December 19, 2012
au gratin (adjective)
\oh-GRAH-tin\ Hear it!
What does it mean?
: covered with bread crumbs or grated cheese and browned (as under a broiler)
How do you use it?
Jackson loves casseroles with a crunchy, cheesy topping, so one of his favorite foods is au gratin potatoes.
Are you a word wiz?

English is stuffed with interesting words for food and ways of preparing it. "Au gratin" is one of them. Which of the following do you think is another food term?

If you picked answer A, you're really cooking! Any food -- potatoes, cauliflower, even fish and broccoli -- that comes with a bread crumb topping can be described as "au gratin." "Au gratin" comes from French and means literally "with the burnt scrapings from the pan." "Fricassee" is also a cooking term that comes from French and it means "a dish of meat or vegetables cut into pieces and stewed in a white sauce," as in "chicken fricassee." Of our other choices, "tempera" (not to be confused with delicious "tempura") is a kind of paint, "allegro" is a music term, and "hula" is a Polynesian dance.
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