“Why Are Americans Obsessed With Entrées?”

The menus in the US have an unusually large focus on entrées. It was annoying when all we wanted was a main, and we weren’t interested in entrées.

The supermarkets often devote a rather big section just to entrées. Larger than I would have thought was necessary.

Entrées section at Walmart

That’s a shitload of entrées.

I didn’t get it.

What’s with the big entrée love, America?

I mean, they’re a nice way to start the meal sometimes, but come on.

Embarrassingly, it took a few months before I worked it out. Months before a distant memory of a being told about a difference in terminology by someone years ago came to the surface of my brain, which prompted me to go looking for the answer.

Entrée does not mean the same thing here as it does in Australia.

American entrée is Australian main, Australian entrée is American Appetizer, and….ah fuck it. Here’s an infographic instead:

Infographic explaining Entrées confusion

It turns out that most countries apart from the US and parts of Canada use the french meaning of the word, referring to the dish served before the main course. I’m not certain how it came to be used as a term for the main course in the US (I suspect they did it to confuse foreign visitors for shits and giggles), but it took me a while to catch on.

There I was thinking Americans just love appetizers way too much.

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I am an Aussie currently enjoying my time as a non-resident legal alien in the US. You can find me on Facebook and I have also just started lurking around Twitter and Instagram. Come lurk with me!


  1. I’m American, so I was really confused at the beginning of this post. Well, I learned something I never knew before! “Entree” means “Appetizer” in Australia. I live in Malaysia and here, “Appetizer” just means “Appetizer.” It’s all food, so it’s all good in my book!

  2. I’m not going to lie to you: we have disgustingly large appetizer portions, too. It’s the American way. And I, for one, ain’t mad. Give me ALL the buffalo wings 😉

    Nah, for real, that’s a super interesting difference. I never would have thought about it.

    You’re my fave! Mwah!

  3. This is so funny!! I was always super confused on why entrees where so big and it also took me forever to understand that Entrees are not the same thing as in the rest of the world. I felt the same way as you! Oh, America… they surprise with something randomly illogical everyday.

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