What is it with the use of the word “French” to qualify things commonly used in the American/English language?
Let's start with French manicure: French women call it the American manicure and in fact, it is not as common overseas as it is here in the States. In addition, French women are not as much into perfect nails as American women are. Usually, I avoid making generalizations about people and behaviors because most often it leads to stereotypes and assumptions but in this case, I believe that I am safe.
For those who don't know what a French or American manicure is: voilà!
Moving to French dressing: again, there’s nothing really “French” about French dressing: it’s a sweetened tomato-based dressing invented in America in the 1930s. It simply does not exist in France! The actual French dressing is called la vinaigrette: a mixture or rather an emulsion of oil and vinegar often flavored with herbs, spices or other ingredients such as mustard, lemon juice, honey ...
Le mot du jour: la vinaigrette.
And what about French fries?
It is not unusual for food dishes to have several stories explaining their real origins. In the case of French fries, history tells us that Belgium is considered the country of origin. Around the second half of the 19th century, poor people fried potatoes (cut lengthwise to look like fish) during the winter when they couldn’t fish in frozen rivers.
Then, why “French” fries? It is been said that during the 1st world war, British and American soldiers going through Belgium ate the fries and called them French fries because French was the official language of the Belgium army at the time. Of course, you will find other explanations but this is the one I am sticking with. One more thing, Belgians eat fries with ketchup as well as mayonnaise (most often sweet).
2ème mot du jour: les frites, French for fries also called pommes frites (specially in Germany) and even pommes de terre frites. A pomme de terre, literally translated the “apple of the earth”, is simply a potato.
Finally, why the French kiss? Are the French really responsible for the existence of what is a French kiss? In France, we simply refer to this type of kiss as a kiss with the tongue: pretty disappointing, isn’t it? I will not provide a picture of a French kiss and rather leave it to your imagination…
I could continue with the French toast, the French puddle, the French window … but now I will turn to you: Why the need to attach the word “French”