Appears in

Oxford Companion to Food

Oxford Companion to Food

By Alan Davidson

Published 2014

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à la a French phrase which introduces a name indicating how a dish has been prepared: thus, Sole à la normande, Potage à la Rothschild. In the whole phrase the words façon de or mode de are usually understood. Occasionally the missing words are included: thus, Tripes à la mode de Caen, or the words à la are omitted: thus, Sole normande may appear all by itself.

It is rare for these phrases to be self-explanatory. The great majority are in code, and when the coded terms were most freely used, even chefs, restaurateurs and the most sophisticated diners needed a lexicon, such as Hering’s Dictionary of Classical and Modern Cookery (Bickel, 1977), or Escoffier’s Guide Culinaire (1921).