Are you playing Scrabble again? Come on, no foreign words.

Could you be thinking of the word bâtonnet, which literally means small stick in French? In the language of food, it has several meanings – a loaf of bread that is shorter than a baguette, a vegetable or a pastry that is shaped more or less like a stubby stick, and vegetables that are cut into small sticks. Occasionally we’ve also seen it simply as bâton.

But is there a difference between a bâtonnet and a julienne? (Would we ask if there weren’t?) Indeed, the difference is so great, there is another category that fits in between them. A bâtonnet is the largest cut – 1/4 of an inch by 1/4 and 1-1/2 to 2 inches long. Next is the alumette, literally a “matchstick,” that is 1/8th of an inch on the sides and 1-1/2 to 2 inches long. Finally, the tiny julienne is 1/16th of an inch on the sides and the same length as the others.

Pretty humbling, isn’t it, to realize that all the years we thought we were cutting juliennes, we were really cutting alumettes or, worse, bâtonnets? Shocking!