Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Linguistic bloviation

There's got to be a term that describes words that evolve through the linguistic game of telephone. Here's an example of what I mean. In France, back in the day, if you wanted to let a girl know you liked her you would give her a flower, or donner une fleur à. This evolved into the verb fleurter (to flower). The English language picked this up and changed it to flirt. In modernday French, the verb for flirting is flirter and comes directly from the English word flirt. So, game of telephone.

This brings me to the parfait. In France, the word parfait means perfect, but it also refers to a frozen dessert. In this country, round about the turn of the 20th century, we adopted the word parfait and used it to mean ice cream layered with other ingredients (like syrups or fruit) in a tall soda-fountain-style glass. The concept then evolved to mean anything that was served in layers in a tall glass (object being, of course, to show off the layers).

Flash forward to now: For the past couple of years, chi-chi caterers and restaurants in this country have adopted this cool, new presentation idea from France: the verrine. It's layered ingredients presented in a glass so you can see the layers. Hmmmm, wait, that sounds familiar...

So again, language has moved on. To try your hand at parfa....verrines, you could check out Terrines & Verrines from chef Franck Pontais.

No comments:

Post a Comment