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Nov 11, 2005
This week's theme
French terms for food

This week's words
hors d'oeuvre

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AWADmail 186

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Words from the plant kingdom
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with Anu Garg

saute or sauté

(so-TAY) Pronunciation

verb tr.: To cook in a hot pan with little oil, frequently turning or tossing.

[From French sauter (to jump) as the cook vigorously jerks the pan to keep the ingredients from burning.]

There is something of a grammatical problem with bringing the word into English, though, since it is only the past participle sauté rather than the infinitive that has made the linguistic migration. To quote The Oxford Companion to Food: "Thus in English, when the imperative is required, as often happens in recipes, only the past participle is available. The result looks odd ('Sauté the mushrooms...'), but works."

"Heat a little vegetable oil in a large frying pan. Saute half the onions and the bell pepper until translucent."
Try Making Mobster's Enchiladas, and More; Philadelphia Daily News (Pennsylvania); Oct 27, 2005.

See more usage examples of saute in Vocabulary.com's dictionary.


Several excuses are always less convincing than one. -Aldous Huxley, novelist (1894-1963)

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