An interesting and innovative way to learn a language can be through cooking. Food is intricately linked to culture, history and tradition. Challenge yourself to learn more about cuisines from around the world and step out of your comfort zone. Reading a French recipe is a great way to challenge yourself and learn new vocabulary. Don’t just limit yourself to just French cuisine either, try something from Belgium, Côte d’Ivoire, or Madagascar. French is the official language of 29 countries, so just think about how many new dishes you can try. To get you started, here are 5 recipe ideas, and a little bit about their origin. 

  1. The Republic of CongoPoulet à la Moambe 
    • This is considered the national dish of Congo. In English it would be roughly translated to “chicken in red oil.” This dish is also popular in countries such as Angola and Gabon. It’s a savoury dish, so it can be best served with rice, and a side of vegetables like plantains or spinach.
  2. BelgiumMoules Frites 
    • Perhaps you’ve had this dish before, or seen it on a menu. Moules frites, or mussels and fries as it would be called in English, is an extremely popular dish which originated in Belgium. It’s so popular that between 25-30 tonnes of moules are consumed for this dish in Belgium, every year. If you live near a good fishmonger, this is a relatively easy dish to make at home. 
  3. Switzerland Raclette 
    • If you like cheese, this one’s for you. Raclette is a delicious and simple dish made out of a cheese, fittingly named raclette. The cheese is heated on a traditional machine that uses fire, and then the melted cheese is scraped off and enjoyed with potatoes, gherkins, small vegetables or cold meats. If you’re at home, you can melt the cheese yourself using a pan or a table-top grill. 
  4. CameroonNdolé
    • Considered to be the national dish of Cameroon, ndolé is a stew made out of spinach and bitter leaves (ndoleh) and is typically flavored with garlic, crayfish and fish, shrimp, or beef. If you have a green thumb you could even plant your own bitter leaves to use in the stew. We would recommend ndolé for those cold winter months. It’s rich and filling flavour makes it the perfect comfort food dish. 
  5. FranceRatatouille 
    • Naturally, if we’re talking about French cuisine, we had to mention ratatouille. A French Provençal dish made from stewed vegetables that often consists of garlic, courgette, aubergine, onion, and carrots. This dish is served hot, and is perfect for vegetarian or vegan guests as well.  Bonus points if you watch Ratatouille, the film in French while you make this dish.