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on 12 December 2011
I was looking for a book primarily for help eating out in France, and found three likely candidates: "Gastronomic Dictionary" (this book), "Bon Appetit" and "Dictionary of Culinary & Menu Terms", and not knowing which would be more suitable and being a bit of a foodie anyway I bought all three - not exactly expensive. Now I'm in a good position to make a comparison.

Gastronomic Dictionary French-English

Perfect for what I wanted. Easily fits into my wife's handbag. Claims over 4500 translations (I didn't count them!) The translations are brief but sufficient. We didn't find anything on our recent trip that wasn't explained in this book. Note that it's French to English only, but that's all that's needed for the purpose, and keeps the book small (15 x 10.5 x 0.5 cm). Recommended.

Bon Appetit!: French-English Menu Dictionary

Has over French-English 3500 translations. As with the previous book, it's primarily French to English. Also has a very brief English-French section and a summary of French regional culinary differences. Compared with "Gastronomic Dictionary" the translations are a bit more wordy so possibly a wee bit clearer, although this means that it's not as compact - 18.5 x 12.5 x 0.75 cm - not quite so convenient for the handbag or pocket.

Dictionary of Culinary and Menu Terms

The main difference from the previous two is that it contains worldwide terms (12000+), although from a specifically French point of view, undoubtedly less than the other two. It's also a full-size paperback (20 x 13 x 2.5 cm).


For what I wanted, the Gastronomic Dictionary was a clear winner - small size and lots of translations. The Bon Appetit Menu Dictionary looks very good, but you wouldn't need both. If you are travelling anywhere other than France then you'll need the Dictionary of Culinary & Menu Terms.
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on 7 March 2004
This is a useful guide to French food terms and would help interpreting french Cookery books as well as Menus. Its small size make it ideal to take on shopping trips or eating out in Restaurants.
It is however a word to word translation and without explanations and I did not understand some of the English words used! I would also query a few of the translations e.g. Poule and Poulet - the former Chicken and the latter Broiler Chicken, wheras my own experience is that Poule need at least 2 hours cooking in a pot and Poulet roast well. A further disadvantage of any book attempting a global view is the many and varied regional terms.
However it is a useful guide especially for anyone not confident with French and should prevent simple culinary mistakes.
I recommend it for its basic factual content and handy size as long as you understand it is a small dictionary not an encylopaedia.
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on 4 June 2009
A great guide for those that love to eat, cook or are just curious about foodie terms. Although small I found it crammed full of info and easy to use. Whilst a bigger guide would have been a bonus, this one can be kept in a car when travelling as an additional guide for those visiting Michelin restaurants or places that might require just a little more translation than the norm.
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on 30 July 2010
This is the best pocket book for foodies to take to France.
It seems to cover everything even obscure stuff.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 15 May 2014
I bought this with the Marling Menu-master. I have to say I prefer the Menu-master as it provides more depth and is more useful, in my opinion, in looking at menus. The dictionary is more literal in its translation and does not give as detailed descriptions. It is perhaps easiest to illustrate my point with an example: Coquille Saint-Jacques. In the dictionary the description is simply 'scallops' which is perfectly true. The same description is given in the menu-master but it is followed by a series of variations which are explained with some detail e.g. Coquilles Saint-Jacques à la Normande - Served in a thick creamy sauce made from mushroom-flavored fish stock base and the cooking liquor of mussels and other seafood. You can, of course, look up Normande in the dictionary but the two stage process is a little cumbersome and even then the description is "with cream/apples or cider".

Overall, the menu-master provides better description and gives much more of an idea of what you are ordering. It isn't that the dictionary is bad, just that for deciphering restaurant menus it is very 'plain'.
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on 12 May 2011
Most French Restaurants offer English Menus but in my experience these are often more baffling than the French version. Wormed Goat Cheese was an amusing example. This book is easy to carry and would have served well in the past had it been available. It was recommended in a magazine deservably so.

It is reasonably priced.

It will be put to good use in the future.
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on 23 September 2015
I was surprised how small the book was...more a booklet.but useful for that reason...slips into a handbag nicely. Why isn't there a section English - French? Trying to find out what a mullet or a rib eye steak is in French is quite a challenge.
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on 1 August 2012
We were offered this small handy book at a hotel off the beaten track while travelling through France. Our understanding of the French language is limited although not nonexistent. We found it extremely useful for this particular meal and then scanned through and found there was hardly a word or phrase we couldn't find an answer to. We immediately purchased a copy on our return to UK and look forward to our next French trip in order to use it.
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on 27 May 2012
I was disappointed with this dictionary, it is not a straight word for word translation, when I attempted to use it in a restaurant I could not seem to find the item that was on the menu in the dictionary.
In the end I did not bother with it and in any case all the restaurants we ate in were able to give a translation of the food in English.
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on 12 January 2016
The Gastronomic Dictionary, French to English, is a very handy size to carry on restaurant visits and the contents very useful. Will have to
seek out another English to French.
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