The term “nouvelle cuisine” (French for “new cuisine") was popularized in the 1960s and was characterized by an attractive food display of small portions. “Nouvelle Cuisine is French for ‘not enough food’” is a food joke that has been cited in print since at least 1985. Other humorous food definitions were added since at least 1998, such as “Continental breakfast, n.: English for ‘not enough food.’”
Similar jokes include “‘Buffet’ is a French word that means ‘get up and get it yourself’” and “‘Latte’ is French for ‘you paid too much for that coffee.‘“
Wikipedia: Nouvelle cuisine
Nouvelle cuisine (French, “new cuisine") is an approach to cooking and food presentation. In contrast to cuisine classique, an older form of haute cuisine, nouvelle cuisine is characterized by lighter, more delicate dishes and an increased emphasis on presentation. It was popularized in the 1960s by the food critics André Gayot, Henri Gault, and Christian Millau in a new restaurant guide, Le Nouveau Guide.
16 January 1985, Boston (MA) Globe, “I was just thinking...” by Mike Barnicle, pg. 19:
Nouvelle Cuisine is French for “not enough food.”
Google Groups: rec.arts.disney.parks
My favorite comment on this is still “Nouvelle Cuisine” = French for “Not enough food”
Google Groups: alt.2d
Nouvelle cuisine, n.: French for “not enough food”.
Continental breakfast, n.: English for “not enough food”.
Tapas, n.: Spanish for “not enough food”.
Dim Sum, n.: Chinese for more food than you’ve ever seen in your entire life.
Pittsburgh (PA) Post-Gazette
‘Aphrodite: A Memoir of the Senses’ by Isabel Allende
Women In Love - With Themselves
Sunday, May 24, 1998
By Elizabeth Bennett
Allende, who was born in Peru and now lives in California, is a woman with strong appetites and equally strong opinions, and she is expresses them with panache:
On nouvelle cuisine: “It gives the deplorable impression that there was not enough food to go around.”
The Wordsmith’s Forge
Date: August 1st, 2011 08:47 am
Nouvelle cuisine, n.:
French for “not enough food”.
Continental breakfast, n.:
English for “not enough food”.
Spanish for “not enough food”.
Dim Sum, n.:
Chinese for more food than you’ve ever seen in your entire life.