Japanese people have a long standing tradition of adapting words from other languages when a Japanese word or term doesn’t exist for something. The language most often borrowed from is English, but other languages are freely raided too. Often, the original meaning of the word changes quite a bit (see this post on my personal blog about the use of one such word, “mansion”) which can be confusing for the non-Japanese speaker. Another problem is that the pronounciation can change to something unrecognizable, since the word is transposed to the Japanese phonetic system.
Besides reading Japanese cookbooks and food magazines, I’ve been really into browsing around Japanese food sites and blogs recently, and I kept running across this word in recipes - aamondo puudoru (アーモンドプードル). I knew the aamondo part was Almond, but the puudoru part…poodle? After some surfing around, I found out that puudoru is actually poudre, or powder in French. I guess it’s not surprising that this phrase was borrowed from French rather than English, since as far as Western-style sweets and desserts are concerned French patisserie is considered to be the best in Japan. (It’s confusing in any case, since the Almond part is from English and the Poudre part is from French… why not puudoru damando or just plain aamondo paudaa?)
Still, for a while there I had visions of puffy, beige poodles made of almonds…marzipan maybe, or even some light round almond cakes put together. Maybe something to work on some day…