With the increased love for creatively designing cheese plates, more attention has been given to all manner of appetizer spreads. Stunning cheese boards, artistically assembled fruit platters, and, of course, next-level crudités seem to have taken the snacking world by storm. Yet this dish’s rise in popularity hasn’t necessarily corresponded with a rise in consumers’ confidence in actually saying the word out loud.
We get it. While it’s exciting that our everyday access to and engagement with foreign culinary traditions is expanding, we aren’t always familiar with their native languages. This can lead to embarrassing and confusing interactions with waiters and acquaintances alike.
In this installment of our series dedicated to breaking down confusing culinary terms, we explore the history, etymology, and pronunciation of crudités so you can confidently incorporate this delicious, nutritious snack into your life.
Introduction and Common Mispronunciations
With the rise of farm-to-table and centering on high-quality, fresh, organic produce, crudités have been increasingly common in the United States since the late 2010s.
While chefs have put unique spins on the names they use, the composition is the same: some assortment of fresh vegetables paired with one or more dips to elevate their flavors.
If you’re reading this word as a native US English speaker, you may be pronouncing it in one of the following ways:
Both make sense using our phonetic rules, the origins of the dish and the language that gave it its name do not work the same.
As such, you may be pronouncing it wrong. In the next section, we’ll explore the culture and etymology of crudités in order to better navigate its pronunciation.
Crudités Origin Story and Etymology
While it’s likely that groups of people have been eating raw vegetables around the world since the early civilizations, the dish called by this name is credited to the French, and not terribly long ago.
We first see this word used to describe this culinary trend in 20th century France, and it made its way into the American lexicon when chef James Beard included a recipe for crudités in a cookbook he published in 1965.
Although fresh vegetables presented simply had been the preferred start to any meal in regions of France for some time by then, the trend was now spreading. The New York Times published a recipe for it in the 1980s and soon after the appetizer began popping up in restaurants across the country.
The name of the dish itself, crudités, always used in the plural form, means “rawness” or “raw things.”
Invoicing French pronunciation standards, it is said simply: CREW-di-te. The word we use today stems from the 14th-century Middle French word crudite, which stems from the Latin crudus, which means rough, uncooked, or bloody.
Now that you know the history and context of this appetizer, why not order it at your local french restaurant? Feeling adventurous? Try your hand at making one – maybe a classic French version, or something a little more extravagant.