What do some of the French words used on menus mean?

Don't make a faux pas by saying fox pass while at a dinner party!


Do you have trouble pronouncing some of the French words commonly used on dinner party or restaurant menus? I know I do! Not quite sure of their meaning when you see or hear them? I have been there myself and have had to ask.  For those who said yes, you’re not alone, so I created a little cheat sheet of French words sometimes seen on menus or that you might hear from a waiter or waitress.  The words are followed by my own made up words to help you sound it out, as close as possible, along with a short definition.   

A la carte –-- ah-la-cart

A separate price for each dish offered on the menu.

Amuse Bouche –-- a-mooze-bush

An appetizer served free according to the chef's selection alone. These are served to prepare guests for the meal and to offer a glimpse into the chef's approach to the art of cuisine.

Charcuterie  --- shar- koo-tuh-ree

The art of making sausages and other cured smoked and preserved meats including pâtés.

Crudités --- kroo-di-tey

Pieces of raw vegetables (such as celery, carrots, peppers, radishes) that are served before a meal usually with a dressing or sauce for dipping.

Du jour --- due-zhoo-r

An item of the day not specified on the regular menu.

Hors d’ oeuvres –-- or-derv(s)

Small savory foods that can be enjoyed in one or two bites and usually served before the meal.

Prix Fixe --- pree feeks

A complete meal offered at a fixed price which usually includes an appetizer, meal, and dessert.  Wine and cocktails are usually charged separately.

Soirée --- swah-ray

A formal party or social gathering usually held in the evening.

Faux Pas –-- foe-pah

An embarrassing remark or comment in a social situation.