Yes, another food thread.
Yesterday I had lunch in the Petit Blanc in Oxford, part of the estimable Raymond Blanc's stable. I had what the menu called grey mullet on a bed of ratatouille. Now, I personally think of (and indeed cook) ratatouille as a mixture of slow-cooked vegetables (typically aubergines (US eggplant), tomatoes, courgettes (US zucchini), peppers, onions, etc) such that by the time it's cooked the flavours have intermingled and the components are pleasantly soft and nicely combined. This ratatouille, though very palatable, was more like what I'd call a salsa: the chopped peppers, tomatoes etc were at most al dente, and there was a spicy chiliness which I don't usually associate with ratatouille.
The charming French waiter told us that this was his first day, and I didn't feel cruel enough to subject him to such a quibble. I went home to rootle in reference books. But I was discombobulated to find that our 1961 Larouisse Gastronomique contains no entry for ratatouille at all. I'm only sonewhat comforted by the entry in the online Trésor de la Langue Française Informatisé (acknowledgements to Raymond's post in the Beignets thread), which says, in part:

"Synon. ragoût. 'On aurait pu lui servir la ratatouille la mieux accommodée, son estomac se barrait, ses dents molles refusaient de mâcher' (ZOLA, Assommoir, 1877)"
I'd be interested to learn what others understand by the word ratatouille.

Katy Jennison
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Yes, another food thread. Yesterday I had lunch in the Petit Blanc in Oxford, part of the estimable Raymond Blanc's ... chiliness which I don't usually associate with ratatouille. I'd be interested to learn what others understand by the word ratatouille.

It was an oft-prepared dish at home when I were a lad. My understanding of it is precisely as you describe. I understand some recipes do not use tomatoes, but that was always a key ingredient IME.
Yes, another food thread. Yesterday I had lunch in the Petit Blanc in Oxford, part of the estimable Raymond Blanc's ... such that by the time it's cooked the flavours have intermingled and the components are pleasantly soft and nicely combined.

My wife has been known to prepare the dish (which we pronounce ratta-TOO-ey, of course), and her version is essentially as you describe. The rest of your post does nothing to dissuade me that you and she are both correct.

Bob Lieblich
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The charming French waiter told us that this was his first day, and I didn't feel cruel enough to subject him to such a quibble.

You still falling for that one? Think back to all the times you've had service problems and the waitperson has told you it was their first day
I'd be interested to learn what others understand by the word ratatouille.

I think of 'Chanson d'Amour' rat-ta-tatouille

John Dean
Oxford
Yes, another food thread. Yesterday I had lunch in the Petit Blanc in Oxford, part of the estimable Raymond Blanc's ... tomatoes etc were at most al dente, and there was a spicy chiliness which I don't usually associate with ratatouille.

Your definition sounds just the same as mine.
What they served sounds more like what I'd call tapenade if it were French, or bruschetta if it were Italian.

Chris Green
I'd be interested to learn what others understand by the word ratatouille.

My understanding chimes with yours (cross-thread alert: this Taurean is still doing it today). Sounds fishy to me: perhaps the discrepancy has something to do with LPB now being owned by Loch Fyne...

Laura
(emulate St. George for email)
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I'd be interested to learn what others understand by the word ratatouille.

My understanding chimes with yours (cross-thread alert: this Taurean is still doing it today). Sounds fishy to me: perhaps the discrepancy has something to do with LPB now being owned by Loch Fyne...

Laura
(emulate St. George for email)
I'd be interested to learn what others understand by the word ratatouille.

I think of 'Chanson d'Amour' rat-ta-tatouille

If that hadn't set off a very irritating bout of STS, I would have applauded...

Laura
(emulate St. George for email)
Yes, another food thread. Yesterday I had lunch in the ... a spicy chiliness which I don't usually associate with ratatouille.

Your definition sounds just the same as mine.

And mine.
What they served sounds more like what I'd call tapenade if it were French, or bruschetta if it were Italian.

Surely bread is an essential component of bruschetta?

Mike Barnes
Cheshire, England
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