Tuesday, December 22, 2015


In France, a typical meal has three courses: l'entrée, le plat principal, and le dessert. In the UK, I believe these are known as the starter, the main course, and the dessert. In the US, we call them the appetizer, the entree, and the dessert. I don't know why we Americans call the main course the entree; it makes no sense at all.

Six snails per serving, and the last of the bubbly Saumur.

There are variations on the standard meal, of course, the most common of which are the addition of an hors d'œuvre and/or apéritif before the entrée and a cheese course before, or in place of, the dessert. For my birthday lunch yesterday, we started with an apéritif of sparkling Saumur (Loire Valley) wine. The bubbly was dry and delicious, made from mostly chenin grapes possibly blended with a little chardonnay.

Some of the ingredients of the day.

Our entrée was escargots sauce tomate (snails in a tomato sauce). The snails themselves come in a can, already cleaned and cooked. I made the sauce with some of our home-grown tomato paste, chopped garlic, home-grown oregano, smoked paprika, and hot pepper. I heated the snails and sauce  in a hot oven, then served them with baguette slices. The tomato paste sauce was a nice change from the standard garlic/parsley/butter sauce. They were delicious! Our plat principal was steak au poivre (steak in a pepper sauce). More about that tomorrow.


  1. Many happy returns! I could probably handle snails in that sauce. It sounds delicious.

  2. Snails are not on my eat list but I just love the scene in Pretty Woman when she spins one off the plate, it is caught by the waiter and she says 'Slippery little suckers!'

  3. Oh, no snails for me, thanks. I just can never get over the thought that they're slugs in shells. Such a shame.

    Since living in Spain, I too have wondered about the American use of "entree" for the main course. Here "starters" are called aperitivos or entradas, and main courses are often called "platos principales." Desserts are "postres" and the British version is "sweets."

  4. Hope your birthday was relaxing and enjoyable :) Can't wait to see more food photos from the day.

  5. I was wondering if you were going to get into the salad discussion. We Americans eat our salad before the entree, but the French eat salad after the main course. http://rendezvoustucson.com/les-salades-should-you-eat-salad-before-or-after-a-meal/

    1. Hi Cheryl. Happy belated Birthday to you, and many returns.

    2. Hi, chm, happy early birthday to you (I believe). We are finally getting much needed rain in California. Happy Holidays!

  6. In Poland we also serve 3 courses

  7. Happy birthday for yesterday. Prepared as I thought I was with US customs before we visited, entrée being the main course was one I did not know and left us quite mystified.

  8. Happy Birthday!
    The escargots sound wonderful, Walt!
    In Canada we have the appetizer/, entree/starter, main course and dessert......much like the UK.

  9. I don't think I've had escargots in anything other than garlic butter sauce, but this sounds delicious. I'll have to try it. Off to the yard to catch some escargots. ;-)

  10. Looks wonderful! A happy belated birthday to you Walt.

  11. craig, thanks! The snails and sauce were tasty. I'll definitely do it again.

    potty, I didn't remember that! LOL. It has been a long time since I saw that movie...

    mitch, it seems obvious that "entree" would be, like, the beginning.

    judy, it was, thanks. And you will. :)

    cheryl, yeah, I forgot to mention it. Probably because we skipped the salad course this time! Oh, and as for catching escargots, be quick before they get away!

    gosia, interesting!

    andrew, I think we do it on purpose. Just to be different. We're like that. ;)

    jim, thanks! It must be Canada's bilingual heritage in that you understand what "entrée" actually means!

    christine, many thanks!


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