It’s hard to avoid French words when you’re composing a menu. After all, the word “menu” itself is French! Menus, by far, top my list of favorite places to find editing opportunities.
We were out for lunch this weekend, and the menu was professionally done. I was hard pressed to find an error. We ordered our meals, and the server took the menus away. We settled in for an uneventful lunch. And then, it happened: I spied the dessert menu hiding behind the ketchup. I picked it up and — voilà! My patience was rewarded with the error du jour.
The term “à la mode” means, literally, “according to the fashion.” I’m not sure when it started to mean “with ice cream,” but that’s how most Americans now relate to the term.
“Al a mode,” on the other hand, simply serves to validate the French opinion of Americans.
In short, if you use foreign words to be à la mode, be sure to use them correctly.