chicken cordon bleu

Does anyone have any idea why a chicken cordon bleu is called that? I found a crapload of recipes, none of which contained bleu cheese, which I would have expected, though I saw everything else from gruyere to cheddar to provolone to some crap Emeril likes that I’ve never heard of. I looked it up on babelfish, which said that cordon bleu means cordon-bleu cook. Not satisfied I went nuts and looked up the words individually. I really go the extra mile here. So, I found that bleu means blue. Figuring that cordon must be some tautology referring to a french cook, I was stunned to discover that cordon actually translates to cord. More baffled than ever now, I dwell on my sandwich. It certainly had chicken. I think the cheese in this one (at Little Wing) was Gruyere. There was some ham, and it was grilled. Nothing blue about it. Nor was it corded, served with cords, and it didn’t contain cords of any kind. So, I’m looking for help. Thank you for your support.

4 Replies to “chicken cordon bleu”

  1. “Cordon bleu” refers to a famous french cookery school (started at the end of the 19th century I think, which now has branches all over the world where you can learn “classic” French cooking)

    The cordon bit is probably better translated as ribbon or sash and I think that the symbol for the school has a medal and blue ribbon.

    My nan did a Cordon Bleu cooking course in london after WWII and it was basic French style cooking. Somewhere along the line I suspect that dishes taught in this method got given the name “Cordon Blue”…like the chicken dish you had.


  2. My fuzzy recollection of high school French has me thinking that “cordon bleu” does translate roughly to “blue ribbon”. I have no idea of this pre-dates the cordon bleu culinary school, but I seem to remember that paintings could be awarded “cordon bleu”, etc – which indicates to me that it might be a more general “award-winning” title.

  3. Baffling indeed. The good part with it comes only in eating it. lol

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