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Amercian Stereotypes and Traditional Cuisine – Hamburger Vocabulary in French Posted by on Mar 21, 2018 in Cooking, Culture

Living in France as un américain (an American) sometimes means hearing the same jokes over and over again. Most of the time it’s all meant in good fun so it never bothers me and sometimes I even learn about les stéréotypes américains (American stereotypes) that I never knew existed!

Image from Pixabay. Licensed under CC0.

The most common stéréotype américain that is the end of many jokes for me here en France is that all Americans love les hamburgers (hamburgers).

Like with French fries not being from la France, there’s an irony in the stereotypically American food originally being from l’Allemagne (Germany) and not les États-Unis (the United States). Cependant (however), that doesn’t stop the hamburger punch line from being repeated, especially if the subject of traditional cuisine comes up.

Et toi John, tu veux manger un hamburger !
And you John, you want to eat a hamburger!

While it can get old hearing the same joke over and over, it also inspired me to learn des nouveaux mots (new words), because I quickly realized I had no idea to talk about what goes into making un bon hamburger or how to properly explain the difference between le fast-food and a backyard barbecue!

Instead of seeing it as an annoying situation, I prefer to look at it as a way to open up conversations and gain insight into la culture française. It may be awkward, but I understand that mes amis français (my French friends) are looking for a way to include me and I appreciate the effort, even if I don’t laugh at the hamburger jokes.

So I decided to learn how to discuss les ingrédients et les condiments (toppings and condiments) and how exactly I like le steak haché (the patty) cooked! Après tout (after all), even if les hamburgers are not my favorite food, I do enjoy eating them!

Voici un vocabulaire de hamburger :

Hamburger – Le hamburger
Fast Food – Le fast-food
Barbecue – Le barbecue
Spatula – La spatule
Bun – Le petit pain
Patty – Le steak haché
Very Rare – Bleu
Rare – Saignant
Medium Rare – À point
Well Done – Bien cuit
Sauce – La sauce
Ketchup – Le ketchup
Mayonnaise – La mayonnaise
Mustard – La moutarde
Relish – Le condiment
Tomato – La tomate
Lettuce – La salade
Onion – L’oignon
Pickle – Le cornichon au vinaigre
Grease – La graisse
Fries – Les frites

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About the Author: John Bauer

John Bauer is an enthusiast for all things language and travel. He currently lives in France where he's doing his Master's. John came to France four years ago knowing nothing about the language or the country, but through all the mistakes over the years, he's started figuring things out.


  1. jèje:

    La tomate
    La salade

  2. Tom Sanders:

    I like burgers w nothing on them, and in French, a plain hamburger comes “sans tout” (without everything). Ordered them at McDs in Paris and never got one with stuff on it, unlike in the EUA where you never know what you’re getting.