Chinois vs. China Cap



It’s all Greek to us, and all Chinese to the French. 

When an English speaker doesn’t understand jargon being used he says, “It’s all Greek to me”.  The French would say “C’est du chinois”.  Chinois means Chinese. 

A chinois also happens to be a handy utensil for finely straining soups and the like.  The chinois has a similar kitchen counterpart called a china cap that is also used for straining, but to a coarser texture. 

So, we have in the kitchen a chinoise and a china cap.  Both presumably named for their cone shape reminiscent of the conical hat associated with Asia.  The mystery, however, is why the French named version has a finer strainer than the English named one.  Did the names come from one origin and diverge?  Or are the similar names a coincidence?

This has remained a mystery to me for a while.  If you have any leads on this story let me know!


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