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MBK
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I'm in search of butternut squash for my Thanksgiving dinner here in Paris, but I have no idea what the French word for butternut squash is. Anyone have any tips? (And/or substitutable squashes if I can't find butternut?)

I found something called courge musquee (musk gourd?) that appears to be close; anyone know if I'm in the ballpark there?

Thanks!

(Don, feel free to move this if there's a more suitable thread...)

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I've had this same problem in Africa, even when they use the English word (it took a long time for me to internalize the fact that there are no actual lemons here, and that limes are called lemons). I also brought back from Portugal about 20 pounds of random cured meats that I had no idea how to use.

Google is your friend. Searching Portuguese English food glossary brings back a pile of very helpful lists; at the same time, searching salpicao serra d arga brings back enough pages for me to piece together what to do with it (um, slice and eat).

So, a quick search for French terms finds that courge is squash or gourd and ... heh heh ... corge butternut is butternut squash.

I love the Internet.

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I've had this same problem in Africa, even when they use the English word (it took a long time for me to internalize the fact that there are no actual lemons here, and that limes are called lemons). I also brought back from Portugal about 20 pounds of random cured meats that I had no idea how to use.

Google is your friend. Searching Portuguese English food glossary brings back a pile of very helpful lists; at the same time, searching salpicao serra d arga brings back enough pages for me to piece together what to do with it (um, slice and eat).

So, a quick search for French terms finds that courge is squash or gourd and ... heh heh ... corge butternut is butternut squash.

I love the Internet.

Great idea, but unfortunately it doesn't quite work that way. The term "butternut" is not used here, despite all of the internet resources suggesting it. These Frenchies, they don't like the American words so much :blink:

My market guy's suggestion is to go with a courge musquee. I've got a couple of weeks to come up with a better idea, or else, that's my plan.

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I vague remember reading in an Ina Garten cookbook about a recipe for a french pumpkin soup. I think the caveat was that french pumpkins are very different than American baking pumpkins and that butternut squash would be a better substitute. Maybe you could do the reverse and use a french pumpkin in your squash recipe?

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Don't know if any of these would be easier to find (or translate), but here is a list of substitutes for butternut from the Cook's Thesaurus

"Substitutes: buttercup squash (not as sweet and moist; harder to peel when raw; consider baking with skin on) OR acorn squash (not as sweet; harder to peel when raw, consider baking with skin on) OR calabaza OR delicata squash OR kabocha squash OR Hubbard squash (harder to peel when raw, consider baking with skin on) OR green papaya"

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Great idea, but unfortunately it doesn't quite work that way. The term "butternut" is not used here, despite all of the internet resources suggesting it. These Frenchies, they don't like the American words so much :blink:

My market guy's suggestion is to go with a courge musquee. I've got a couple of weeks to come up with a better idea, or else, that's my plan.

Ah the Internet... angel and devil all in one!

Did you try pumpkin or a translation of it? Also, if you have absolutely no shame (like me), you could always print out a picture of it and bring it to the market. When I need spices, I'll bring in empty or nearly empty containers, and the smell helps us find the right thing.

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I pulled Ina Garten's Barefoot in Paris off my bookshelf and looked for squash in the index. Her Winter Squash Soup (Soupe au Potiron) begins with the comment: "Julia Child writes that many French brides are surprised to discover that their mother-in-law's recipe for soupe au potiron is actually made not with potiron--a French pumpkin--but rather with butternut squash." Her recipe combines American pumpkin and butternut squash to approximate the flavor of the French version. The photo next to the recipe, however, appears to be of buttercup squash :blink:.

Maybe finding the original context for Julia's comment would be of use.

ETA: I found the original reference (Mastering the Art, vol. 2, p. 361), and it does not specify butternut squash. She writes: "In France a potiron is any member of the squash family including the citrouille, which is a yellow-fleshed squash tasting like our Hubbard and acorn squashes. Thus you can never be quite sure whether you are getting in France what we would call pumpkin or what we would call squash...."

ETAA: I looked up the type of squash you were told to substitute, and it looks from the outside like the squash in the photo with the Ina Garten recipe. Pumpkin squash sounds pretty close.

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Don't know if any of these would be easier to find (or translate), but here is a list of substitutes for butternut from the Cook's Thesaurus

"Substitutes: buttercup squash (not as sweet and moist; harder to peel when raw; consider baking with skin on) OR acorn squash (not as sweet; harder to peel when raw, consider baking with skin on) OR calabaza OR delicata squash OR kabocha squash OR Hubbard squash (harder to peel when raw, consider baking with skin on) OR green papaya"

Butternut, with its distinctive shape and thin beige hard rind, has very dense, smooth-textured sweet dark orange flesh. The closest to it are buttercup (sometimes called turban), which is rounder and has dark green rind, and kabocha, which is even sweeter and has both green and orange-rinded varieties. Delicata has similar texture and flavor, but is a small squash with thin flesh and a large seed cavity. For soup, you would want to go with a meatier variety--more bang for the buck. Some pumpkin varieties, like small sugar pie pumpkins have fairly dense flesh, but my experience with them is usually disappointing, especially for pie. After roasting, the puree has to be cooked for a long time to evaporate the water out. And the flavor isn't nearly as interesting as the butternut-buttercup-kabocha type. Acorns aren't even close--the flesh is stringy, coarse and watery. Cut in half and roasted, with butter and honey or maple syrup in the cavity, they can make a decent side dish, but I would never use acorn squash for soup or pie. Carnival has the shape of an acorn, with smoother, denser texture. But of those small squashes, Delicata is the best. Hubbards lack flavor--the best thing they have going for them is that their interesting shape and blue-grey rind looks really beautiful in an Autumn cornucopia display.

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Courges musquées is a collective name for squashes ranging from acorn to butternut. Butternut squash exists in Paris, usually in the Indian or African neighborhood stores in the 10th /18th and is sold as “courge butternut”.

Short of that, you will want to look for “potiron” which will have the same color skin as a butternut but resembles a squat pumpkin like the “Long Island winter cheese squash”. Bright red ones are called “rouge vif d'Etampes”. “Potimaron” is a Hakkaido squash. Any market will have them, especially those at Place Monge 5th, Raspail organic market 6th, Bastille 11th, or Place d'Aligre 12th. List of markets and hours.

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MBK, please do keep us posted on what you find and how your final dish turns out!

To hijack the thread a little, I'm looking for a good guide to Italian cured meats and hard and semi-hard cheeses. I'll be in Florence soon, and am hoping to add to my stock of Portuguese hams and sausages with even more Italian products, especially pork. Since my next trip to the Western world may be eight months away, mom and I plan to spend an afternoon looking for items to tide me over. I'm obviously familiar with the basics, but there are surely going to be loads of products that I've never heard of. It's a little too late for me to order a book, but I'd love to find an online guide to Italian names of products and their uses, which I could print out and take with me so I could approach my purchases with a little more strategy than I was able to in Portugal.

Help. A gal can't live on falafel alone. My future culinary sanity depends on you.

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I'm in search of butternut squash for my Thanksgiving dinner here in Paris, but I have no idea what the French word for butternut squash is. Anyone have any tips? (And/or substitutable squashes if I can't find butternut?)

MBK: Purpose? Here's something on C & Z that Clothilde calls butternut squash soup (French title supplied, too, but the generic word for squash, only) w directions to her market. She's lived in California, so she knows from butternut squash, but I am curious about the way she describes her purchase as a chunk of squash. Email her and ask and/or search for other references to winter squash on her blog.

Oops, I forgot the link--but here's an even more promising entry on C & Z regarding an organic market w "hard-to-find" items in which butternut squash is named: click.

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MBK, please do keep us posted on what you find and how your final dish turns out!

To hijack the thread a little, I'm looking for a good guide to Italian cured meats and hard and semi-hard cheeses. I'll be in Florence soon, and am hoping to add to my stock of Portuguese hams and sausages with even more Italian products, especially pork. Since my next trip to the Western world may be eight months away, mom and I plan to spend an afternoon looking for items to tide me over. I'm obviously familiar with the basics, but there are surely going to be loads of products that I've never heard of. It's a little too late for me to order a book, but I'd love to find an online guide to Italian names of products and their uses, which I could print out and take with me so I could approach my purchases with a little more strategy than I was able to in Portugal.

Help. A gal can't live on falafel alone. My future culinary sanity depends on you.

Try Fred Plotkin's new updated guide to Italy for food lovers. More wide-ranging, but worthwhile. You should be able to find it at Edison's in Piazza Reppublica, a large Border's-like bookstore that is especially strong in English publications and books for all the tourists. There's also Paperback Exchange, a mostly used bookstore, that caters to American students abroad and everything that isn't related to courses in Italian is in English, including the sales help.

Here at DR.com, cf. the Intrepid Traveler and info for Florence. I recommend a web site w a link there for Divina Cucina. If she's not gone back to San Francisco for the holidays, she might be able to give you a lesson in situ.

Otherwise, a few recommendations: Go to egullet.org and in the Italian regional forum look for now dormant threads that being "Cooking and Cuisine of _____________" then specify a region in Italy. Look for Tuscany. You'll find some information at the beginning regarding local specialties, including links to various helpful web sites such as Mario Batali's (containing write-ups on individual regions and prized ingredients) or Italian regional web sites that offer English translations.

The reason I mention this is that you can't expect to find much national range of the kinds of foods you'll be able to take out of the country. With the exception of perhaps the things you already know about, such as Parm-Reg, most of the stuff in Florence should be local, though the city is less parochial than others in Tuscany. I can't think of any good aged Tuscan cheeses off the top of my head since the area is best known for younger pecorinos and you're better off w Parm-Reg, some good dried pasta from Southern Italy, dried porcini, and maybe some jars of chestnut honey, oil-packed tuna, farro and such that you can pick up cheap at Essalunga--the big one in the Oltrarno. If dairy products are hard to come by in Africa, consider the little boxes of lungha conservativa panna (heavy cream that does not require refrigeration)--it's surprisingly good and great for making sauces w your dried porcini and Parm.

Also look for fennel salami--if you can take it with you. And the train schedule to Bologna in Emilia-Romagna where your choices will be superior; it's only an hour away. Just ask for tastes of everything.

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I vague remember reading in an Ina Garten cookbook about a recipe for a french pumpkin soup. I think the caveat was that french pumpkins are very different than American baking pumpkins and that butternut squash would be a better substitute. Maybe you could do the reverse and use a french pumpkin in your squash recipe?
I hope the selection has improved since I was on a study abroad program oh, um, about 20 years ago. Our Thanksgiving dinner was memorable, but mostly for the vast differences in what we were served and what we were used to having at home. Fortunately, I wasn't the [un]lucky one that wound up with the turkey neck :P . Pumpkin pie was a no-go I think... ask.com shows tarte a la citrouille as the translation for pumpkin pie. Other sites state that the potiron has a cylindrical stem; the citrouille has 5 angular sides. Maybe this helps:

citrouille n. f. = Cucurbita pepo = pumpkin

potiron n. m. = Cucurbita maxima = winter squash

Good luck!!

Here's a little Thanksgiving linguistic humor courtesy of Art Buchwald. Kilometres Deboutish - :blink:

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Keep in mind that most "pumpkin pie" served in the good ol' US of A, on T'giving and other times, is actually butternut squash and other similar squash (e.g. Dickinson), not pumpkin. In fact, pumpkin rarely makes a good pie, outside the skilled hands of the Zora's of the world, but even she apparently recommends squash.

FWIW, here's an interesting link. http://tomclothier.hort.net/page27.html

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