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Posted: 17 September 2007 03:13 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 61 ]
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Sorry, going back to the preservation of the ne/nee forms.  I should have remembered fiance/fiancee, but at least this a noun and we do gave gender specifc nouns in english.  The preservation of the 2 forms on a verb is more unusual.

As to the “au jus” thing.  Yes it grates on me, but only because of my exposure to french.  I happily refer to “the al Jazeera new channel” as my arabic is somewhat weak.  I probably would also not notice use of “the el xxxx” from spanish, but I guess in most of the US this would be more commonly picked up.

Perhaps also in mitigation (I think), the “au” does not directly translate to “with” (that would be “avec").  Hard to translate exactly, but it means more “in the style of”.

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Posted: 17 September 2007 04:04 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 62 ]
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According to my Cassell’s it’s a contraction of a le, to the, but obviously the literal translation’s not always a good choice.

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Posted: 17 September 2007 06:15 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 63 ]
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Yeah, but “to the” does not help either!
You can buy chicken wings.  Throw in some red powder and sticky sauce and you have “barbecue style”.  I guess that “beef, thin watery gravy style” somehow fell short for the marketing firm…

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Posted: 17 September 2007 06:40 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 64 ]
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Au” in French gastronomy doesn’t mean “in the style of”; it means “cooked in/ flavoured with/served with”.

E.g.:
caneton à l’orange - duckling in orange sauce
raie au beurre noire – skate with black butter
pintade aux épinards – guinea fowl with spinach

“In the style [of]” in French is “à la mode [de]”, e.g. “tripes à la mode de Caen”, often contracted to “à la”, e.g. ”à la bordelaise”. The particle and adjective in this construction are always feminine, to agree with “mode”, whether the word is omitted or not. This accounts for such apparently illogical phrases as “à la Napoléon”.

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Posted: 17 September 2007 08:23 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 65 ]
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accepted, literal “in the style of” uses the term “mode” as you say.
However the “au” is more than just “with”.  “Au gratin” does not mean “with burned bits”, but refers to some extent to the way the food is presented and the name of a dish, also as in “coq au vin”.
I was struggling with how to translate this without falling back to plain “with”, hence my “more in the style of” rather than “it means in the style of”.

Just trying to help get a large chunk of the US “off the hook” as being seen as pretentious or stupid.

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Posted: 17 September 2007 10:45 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 66 ]
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No, Syntinen is right.  Au gratin means ‘(cooked) with gratin‘: the fact that gratin has been extended in meaning to cover cheese as well as the original crisped breadcrumbs-and-butter mix is irrelevant.  Coq au vin is chicken cooked with wine.  The other stuff you’re thinking of is ancillary and not covered by the meaning of the name per se.

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Posted: 18 September 2007 08:54 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 67 ]
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LH, sorry but I took the precaution of conducting a poll of actual resident french speakers, and while tranlsation is not straight forward, it is more than “with”.

I also suggest you look up the origins of “gratin”.

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Posted: 20 September 2007 09:50 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 68 ]
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The bakery/coffee chain Au Bon Pain. Literally, ‘to the good bread’ or ‘at the good bread’? ‘In the manner/style of good bread’? What would be the best translation? At the place of good bread?

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Posted: 20 September 2007 10:55 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 69 ]
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I also suggest you look up the origins of “gratin”.

From gratter, to grate or rasp, as one does to make breadcrumbs. It subsequently acquired the sense “burnt part” because of the practice of grilling the breadcrumbed surface of the dish under a hot flame.

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Posted: 20 September 2007 11:28 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 70 ]
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Off topic a bit for the board, but I agree that the origin is from “gratter” scratch or scrape, but originated as the term for the remains of food burnt onto the casserole or pan that had to be scraped off.  Cited in this sense from 1564.  Moved to apply to food (parts of a dish) that was a bit overcooked but scraped off to be eaten, then to parts of as dish deliberately used to brown-off and to become crispy.
Not clear if this started with breadcrumbs or cheese or anything else, or they all just developed in parallel.
Anyway the current sense (along with the “au") with whatever was established at least early 1800’s, and is defined in 1811 as “the manner in which certain dishes are prepared”.

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