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A Short Glossary Of Cooking Terms

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Old 11-03-2005, 04:29 PM   #1
Bewitchin' in the kitchen
mauvaisroux's Avatar
Join Date: Feb 2002
Location: Canada
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Arrow A Short Glossary Of Cooking Terms

(work in progress - will add to this over time)


A la carte
Menu items are priced separately. Opposite of Menu Pre-Fixe (fixed price)

A La Provencale
Prepared/served with garlic and oil.

Adobo Sauce
Adobo is a tangy sauce whose basic ingredients include vinegar, soy sauce, garlic, pepper and chiles. It is also a cooking style and is used in preparations with pork, chicken, fish and vegetables.

Al Dente
An Italian expression indicating the correct degree of tenderness for pasta, which must be removed from the heat and drained while it is still firm enough to bite into. The term literally means "to the tooth" and can also be used to describe the degree of firmness for certain vegetables, such as green beans and carrots.

Food or beverage served before the first course of luncheon or dinner.

Small ridged pasta noodles that resemble harmonicas.

Au Jus
Served with natural juices.

To cook over the embers or coals of an open fire. To roast meat slowly either whole or cut in pieces, on a spit or rack over coals or direct heat, usually basting with a special highly seasoned sauce.

To cover poultry or game with thin slices of bacon when roasting to inject flavour and preserve juices.

To ladle drippings over a piece of meat being cooked as a roast to make it juicy and prevent dryness.

Meat or fish coated on both sides with Cajun spices. Then cooked in a red-hot cast-iron skillet
with butter.

To put food in boiling water to remove skin.

To combine two or more ingredients until smooth.To mix all ingredients thoroughly until smooth & uniform.

Boiling Point
The temperature reached when a mixture maintains a full bubbling motion on its surface.

A clear brown stock made either by boiling meat with water and seasonings, or from commercially prepared bouillon cubes.

Bouquet Garni
A bunch of herbs, usually thyme, bay leaf and parsley tied together with a string (or in a cheesecloth bag with a string attached). The seasonings are dropped into soups or stews to enhance flavour but removed before serving.

To simmer food in a covered dish or pan, using both heat and liquid to tenderize and cook the item.

C - D

To preserve food in metal or glass containers.


An appetizer of toasted bread or crackers covered with a flavourful garnish.

To cook sweet potatoes or carrots in sugar or syrup. Also the process of cooking fruit, fruit peels,
or ginger in heavy syrup until they are plump and transparent.


Heat sugar until it liquefies and becomes a clear syrup ranging in color from golden to dark
brown. Granulated or brown sugar can also be sprinkled on top of food and placed under a heat
source, such as a broiler, until the sugar melts and caramelizes. To melt dry sugars or foods
containing sugar until golden brown or flavorful

China Cap

Shaped like a dunce hat with holes. A china cap is a cone shaped colander.

To clear a liquid or fat by removing any solid particles. Butter is clarified by being melted and
strained down to an oil form. To make a liquid clear by removing any cloudiness.

The process of beating fat and sugar together to blend them uniformly and to incorporate air

To cut into dice-shaped pieces. Also to tenderize meat by pounding cuts into a pattern of squares.

A slowly cooked French stew of meat or fish braised in wine and stock with vegetables and herbs.

To mix or unify to ingredient with the addition of liquid.

To pierce pastry dough before baking to allow steam to escape and prevent blistering of the

To coat with flour, sugar, bread crumbs or other finely divided food by sprinkling or by rolling the
food in them.

Finely chopped mushrooms that are cooked in butter with shallots and wine. Duxelle are also
flavored with fresh herbs and brandy or Madeira.

E - F

Cut fine, or sliced thin.

En Papillote

Food wrapped, cooked and served in oiled or buttered paper or foil.

En Tasse

An item which is served in a cup.


A mother sauce. Basic brown sauce.



Fine Herbs

A combination seasoning comprised of chives, chervil, tarragon and parsley. Sometimes listed on
a menu in the French term “herbes fines”

To break into small pieces with a fork.


Setting food on fire using an alcohol based ingredient like a cognac or brandy. Take precautions
with dealing with the flames and watch how much alcohol you use as the flames can be harmful.


Caramelized custard.


To mix, using a motion beginning vertically down through the mixture, continuing across the
bottom of the bowl and ending with an upward and over movement

To scrape meat and fat from bones of meat, generally associated with lamb chops or veal rib

G - H


To decorate a dish with an item to improve its look


Glazed, iced, or frosted to cover with a glossy coating. Also a term used for candied cherries.


To coat with icing, a thin jelly or a sugared syrup mixture.


To rub a solid food against a rough surface (a grater), to reduce it to small particles. Usually, food
grated is transformed into very thin strips or to powder.


To rub or wear into small particles, by rubbing on the rough surface of a grater.


To apply cooking fat to the surface of pans, pot etc. to prevent food from sticking.


Meaning to hashed or minced.

Haricots Verts

Tiny green string beans


To break up fat globules into small particles, generally referring to milk.

I - J

To cool down cooked food by placing in ice; also, to spread frosting on a cake.


Liquid derived from steeping herbs, spices etc.


Made in the Italian style and generally using some sort of pasta.


A dry mixture of various spices such as chilies, thyme, garlic, onions, and cinnamon or cloves
used to season meats such as chicken or pork.


To cut food into matchstick sized pieces. Often used for vegetables in salad etc.


Natural meat juice.

K - L


To work dough with the heels of your hands in a pressing and folding motion until it becomes
smooth and elastic.


Food prepared according to Orthodox Jewish Law.

Kosher Meat

Meat sold within 48 hours after being butchered in accordance to Hebrew religious laws. The style of Jewish dietary cooking.


Adds moisture to meat by inserting bits of fat into holes punched in the meat with a special instrument called a larding needle. It can also mean to cover meat or fish with strips of fat.


A cut of meat that typically comes from the back of the animal.

M - N


To soak a fruit in a liqueur or wine. This softens the fruit while releasing its juices and absorbing
the macerating liquid's flavour.


To gently swirl one food into another.

Enhancing and tenderizing the flavor of foods (generally meats) by immersing them in seasoned
liquid. Acids such as lemon juice, vinegar and wine are essential for the tenderizing.


To cut or chop into very small pieces. To finely chop.


To slowly heat wine or cider with spices and sugar.


The term refers to the region's cooking, characterized by the use of tomatoes, garlic, olive oil, and
brown-black olives.


Flat ribbon pasta made from flour, water and egg, then dried and re-hydrated for serving by
boiling in water.

O - P


A vegetable pod used mainly in gumbos and soups and served as a vegetable

Pan Broiling

To cook in an uncovered skillet where the fat is poured off during cooking.

Pastry Cream

A thick custard sauce containing eggs and starch.

Pastry Flour

A weak flour used for pastries and cookies.


Generally a sauce that is sharp and tart to the taste


To cook an egg without its shell in or over boiling water.

A thick soup.

A Food that has been cooked until it's pulpy.

Q - R

A meat dumpling generally made with chicken or veal


A small shallow baking dish in which foods can be baked and served in


To take a dried food such as milk back to its original state by adding liquid.


Boiling a liquid down to bring out its flavour. You could reduce a beef stock to a beef jelly by boiling it down.


To melt down fat to make drippings.


Means roast.


A thickening agent used for sauces. Similar effects as cornstarch.

S - T


To quickly heat meat or vegetables in fat in an open pan. To cook food quickly in a small amount
of oil in a skillet or sauté pan over direct heat.


Let food become solid.


A white, tasteless, solid fat that has been formulated for baking or deep-frying.


To cut or tear into long narrow strips, either by hand or by using a grater or food processor.

To cook in water on very low fire below the boiling point


To soak in a hot liquid to extract flavor and color or to soften.


Made by simmering fish, chicken or meat bones in water with added seasonings and then strained to obtain only the liquid which is later used for soups and gravies. Can be done with vegetables for a vegetarian stock.

French word for cup.

To reduce a mixture's thickness with the addition of more liquid.

To cause a rising and falling action for the purpose of blending ingredients together as in salads.

To bind or fasten with string or skewers such as preparing poultry for roasting.

Beef tenderloin baked in a rich dough until the meat is slightly rare and the crust is crisp and golden.


A liquid which separates from the curd when milk curdles, and is often used in cheese making.

To incorporate air into ingredients such as cream or egg whites by beating until light and fluffy; also refers to the utensil used for this action.

To beat with a whisk until well mixed.

Yorkshire Pudding

A batter made with flour, eggs, salt, and milk that is baked with standing rib roast.


Thin brightly coloured outer part of the rind of citrus fruits.

Medium-sized, tubular pasta shape that is perfect for chunky sauces and meat dishes
We are cups, constantly and quietly being filled.
The trick is, knowing how to tip ourselves over
and let the beautiful stuff out. - Ray Bradbury

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