French 'Chou' ('Cabbage') Can be Served Raw, Creamed, Stuffed or Baked

A love of vegetables like 'chou' is one reason the French rarely get fat

Chou, pronounced "shoo," means "cabbage" in the literal sense, "darling" in the figurative sense as a term of endearment.

As a vegetable, chou can be served grated raw in a salad, boiled then creamed with bacon bits, stuffed with milk-soaked bread, sausage, eggs, vegetables and herbs or baked in a cabbage galette with herbs and lardons (hearty French smoked bacon). But, really, the options are only limited by the culinary imagination of France's talented regional and restaurant cooks.

The use of 'chou' as a term of endearment may derive from the pretty, frilly, green, slightly delicate Savoy cabbage that the French have a certain affection for.

Examples of Usage

On va manger du chou. > We're going to eat some cabbage.

Salade de chou rouge est un excellent example de la cuisine minceur de Michel Guérard. > Red cabbage salad is an excellent example of [chef] Michel Guérard's slimming cuisine.

Ça va mon [petit] chou ? > How are you, my darling (my sweet)?

Related Words

There are a number of related words with chou as their root, for example:

  • un chouchou > darling, pet 
  • chouchouter (informal) > to pamper, coddle 
  • la choucroute > sauerkraut (brine-marinated cabbage)
  • les choux de Bruxelles > Brussels sprouts


être dans les choux (informel) > to be screwed up, lost, in trouble 

faire chou blanc > to draw a blank, to lead nowhere

C'est chou vert et vert chou. > It's green cabbage and cabbage green.

[meaning, roughly: It's the same either way.]

Additional Resources

French terms of endearment

Food in French


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ThoughtCo. "French 'Chou' ('Cabbage') Can be Served Raw, Creamed, Stuffed or Baked." ThoughtCo, Feb. 26, 2018, ThoughtCo. (2018, February 26). French 'Chou' ('Cabbage') Can be Served Raw, Creamed, Stuffed or Baked. Retrieved from ThoughtCo. "French 'Chou' ('Cabbage') Can be Served Raw, Creamed, Stuffed or Baked." ThoughtCo. (accessed March 19, 2018).