oui, bien sûr, je les connais… Mais Jardot me dit qu’en ce moment les cours sont soufflés… (N. sarraute, Le Planétarium, 1959, p. 278 ds rob. 1985). (tlf)
It may also refer to a literary work characterized by an emphatic style, or to something which is overrated or overestimated. tlf examples are discours/style soufflé, éloquence soufflée and succès soufflé. The use in French may have influenced, to some extent at least, the corresponding meaning in English.
1966 M. Quant Quant by Quant 35 It was agreed that if we could find the right premises for a boutique .. we would open a shop. It was to be a bouillabaisse of clothes and accessories .. sweaters, scarves, shifts, hats, jewellery, and peculiar odds and ends.
1979 Guardian 26 Feb. 10/6 The Poetry Society seems to have achieved some success. .. The main plat du jour was the announcement of the winner of its new £1,000 prize.
The French original underwent a comparable sense development which may have influenced the corresponding use in English.
2.2.2 Semantic broadening due to recipe variations
1844 J. D. Smith tr. E. Sue Myst. Of Paris I. iv. 162 They make with all this a ratatouille of the devil; for you can smell, in passing on the staircase, an odour of sulphur, and charcoal, and melted tin.
According to oed3 ratatouille in the sense of ‘stew made of vegetables and meat’ has become rare in present-day English. It thus looks as if ratatouilles are only occasionally prepared in this manner. A check of the oed3 evidence suggests that the original French dish has been replaced by a culinary variant which originated in the South of France: a ratatouille now usually refers to “[a] Provençal dish consisting of tomatoes, garlic, and onions, cooked in oil with a mixture of Mediterranean vegetables, typically courgettes, peppers, and aubergines” (oed3). This change in meaning seems to have occurred in the twentieth century according to oed3.
Star Tribune (Minneapolis, mn), October 10, 1997; “Harvesting cuisine of Italy; Local restaurants offer regional specialties”
Desserts include an apple timbale, a specialty of the fruit-growing region around Trento. […]
The Daily News of Los Angeles, February 15, 1998; “party lines; having A blast with blass”
The last-minute instructions are coming only moments before the annual Colleagues Valentine’s Day luncheon at the Regent Beverly Wilshire Hotel in Beverly Hills, and Blass, the Indiana-born designer who’s famous for glamorous, ladylike styles, wants everything to be perfect. […] The sit-down lunch for 800 included chicken breasts in tarragon sauce and cappuccino ice-cream timbales served on floral china at red-covered tables with huge red rose topiary trees by Stanley Kersten.
Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, uk), July 16, 2011; “Painting A Picture Perfect Weekend”
[…] We both had the same dessert. We couldn’t resist the dark chocolate timbale, pistachio sponge and white vanilla sorbet.
1808 - «Une timbale, au café. […] Timbale à la vanille.» Grimod de La Reynière, Man. des Amphitryons, 122, 155 et 159 (A.M. Métailié, 1983) […]
The New York Times, March 13, 1983; “an epicurean journey steering by the stars”
[…] Moving east of Bordeaux, we lingered in the Perigord region, whose cuisine becomes richer and heartier - a grande bouffe of foie gras and confit (potted goose), truffles and crepes, fine local wines and a variety of liqueurs made of fruits and nuts. At Tremolat, on the Dordogne River, Le Vieux is known for its old stone inn but not so known for its superb restaurant, which seven centuries ago sheltered the horses of weary travelers. We began with tiny wine-poached ecrevisses (lobsters the size of one’s thumb) resting on a thatch of shredded legumes and fresh grilled goose liver that melted in the mouth, and ended with one of the world’s great desserts, chaud-froid poires Carmelisee - thin slices of pear with a papering of crisp caramel and a deep brown grainy carmel ice cream.
Toronto Life, September 2001; “Rainmakers Can Toronto’s glam restaurants live up to the hype?”
[…] I won’t go on about the classic bistro dishes Bouillet is cooking this fall - you owe it to your palate to discover them for yourself – except to mention the marvellous pressed terrine of chicken, so firm and flavourful, with a heart of finely chopped mushrooms. […] And just for the record, Bouillet’s immortal individual tart tatin is also available, vying for attention with another superb dessert, a chaud-froid of caramelized baked apple with chocolate ice cream and two sauces, one of chocolate, the other a thin pistachio cream that should have been part of Toronto’s Olympic bid.
It seems likely that the variant of chaud-froid which turns the savoury dish into a dessert has its origins in France. Neither French general-purpose dictionaries nor oed2 records chaud-froid as a designation of this type of dessert. This may be due to the fact that the semantic change of the item represents quite a recent development.
The Washington Post, November 25, 1988; “Garbage Pail Lobster Tale”
capitol hill’s La Brasserie has long been the savior of diners who want fine food but require low-fat, low-cholesterol diets. Chef Gaby Auboin has for years been ready to provide no-fat salad dressing and to steam vegetables and fish to dieters’ orders.
Now he has gone further, offering a 600-calorie menu based on the Diet Center’s guidelines to diners who order it 24 hours in advance. The fixed-price dinner, $ 20 a person, starts with consommé of chicken with vegetable essence, and goes on to breast of chicken stuffed with zucchini, steamed over the vapors of veal bones and served on tomato coulis with fresh oregano. Steamed yellow pumpkin stuffed with spinach accompanies that, and dessert is a fresh fruit plate with caramelized orange sections, fresh raspberries, strawberries and julienne of mint.
The Village Voice, March 24, 1998; “counter culture”
Curiously, the sign outside Dai Jia Lou promises only Sichuan food. But the restaurant’s take on this familiar cuisine is entirely refreshing. Szechwan lamb ($16.95), for example, is an abundant julienne of meat matched with baby corn in a dark gingery sauce. […]
The Daily Telegraph (Sydney, Australia), June 14, 2004; “Sydney Confidential”
[…] Making sure everything was running smoothly, Jonesy and Leah called Sarah on-air and found that aunty Sarah was in fact well in control of the situation and was in the process of preparing bananas julienne for young Scarlett.
mint, September 11, 2011; “Spicy veggies”
To make the tomato-onion gravy paste, take finely chopped onions and tomatoes in a 1:2 ratio and fry till the onions are brown. Add tomatoes and saute well. Blend in a mixer to get a smooth puree. In a wok, heat the oil till it is smoking hot. Turn down the heat to medium and temper with seeds, coriander seeds and pepper. When these whole spices release aroma, add the vegetables and the remaining spices in the order they are listed. Give a minute or two between each addition and keep stirring. Finish with the roasted cumin powder and take off the fire. Garnish with chopped green coriander and ginger juliennes […]
New Times Broward-Palm Beach (Florida), January 4, 2007; “Dublin calling”
Happily at Dubliner […] their new Irish place in Palm Beach Gardens, Rodney Mayo and Scott Frielich (who also own Dada in Delray Beach) offer less visceral fare – no kidneys here! They’ve taken the concept of “pub” and given it sparkle tweaking it for an audience of boomers and X-ers – there’s valet parking and photos of edgy intellectuals on the walls: Oscar Wilde Samuel Beckett, George Bernard Shaw. You’ll find polished-up Irish standards - smoked poached salmon Guinness fondue, beef and lamb stew, corned beef and cabbage.
The Sunday Telegraph (Sydney, Australia), June 2, 2002; “Jumping beans”
[…] Jacqueline Twemlow, of Lilyfield, asked for this recipe. Paula Peach, of Bexley, wins a $2 lottery ticket for her choc-mint fondue.
The Scotsman, January 30, 2010; “Weekend Life”
Loco for cocoa? Then get along to Harvey Nichols’ new Chocolate Lounge. Choose from sugary delights such as a white chocolate and strawberry fondue […], with seasonal fruits, marshmallows, mini pastries and brownie cubes to dunk.
The sweet variant of fondue has not been described in oed2 yet. This also holds for French general-purpose dictionaries, which do not offer any evidence of sweet fondues either.
We now come to the semantic analysis of the nineteenth-century French borrowings in the field of desserts and confectionary:
3 The semantic analysis of French-derived desserts and confectionary
39 terms for desserts and confectionary were adopted from French during the nineteenth century. The earliest acquisition dates from 1806, and the latest borrowing was adopted into the language as late as 1899:
baba (1813); brioche (1826); nougat (1827); crème (1845); gâteau (1845); meringué (now obsolete) (1845); babka17 (1846); bouchées (1846); flan (1846); vanille (first attested as a confectionary term in 1846 in oed2); amandin(e) (1848); dragée (1853); cosaque (1858); éclair (1861); croquembouche (1874); fondant (1877); parfait (1884); mousse (first recorded as a culinary term in 1885 in oed3) bombe (1892); coupe (1895); millefeuille (1895); croissant (1899)
According to oed3 it remains unclear to what extent the noun marron (1877), a type of nut, which is quite often eaten as a sweetmeat, has been influenced by French.
Bonbonnière (1818) and drageoir (1861), both of which refer to sweetmeat boxes, were also taken over from French into English. Their French sources are identical in meaning.
Borrowings reflecting proper nouns
chartreuse (1806); plombière (1818); madeleine (1829); pithivier (1834); bavaroise (1846); savarin (1877); Nice (1895)
pièce montée (1820); crème caramel (first attested in 1846 in oed2); baba au rhum (1868); marron glacé (1871); petit four (1875); crème brûlée (first attested in 1886 in oed2); langue de chat (1897)
3.1 Semantic narrowing
a1845 Syd. Smith in Lady Holland Mem. (1855) I. 262 Ah, you flavour everything; you are the vanille of society. (oed2)
1856 E. B. Browning Aurora Leigh vii. 316 Each lovely lady .. holds her dear fan while she feeds her smile On meditative spoonfuls of vanille.
The French original has a more general meaning. Vanille refers to ‘vanilla’ in French. In addition, cosaque, which is used to designate “a cracker bon-bon” (oed2) in English, represents a specific application of the French Cosaque ‘Cossack’. There is also the English borrowing coupe, which specifies a small bowl or glass, or a dessert made of ice-cream and fruit, served in such a bowl or glass. The French source shows a more extended semantic function. Its general meaning is ‘goblet’. By metonymy, coupe can also refer to any content of such a goblet in French.
3.2 Semantic broadening
1958 Observer 14 Sept. 11/3 Make-up in delicate dragée tones.
- P. anal. et p. métaph. Teint de dragée. L’étonnement … se peignit sur le visage de dragée de CatherineH. bazin, Lève-toi, 1952, p. 276. […]
1968 S. A. Berridge et al. in Jrnl. Inst. Petroleum54 334/1 ‘Chocolate mousse’. This term, which appears to have originated from the Torrey Canyon incident, is herein defined as [water-in-oil] emulsions of from 50 to 80 per cent water content, which have a solid or semi-solid grease-like consistency, maintain a rigid configuration that can only be changed by an applied force, and are not reverted to oil-in-water emulsions by agitation in sea water.
1971 Daily Tel. 16 June 13/6 Ambre Solaire .. had a choice of cream, oil, lotion or mousse to suit every kind of skin.
1999 Zest 73/2 (caption) For this sleek bob, apply some mousse to damp hair to give it more ‘guts’ and control..
The various meanings the borrowing assumes after its adoption into English constitute specific uses of the French word mousse ‘moss’, ‘foam’.
1838 Penny Cycl. X. 223 Among the most noted are .. the Chartreux, which is bluish, and the Angora cat. (oed2)
1866 G. A. Sala Trip to Barbary xx. 379 The absinthe and the chartreuse .. should all come from France. (oed2)
1884 Western Daily Press 26 Dec. 7/5 With white all pale shades are employed, such as heliotrope, citron, chartreuse. (oed2)
1909 - «[…] les capes en satin Liberty noir, doublées de ‘paillette’ tilleul, parme, crevette, chartreuse, drapées de façon à former une sorte de grande manche flottante […]» La Mode illustrée, 14 nov., 527b […] (ddl)
It is therefore not clear whether the use in French has influenced the relevant use in English.
3.2.1 Metaphorical uses
1828 C. I. Johnstone Diversions of Hollycot vi. 138 ‘She is quite a piece-montée herself,’ said George, laughing. ‘Such an affected conceited girl, so dressed and over-dressed.’ (oed3)
1999 L. Lifshin Before it’s Light 29 Being twenty-four and Never screwed but in my Soft nougat thighs.
Consulted sources such as the Grand Robert attest metaphorical uses for the French equivalent in a number of phrases which vary from the relevant sense in English. The French expression c’est du nougat, for example, might be paraphrased as ‘that’s very good’, ‘that’s very easy and agreeable’. In jambes en nougat, the French nougat is used with reference to tired, weak legs (see Grand Robert). Maybe the use in French has influenced, in some degree at least, the corresponding sense in English.
3.2.2 Semantic broadening due to recipe variations
The list of terms for desserts and confectionary also encompasses borrowings which undergo semantic broadenings since the preparation of the corresponding recipes becomes more manifold over time. As will be seen, the original recipes of a number of French desserts and confectionary items have been modified, just as was the case with savoury, classic French dishes. The majority of sense extensions in this group of borrowings represent independent semantic developments within English.
1883 Cassell’s Family Mag. Sept. 602/2 Any dish that has a baked cake for its foundation, if served in its original shape, may be called a gâteau.
1906 Mrs. Beeton’s Bk. Househ. Managem. (rev. ed.) lxvii. 1754 Gateau of minced meat.
1932 Edinburgh Bk. Plain Cookery Recipes 51 Gâteau of Fish.
Préparation culinaire salée rappelant par sa composition, sa consistance ou sa forme un gâteau […]. Gâteau de foies de volaille, de pommes de terre. Ce qu’il y a d’excellent dans la cuisine anglaise, ce sont les gâteaux de viande, les pies aux rognons et au steak, aux champignons, aux huîtres cuites, au poulet, surmontés de croûtes délicieusesmorand, Londres, 1933, p. 238
1928 E. Blunden Undertones of War iii. 27 Their front windows .. exhibited .. chocolate bouchées in silver paper.
Richmond Times Dispatch (Virginia), December 30, 2004; “celebrate mexican-style”
henry clay hello – The Henry Clay Inn, 114 N. Railroad Ave., Ashland, has welcomed new chef F.J. Sabatini. […]
The restaurant is open for dinner 5:30-9 p.m. Friday-Saturday and brunch 10:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m. Sunday. The regular weekend dinner menu includes shrimp, scallop and salmon bouchee; thyme pork au poivre; filet mignon and crab cakes.
Daily Mirror, Sri Lanka, December 28, 2010; “starting a new year well”
It’s New Year’s Eve. Are you going out dancing to see the New Year in? Or are you going to church, temple, mosque or kovil? […]
so you want to lose weight? Don’t think of the number of kilos you aim to lose, just concentrate on doing something today towards your overall goal of losing weight. Start by lessening or leaving out the sugar in your morning cup of coffee. Then do you indulge in chocolate eclairs or pastries like chicken bouchees or pies? Say a prayer to the God you believe in and ask for the willpower to say “No” to pastries. Simply avoid going to the Patisserie at all.
As in the case of gâteau, the meaning of bouchée(s) seems to be assumed from French.
1978 Monitor (McAllen, Texas) 25 June 1 e, Mayan Parfait is a smooth, rich mix of vanilla ice cream layered between a banana-nut frozen confection.
1983 Nation’s Restaurant News (Nexis) 17 1 Such nonseafood Banchet creations as pithivier of partridge with peach sauce and noisettes of venison.
1987 Chicago Tribune (Nexis) 2 Oct. C3 Appetizers include a cheese pithivier (puff pastry around mild cheese) and a roquefort mousse.
1990 Country Homes Oct. 143/3, I opted for a mille-feuille of crab with sorrel. (oed3)
1967 Listener 21 Dec. 802/2 When strangers meet, and nature calls, our society splits into a mille-feuille of social strata: each one of us clinging to our own euphemism.
French general-purpose dictionaries do not attest a similar change in meaning for the French term millefeuille.
The Vancouver Sun (British Columbia), November 23, 1991; “When in doubt, pour champagne: Like pearls and basic black, blue blazer and grey flannels, it’s just the right thing.”
[…] Anyway, no danger of tinned fruit at the Hotel Vancouver these days - the first-ever Champagne Festival continues until Nov. 30 with a joint-venture “Champagne menu with a West Coast flavor” […]. Best of all is the table d’hote which, for $ 68 per person gets you cold lobster bavaroise; […]
Sarasota Herald-Tribune (Florida), October 3, 2004; “Scenes from an Italian restaurant”
As with everything at Divino, Bozzolo makes his pasta in house. […] He likes to offer dishes that are somewhat unusual, like his antipasto […] which includes red pepper and spinach souffle, tomato bavaroise, croquettes of ricotta and emanthaler, and mushroom and artichoke bruschetta.
Port Douglas Mossman Gazette (Australia), May 13, 2004; “Canapes with cocktails”
Mystery and glamour will transform the Port Douglas Sugar Wharf tomorrow night when masked guests dressed in their finery enjoy Sunset Cocktails in Masquerade to launch Carnivale 2004. […] Salsa Bar and Grill: Truffled smoked salmon crepe filled with asparagus and horse radish bavaroise […]
San Antonio Express-News, December 23, 2005; “Celebrating with style”
[…] The menu for New Year’s Eve features lobster éclair; pavé of Iranian caviar; braised bacon, Perigord black truffle glaze; […]
Bangor Daily News, February 11, 2008; “wccc students host polar dip taste test”
Culinary arts students from Washington County Community College on Friday had breakfast treats prepared for dippers and nondippers alike during the eighth annual Polar Bear Dip, sponsored by wccc. The taste test was part of a classroom exercise as students prepared for the Maine Dairy Council’s culinary competition to be held at the Blaine House in Augusta later this year. The students’ recipes will stand side by side with recipes prepared by other students from community colleges across the state. In years past, wccc students have walked away with the top prize. […] Coming in second was the pumpkin French toast breakfast; third place, the phyllo pocket; and fourth place, the chipped beef eclair.
The Evening Standard (London), February 8, 2010; “join the eclair”
They were the stuff of high teas and children’s parties but I never anticipated eclairs being cool. Yet after the trend for handmade macaroons and cup cakes, 2010 is arguably the year of the eclair. The craze started in New York, where you can order eclairs in every flavour from Nutella to pistachio at Financier Patisserie in Grand Central Station. Meanwhile, inspired by the Oscar-nominated Julie & Julia, home chefs are digging out recipes for savoury eclairs.
As is apparent, éclairs may be filled with savoury ingredients these days. In France, however, the classic French recipe seems to be maintained: French sources lack examples of savoury éclairs. The changes in meaning of bavaroise and éclair are not given in the unrevised edition of oed2.
It should be noted that the majority of terms for desserts and confectionary are still in full use in present-day English. An exception is meringué, an item of patisserie made of fruit and meringue, which has become obsolete. Meringués appear to be no longer consumed today.
The extensive documentary evidence in English and French databases and dictionaries such as the oed and the tlf made possible this type of analysis, which had not been carried out in previous studies. As has been shown in this paper, quite a few of the nineteenth-century cookery terms from French were subjected to a sense development after their first recorded use. Some of them may represent internal semantic changes within English, others were influenced by French. It seems noteworthy that a number of sense developments of the culinary terms presented in this study have not yet been included in the oed: several borrowings reflect a new meaning in corpora of recent usage such as LexisNexis and the bnc which is not made explicit in the unrevised edition of the oed2.
It looks as if towards the end of the twentieth century and in the beginning of the twenty-first century cooking in England has become more independent. The classic French dishes have done their duty in inspiring more adventurous or exotic ventures.
It would be interesting to see whether this trend also holds for culinary items adopted from other foreign languages. In order to investigate this, however, large-scale studies should be undertaken, which would have to go far beyond the scope of the present paper.
CarstensenBroder. 1968. Zur Systematik und Terminologie deutsch-englischer Lehnbeziehungen. In BrekleHerbert E. and LipkaLeonard (eds.). Wortbildung Syntax und Morphologie. Festschrift zum 60. Geburtstag von Hans Marchand am 1. Oktober 196732–45. The Hague/Paris: Mouton.
Murray James Henry Bradley William Craigie and Charles T. Onions (eds.) 1884–1933. The Oxford English Dictionary; Supplement (1972–86) ed. by Burchfield Robert; Second ed. (1989) ed. by Simpson John and Edmund Weiner; Additions Series (1993–1997) ed. by Simpson John Edmund Weiner and Michael Proffitt; 3rd ed. (in progress) oed Online (March 2000-) ed. by Simpson John. Oxford. oed Online searchable at: <http://www.oed.com/>.
Searchable online at: <http://atilf.atilf.fr/jykervei/ddl.htm>.
Quirk Randolph et al. 2008. A Comprehensive Grammar of the English Language. 22nd impr. Harlow: Longman.
British National Corpus <http://www.natcorp.ox.ac.uk/>.
1 For a definition of the term borrowing, see the ‘terminology’ chapter of this paper.
2 For more information on the production of an electronic oed see Brewer, Charlotte. 2004. The electronification of the Oxford English Dictionary. Dictionaries 25: 1–43.
3 For details on the revision of the etymologies in the oed see Durkin, Philip. 1999. Root and Branch: Revising the etymological component of the oed. Transactions of the Philological Society 97: 1–49.
4 For the essential categories of semantic change, see Durkin, Philip. 2009. The Oxford Guide to Etymology. Oxford, New York: Oxford University Press, 235–245, and Traugott, Elizabeth C. 2006. Semantic change: bleaching, strenghtening, narrowing, extension. In Keith Brown, Keith (ed.), 2006. Encyclopedia of Language and Linguistics, xi:124–131. 2nd ed. Oxford: Elsevier.
5 Cf. Schultz, Twentieth-century Borrowings from French to English, 501.
6 More examples of figurative uses of haute cuisine are provided by Schultz (2012: 294ff).
7 For details on the different categories of semantic change and the various terms to describe sense developments, see Geeraerts (2010: 26–27), Traugott (2006: 124ff), or Traugott and Dasher (2005: 24ff).
8 For a comprehensive analysis of the semantic development of rosbif, see the ‘dish’ chapter of this paper.
9 Cf. oed2.
10 For a detailed description of the word bifteck, see the ‘terminology’ chapter of this paper.
11 For an analysis of fricandel/fricandelle, see the ‘terminology’ chapter of this study.
12 Jambalaya is a borrowing from Louisiana French. It ultimaltely goes back to Provençal jambalaia. Cf. oed2.
13 The grammatical terminology employed in this paper is based on Quirk et al.’s Comprehensive Grammar of the English Language (2008). For the use of the term phrase see Quirk et al., A Comprehensive Grammar of the English Language, 2.3ff and 2.25ff.
14 For a description of the sense development of rognon, see the ‘terminology’ chapter of this study.
15 For the sense development of gratin, see the terminology chapter of this paper.
16 Cf. LexisNexis. Note that in corpora such as LexisNexis or the bnc, the layout of a text (i.e. the use of italicization or diacritics, etc.), in contrast to the material included in the oed, frequently does not correspond to the original source. It may well be that the accents of French words are not included properly when the original texts are changed into corpus format. Cf. email from Hoffmann, S. (Customer Support and Training Consultant, LexisNexis), dated 18th May 2009, and from the bnc Customer Service, dated 18th February 2008.
17 Babka, a variety of cake or sweet bread, shows quite a complex etymological description in oed3: the word was partly derived from the French babka and the Polish etymon babka. Cf. oed3.
18 According to oed3 the cake reflects the name of Pithiviers, a city in France, where it seems to have originated. It seems likely that the form pithivier is due to a misinterpretation of the French name of the city as a plural noun. Pithivier is apparently recorded later in French than in English, i.e. in 1924.
19 Cf. Schultz, Twentieth-century borrowings from French to English, 276ff.