Most of us have heard of Roast Beef au jus. Au jus is that flavorful brown liquid that is served on the side delicious for dunking our beef sandwich into, or drizzled over our steak. As a French cooking term, au jus literally means with the (natural, unthickened) juice (of the meat in question). This jus is made from combining beef broth with pan drippings, and sometimes with a touch of wine. In America, au jus can just be used to describe a light sauce, but in French cooking, it is more precise. The jus is more liquid than gravy and is often used as a base for gravy. It is spooned over the meat before serving making the meat more succulent. Are you drooling yet?
You may think of me as being a little (or very) fussy about this, but when you ask the waiter for; “More au jus with my sandwich, please”, you are actually being redundant because the “au” loosely translated in this context means, “with”. So it is more accurate to leave the “au” out and say, “more jus, please.”
This gets me onto some other redundancies in food culture. One of my pet peeves is “please pass the salsa sauce.” Salsa means sauce in Spanish, so you are really saying, “Please pass the sauce sauce” when “Please pass the salsa” is sufficient. Another one to be careful of when in France is French onion soup. You’re already in France. The onions and the soup are made in France so adding the “French” to onion soup is rather redundant.
And last of all are French fries. In France they just say frites. Again, it’s a given that they are French, which they truly aren’t because frites are originally from Belgium. Which make me think that some “frites au jus” just might make a tasty dish.