Glossaryof Culinary Terms

A La, Au, Aux - French terms meaning "served with" or "served in the manner of".

Abalone - A mollusk, related to a sea snail, similar in flavor to a clam. It may be cooked by various methods and is best suited to very long or very short cooking times. Also called "Awabi" in Japanese cuisine and "Loco" in South American cuisine. It has been over-harvested and is very expensive when available. A small amount is being commercially raised.

Aboyeur - Expediter or announcer; a station in the brigade system. The aboyeur accepts orders from the dining room, relays them to the appropriate stations of the kitchen, and checks each plate before it leaves the kitchen.

Achar - Very spice relish from the cuisine of India and the Caribbean Islands. Achar may be made from fruits and vegetables.

Acid - A substance having a sour or sharp flavor. Most foods are somewhat acidic. Foods generally referred to as "acids" include citrus juice, vinegar, and wine. A substance's degree of acidity is measured on the pH scale; acids have a pH of less than 7. Acidulated Water - A mixture of water and a small amount of vinegar or lemon juice, used to purify or prevent discoloration in meats and vegetables.

Adobado - Paste or sauce made from chilies, vinegar, and other seasonings. Used as a seasoning for meats.

Adulterated Food - Food that has been contaminated to the point that it is considered unfit for human consumption.

Adzuki Beans - Small reddish brown beans.

Aeriate - To pass dry ingredients through a fine-mesh sifter so large pieces can be removed. The process also incorporates air to make ingredients like flour, lighter. Sifting dry ingredients aerates them while distributing small amounts of chemical leaveners or dry seasoning evenly through the mixture. Use sifters, sieves or tamis to both aeriate and sift.

Agar - A vegetable gelatin made from various kinds of algae or seaweed. The algae are collected, bleached and dried. Then the gelatin substance is extracted with water and made into flakes, granules, powder or strips which are brittle when dry. Primarily used as a thickening agent.

Agnolotti - A small half-moon shaped ravioli.

Aiguillette - Long, thin slices of poultry breast or some other meats.

Ail - French word for "garlic".

Aioli - A cold egg and oil emulsion with olive oil and garlic. Many variations of this sauce are made. See the definition under rouille.

Aji - Aji (singular form) is what the Peruvians call chile peppers. The species in particular is Capsicumb accatum.

Ajo - Spanish word for "garlic".

Al Carbon - Spanish term for a dish relating to grilled or containing meat.

Ala - Literal translation "in the manner of."

Ala Carte - Literal translation "in the manner of the bill of fare." Used to describe a meal in which each dish selected is paid for separately.

Ala Grecqua - Meaning "in the Greek manner." The term describes vegetables cooked in a mixture of oil and vinegar, or lemon juice, with seasoning added. Serve cold or chilled.

Ala Mode - Literal translation "in the fashion of." In American cookery it describes cake, pie, pudding or any other dessert topped with a scoop of ice cream. In French cooking it describes beef pot roast, larded with fat, braised with vegetables and simmered in a sauce.

Albumen - The major protein in egg whites.

Al Dente - A term, meaning "to the bite", used to describe the correct degree of doneness for pasta and vegetables. This is not exactly a procedure, but a sensory evaluation for deciding when the food is finished cooking. Pasta should retain a slight resistance when biting into it, but should not have a firm center.

Al Forno - Italian term describing a dish cooked in the oven.

Al Pastor - A term used in Spanish and Italian referring to a dish cooked in the style of shepherd cooking, usually over a grill or spit

Alfredo - A pasta sauce originally consisting of butter, cream, and the finest parmesan cheese available. Modern versions add garlic, peas, and less expensive parmesan. All of these will make fine sauces, but nothing can compare to the original version.

Alkalai - A substance that tests at higher than 7 on the pH scale, Alkalis are sometimes described as having a slightly soapy flavor. Olives and baking soda are some of the few alkaline foods.

Allemande - A velouté sauce (usually veal), cream and lemon juice

Allemande - A Liaison of eggs and cream with possibly a little lemon juice

Allspice - The dried, unripe berry of a small tree. It is available ground or in seed form, & used in a variety of dishes such as pickles, casseroles, cakes & puddings. Also known as Jamaica Pepper.

Allumette - Potatoes, cut into pieces the size and shape of matchsticks, 1/8 inch x 1/8 inch x 1 to 2 inches

Almond Paste - A sweet paste made from finely ground blanched almonds mixed with powdered sugar and enough glucose or syrup to bind it together.

Älplermagronen - Swiss specialty of macaroni, potatoes, onions, cheese, cream.

Alum - The astringent effect of this chemical makes it useful in home-pickling to give crispness to cucumbers, melon rinds, onions, green beans, and other foods.

Amandine - A French term for any dish with almonds. Alternate spelling is almandine.

Amchoor - Sour, unripe mangoes that are dried and sold in slices and powder. Its primary use is in Indian cooking, giving foods a sweet/sour flavor.

Amino Acid - The basic molecular component of proteins, one of the essential dietary components.

Anchoiade - A dip made of pureed anchovies mixed with garlic and olive oil. Raw vegetables and bread are served with this dip.

Anaerobic bacteria - Bacteria that does not require oxygen to function.

Andouille - A sausage made from the stomach and the intestines of pork. The sausage is dried and smoked, then boiled or steamed to finish cooking. Andouille sausage is used regularly in Creole cooking, but it is popular in French cooking as well. The Creole version of this sausage is much spicier than those made in France.

Andouilette- Smaller version of Andouille

Angel Food Cake - A type of sponge cake made with egg whites that are beaten until stiff.

Angelica - Licorice flavored stalks from these plants are candied and used primarily in pastry making. Angelica is also used to flavor liqueurs.

Anna potatoes- The name for a potato style pancake made of thin slices of potato which are assembled in concentric circles and cooked with liberal amounts of butter. The cake is then baked until crisp and golden brown.

Annatto -Seed (Achoite) A vegetable dye widely used in coloring cheese, especially Cheddars, and to a lesser extent, Butter. And Margarine

Achiote Paste- This paste is used as a food coloring and a spice (very mild pepper flavor) in cuisine from Latin America and Southeast Asia.

Antipasto - The Italian word for snacks served before a meal. These are dishes to peak one's appetite, not quench it. This may consist of one or more dishes of all types of food. Common elements of an antipasto table are cured meats and salamis, olives, marinated vegetables, and cheese.

Aperitif - An alcoholic beverage taken before a meal to stimulate the appetite.

Appareil - A prepared mixture of ingredients used alone or as an ingredient in another preparation.

Aquaculture - The cultivation or farm-raising of fish or shellfish.

Aristology - n. (Greek. dinner + -logy.) The science of dining.

Arrowroot - This is a starch similar in appearance and qualities as cornstarch.

Arroz - Spanish term for "rice".

Artichoke - A name shared by three unrelated plants: the globe artichoke, Jerusalem artichoke and Chinese (or Japanese) artichoke. Considered the true artichoke, the globe artichoke is cultivated mainly in California's mid-coastal region. It is the bud of a large plant from the thistle family and has tough, petal shaped leaves. They are available year-round, with the peak season March through May. Buy them when deep green, they will be heavy for their size artichokes with a tight leaf formation.

Asafetida - A spice used in India and the Middle East for cooking or as a condiment to be sprinkled over food after it has been cooked. It has a bitter taste and a pungent aroma similar to garlic and truffles.

Aspic - A jelly made from stock, fumet, wine, or fruit juices used to form and mold foods. These preparations are often elaborately decorated for use on buffets. Both savory and sweet foods can be set in aspic. Cubes of aspic are a common garnish to fine pâtés and foie gras.

Attelet - Kitchen accessory in the shape of a long pin, or a little skewer with a top in the shape of an ornament such as an eagle or a flower.

Au Jus - Describes meat served in its own natural juices, not with gravy.

Au Lait - Describes a beverage, such as coffee, made or served with milk.

Au Naturel - In culinary French this term describes food prepared or cooked to resemble its natural state as much as possible, or in other words, food plainly done.

Aubergine - The French word for eggplant.

Aurore - This is a term associated with sauces that have tomato puree or Concassé added to it.


Baba - A small cake made from enriched yeast dough, often flavored with candied fruits, and soaked with a rumor Kirsch syrup after baking. This dough is also used to make the larger savarin.

Baekenhofe - An Alsatian stew made of pork, lamb, and beef layered with potatoes and onions. The meat is first marinated in wine and herbs for a minimum of 24 hours, then assembled and baked in a, paste sealed, casserole until the meat is buttery tender. The juices are reduced and the top is browned under the broiler. Crisp bacon and fried leeks are used to garnish this dish.

Bagel - Chewy bread with a hole in the middle - round and 3-4 inches in diameter. The origin is Russian-Jewish. Can come with many types of toppings on it. The dough is boiled, and then baked with toppings such as onion, garlic, poppy seeds etc. Flavors can also be kneaded into the dough. On the East Coast it is usually used as a breakfast bread but can also be used as a sandwich bread.

Bagna Cauda - Meaning "warm bath", this is a dip made of anchovies, olive oil, and garlic. Unlike the French Anchoiade, this is served warm and is not emulsified. Bread and raw vegetables are served with this dip.

Bain Marie - Simply a water bath. It consists of placing a container of food in a large, shallow pan of warm water, which surrounds the food with gentle heat. The food can be cooked in this manner, either in an oven, or on top of a range. This technique is designed to cook delicate dishes such as custards, sauces and savory mousses without breaking or curdling them. It can also be used to keep foods warm.

Bake Blind - To partially or completely bake an unfilled pastry crust.

Baked Alaska - A dessert comprised of sponge cake topped with ice cream and covered with meringue. The dessert is then placed in a hot oven to brown the meringue before the ice cream can melt.

Baking Powder - A chemical leavener made with an acidic ingredient and an alkaline one; most commonly these are sodium bicarbonate (baking soda) and cream of tartar. When exposed to liquid, it produces a carbon dioxide gas, which will leaven dough's and batters .Double-acting baking powder contains ingredients that produce two leavening reactions, one upon exposure to liquid, the second when heat is applied.

Baking Soda - A leavening agent which is used as an essential ingredient in baking powder. When used alone as a leavener, recipes must include some type of acid to neutralize the resulting sodium carbonate in the finished product. Buttermilk, yogurt, sour cream, and citrus juice are adequate acids to use. One may also use baking soda to help neutralize the acid in recipes that call for large amounts of fruit.

Baklava - A very sweet dessert made of layers of flaky pastry filled with a mixture of ground nuts and sugar. The pastry is sliced, baked, and brushed with honey syrup flavored with lemon or rosewater.

Ballotine - A Pate‚-like dish in which forcemeat is stuffed back into the boneless carcass from which the forcemeat was made. This may include fish, poultry, game birds, or even some cuts of meat. The mixture is wrapped in Cheesecloth and then poached or braised. This style of dish may be served hot or cold.

Balsamic Vinegar - A wonderfully fragrant vinegar made from the juice of Trebbiano grapes. The juice is then heated and aged in wooden barrels, evaporating the liquid and concentrating in flavor. The resulting vinegar is deep rich brown with a sweet and sour flavor. Well aged balsamic vinegars are very costly, some reaching an astronomical $200 an ounce. Most balsamic vinegars found in the US are not "aceto balsamico tradizionale", but un-aged balsamic vinegar. These vinegars lack in body and flavor that the well-aged balsamic vinegars possess, yet have a fair sweet and sour balance of flavor not found in any other vinegar.

Bangers - British colloquial terminology for sausages. "Bangers and Mash" will be sausages and mashed potatoes. “Toad in the Hole " will be Sausages cooked in a Yorkshire Pudding Batter

Bannock - Originally applied to bread, this term loosely describes any large round scone or biscuit the size of a dinner plate.

Bap - An oval-shaped white bread roll served for breakfast.

Barding - The practice of wrapping lean cuts of meat to be with thin slices of back fat. The alternative to this is larding, in which long strips of fat are inserted into the cut of meat to keep it moist during cooking.

Baron - A narrow strip of, carrot, turnip, or other firm vegetable.

Barquette - A small oval shaped pastry shell with either sweet or savory fillings.

Basquaise - Food prepared in the style of Basque which often includes tomatoes and sweet or hot red peppers.

Baste - To brush or spoon food as it cooks with melted fat or the cooking juices from the dish. Basting prevents foods from drying out and adds color and flavor.

Baton / Batonnet - Items cut into pieces somewhat larger than allumette or julienne; 1/4 inch x 1/4 inch x 2 to 2 1/2 inches is the standard. Translated to English as "stick" or "small stick."

Batter - A mixture of flour and liquid, with sometimes the inclusion of other ingredients. Batters will vary in thickness but are generally semi-liquid and thinner than dough's. Used in such preparations as cakes, quick breads, pancakes, and crepes.

Baumè Scale - See hydrometer

Bavarian Cream - A cream made with pastry cream lightened with whipped cream and stabilized with gelatin. This cream may then be poured into molds, or used as a filling for cakes or pastries. Bavarian cream is often flavored with fruit purees or alcohol.

Bearnaise - This is the most notable of all the hollandaise sauce variations. It is made with a wine and vinegar reduction flavored with tarragon. This sauce makes a good companion to grilled meats and fish. Whisked to introduce air into a mixture with the aid of a wooden spoon, whisk, or electric mixer in order to achieve a light, fluffy texture.

Béchamel Sauce - This is a white sauce made with milk or cream and thickened with a roux. Béchamel sauce (A Grand or Mother Sauce is used as a base "for other secondary - more complex sauces, though it can be used alone for binding or moistening.

Beetroot - Called beet in US. The red, succulent root of a biennial plant (Beta vulgaris).Often dressed with vinegar and served cold and sliced, but can also be served hot and is the basis of one of the most well-known borscht.

Beignet - A French term for a type of doughnut. Dough or batter is deep fried and dusted w/sugar or glazed with flavored syrup.

Belle Helene - Best known as the name of a dessert with poached pears, ice cream, and chocolate sauce. It is also a term used in French cookery as a name for a garnish to grilled meat dishes.

Bench Proof - In yeast dough production, it is the rising stage that occurs after the dough is formed and molded, just before baking.

Benne Seeds - An African term for sesame seeds.

Belle-Helene - This is best known as the name of a dessert with poached pears, ice cream, and chocolate sauce. This is also used in French cookery as a name for a garnish to grilled meat dishes.

Bermuda Onion - A large sweet onion with many regional names. Can also be known as Spanish onion, and possibly 1015 onion.

Beurre Blanc - (Stratification) An emulsified sauce made usually of a wine or vinegar reduction blended with softened butter. This may be flavored in many ways, for fish, vegetables, and poultry dishes. This is a very tricky sauce and does not hold for long periods of time. Because of this, modern versions add a touch of cream (Stabilized Stratification) to stabilize the sauce for longer periods of time.

Beurre Manie - A mixture of flour and whole butter is kneaded to a smooth paste. This is then used in small quantities to adjust the thickness of sauces and stews. The sauce must then be cooked for a period of time, to remove the starchy taste of the flour. An Egg and Cream (Allemande) liaison is used to finish the sauce off, to mask any raw starch flavor possibly still present.

Beurre Noir - "Black butter." Butter that has been cooked to a very dark deep brown; a sauce made with browned butter, vinegar, chopped parsley, and capers. It is usually served with fish.

Beurre Noisette - "Hazelnut butter" or "brown butter." White butter that has been heated until browned.

Beurre Rouge - Red Butter - This is an emulsified sauce usually made from butter with Shallots, and Red wine.

Binder - An ingredient or apparel used to thicken a sauce or hold together another mixture of ingredients.

Biscotti - Dry Italian cookies flavored with almonds, chocolate, or anise seed, used for dunking in coffee and sweet dessert wine.

Bisque - A rich shellfish soup made with the shells of the animal. The soup is enriched with cream and Cognac and garnished with pieces of the shell fish meat. This name is also used to describe vegetable soups prepared in the same manner as shellfish bisques.

Bistella - See Pastilla for a definition.

Bivalve - A mollusk with two hinged shells. Clams, Mussels, Oysters etc.

Blanch - Moist heat technique of cooking foods in boiling water for a brief period of time. This applies primarily to vegetables so as to reduce their final cooking time. But blanching may be done to fish or meat as well.

Blancmange - A sweet, flavored cream mold set with gelatin.

Blanquette - A stew of white meats, usually veal, without any initial browning. Sauce is thickened with roux and enriched with eggs
& cream.

Blend - To amalgamate ingredients of different textures to a smooth texture by mixing them with spoon, beater or liquidizer.

Blind Bake- A term used in pastry in which the item is baked in advance prior to being filled with a sweet or savory mixture.

Blintz - A stuffed crepe or thin pancake. The filling is usually made of a fresh cheese or cottage cheese, and often topped with fresh fruit or fruit preserves.

Blini - A small pancake made of buckwheat flour and leavened with yeast. These pancakes are often brushed with large amounts of melted butter and served with caviar and sour cream. Other versions may be made of vegetable purees or semolina flour.

Bloom - To soften and rehydrate gelatin in warm liquid before use.

Boletus - A family of wild mushrooms known for their rich taste and meaty texture. Porcinis and cepes are two members of this family of mushroom.

Bollito Misto - An Italian stew consisting of various cuts of meat, including zampone, boiled in a rich broth with vegetables. The whole dish is served with cornichons, pickled onions and a variation of chutney called mostarda di Cremona. These are whole or large pieces of fruit cooked in a spicy mustard flavored syrup. Other common sauces are salsa verde and mayonnaise.

Bolster - A collar or shank at the point on a knife where the blade meets the handle.

Boning Knife - A thin-bladed knife used for separating raw meat from the bone; its blade is usually about 6 inches long.

Bordelaise - This is a term primarily used to describe a brown sauce that includes shallots and red wine. Some versions of this sauce include slices of bone marrow added at the end of cooking. Fish dishes with this name will be cooked with white Bordeaux wine.

Borscht - A rich soup from Eastern Europe containing beets or cabbage. Other ingredients may include potatoes, beans, meat or sausage. The best known of these soups is a cold version based on beets and served with sour cream, but hot versions are very common.

Botulism - A food-borne illness caused by toxins produced by the anaerobic bacterium, Clostridium botulinum.

Bouchee - A small round puff pastry shell used for sweet or savory fillings.

Boucher - Butcher.

Boudin - Smooth sausages of two types. Boudin blanc contains veal, pork, and chicken. Boudin noir are made with blood and rice or potatoes. The latter type are popular in European and Creole cooking.

Bouillabaisse - A rich fish stew from southern France. This was once a poor man's meal made of any fish available. Modern versions include lobster and shrimp. The broth is flavored with garlic, orange peel, fennel, and saffron. Olive oil is added to the stew and rapidly boiled to form an emulsion and blend it in the broth. The stew is served with croutons and rouille, a variation of aioli.

Bouillon - Flavorful Broth. Derived of meat - fish - or vegetables

Bound Salad - See Combination Salad

Boulanger - Baker, specifically of breads and other none sweetened dough's.

Bouquet Garni - A sachet of herbs, containing parsley, thyme, and bay leaf. Variations may include rosemary, marjoram, fennel, leeks, celery leaves, and black pepper.

Bourguignonne - Foods cooked in the style of Burgundy. This includes red wine, mushrooms, pearl onions, and bacon.

Bourride - Another fish stew from southern France. Here the broth, in which large pieces of fish are poached, is strained and thickened with aioli. The two are then served together in shallow bowls with bread or croutons.

Braise - A moist cooking method in which the main item, usually meat, is seared in fat, then simmered in stock or another liquid in a covered vessel.

Bran - The outer husk of grains such as wheat, containing a high percentage of fiber. White flours have the bran removed. Whole wheat flours may contain all or part of the bran.

Brandade - A puree of salt cod mixed with olive oil and potatoes. Another version of brandade is covered with Gruyere cheese and browned in the oven. Both are served with croutons.

Brawn - (Head Cheese) Meat or offal, frequently pickled, cooked, to a soft consistency, covered with aspic (or jelly) and left to cool and press in a mold under a heavy weight. Usually turned out, upside down, before serving.

Brazier/Brasier - A pan, designed specifically for braising, that usually has two handles and a tight fitting lid. Often is round but may be square or rectangular.

Breading Procedure - The standard procedure for coating raw or cooked foods with bread crumbs, nuts or a meal such as cornmeal, the item is first dipped in a seasoned flour and then passed through an egg wash followed by the crumbing of choice. The principle of this technique to give foods that are going to be baked - Deep fried or pan fried a coating which will not only add a flavor but a texture and protect the item from losing some of its moisture during the cooking process

Bresaola - A cured and dried beef filet from Italy with a more delicate texture but stronger flavor than that of prosciutto. A Swiss version of this is called Bundnerfleisch. This style is pressed into a rectangular shape and has a bit drier texture than bresaola. Both are served thinly sliced with bread and fruit or pickled vegetables.

Bridie - A Scottish term applied to a semi-circular pastry.

Brigade System - The kitchen organization system instituted by Auguste Escoffier. Each position has an assigned station and well-defined tasks and responsibilities.

Brine - A salt, water, and seasonings solution used to preserve foods.

Brisket - A cut of beef from the lower forequarter, best suited for long-cooking preparations like braising. Corned beef is cured beef brisket.

Broil - A dry heat cooking method in which items are cooked by a radiant heat source placed above the food.

Broth - A flavorful, aromatic liquid made by simmering water or stock with meat, vegetables, and/or spices and herbs.

Brioche - A very rich bread with butter and eggs. Brioche is baked in many shapes though the brioche e tete is best known. The dough can be flavored with nuts or candied fruit, as well as herbs and spices. It may also be used to wrap foods like coulibiac. Slices of toasted brioche are the perfect companion to foie gras and gravad lax.

Brochette - Skewers of meat, fish, or vegetables that are grilled over a flame and simply served.

Broccolirabe - A green bitter vegetable unless harvested young. Looks like broccoli but has skinnier stalks. The leaves, stems and florets are eaten. Really good sautéed with garlic and olive oil and served over pasta. Also known as Italian Broccoli, rabe, rapini.

Brown - A procedure involving the searing of the outer services of an item such as meat so as to create a Mailard Protein Reaction inhibiting the juice flow somewhat.

Brown Stock - An amber liquid produced by simmering browned bones and meat (usually veal or beef) with vegetables and aromatics (including caramelized mirepoix).

Brunoise - A very fine dice usually applied to vegetables. 1/8 inch x 1/8 inch square.

Bruschetta - Grilled slices of bread brushed with olive oil and fresh garlic. This was the original garlic bread.

Bucatini - Long, narrow tubes of pasta usually served with a hearty meat sauce.

Buffet - A vast array of hot and cold foods, often elaborately garnished.

Bulgur - Cracked wheat made from the whole kernel that has been cooked and dried. Most commonly used in breads and tabbouleh salad.

Bumper - Similar to a turnover, but slightly larger.

Butcher - A chef or purveyor who is responsible for butchering meats, poultry, and occasionally fish. In the brigade system, the butcher may also be responsible for breading meat and fish items and other mise en place operations involving meat.

Butter - A cooking and eating fat that is made from sweet or sour cream and, by federal law, must contain a minimum of 80% butterfat. Butter absorbs odors easily and is highly susceptible to rancidity. To avoid either of these problems, store butter in the refrigerator no longer than 2 weeks.

Butter-Cultured - Cultured butter is butter churned from cultured cream (cream fraiche). Most butter produced in the U.S. before 1920 was cultured butter, but in the 20's, the U.S. Government guaranteed the sale of every pound of butter produced, so quality became a non-issue and sweet cream butter prevailed.

Buttercream - A mixture of butter, sugar, and eggs or custard; it is used to garnish cakes and pastries.

Butterfly - To split food (meat, fish, fowl) down the center, cutting almost, but not completely through. The two halves are then opened flat to resemble a butterfly.

Buttermilk - Originally a by-product of butter making, buttermilk is commercially produced by adding lactic acid culture to skimmed or partially skimmed milk.


Cabanossi - A salami-type sausage popular in Southern Europe.

Calabacita - A variety of summer squash found in Latin American and Mexican cooking.

Calamari - The Italian word for squid.

Caldo Verde - A Portuguese soup made from a veloute with sharp flavored cabbage, potatoes, chicken and vegetables and olive oil. In some regions a Sausage is then cooked in the soup.

Calzone - A half-moon shaped pizza turnover, often served with sauce over the top rather than inside.

Canape - Small open-faced sandwiches served as snacks or for lunch. They may be served hot or cold, but they are often elaborately garnished.

Cannelloni - An Italian dish made of sheets or tubes of pasta filled with meat, cheese or fish, sauced and baked au gratin. Variations of this use thin pancakes, called crespelle, which are similar to crepes and are filled and cooked in the same manner as the pasta.

Cannoli - A crisp pastry tube filled with sweetened ricotta cheese, chocolate chips, and usually candied fruit. Cinnamon and vanilla are common flavorings for this cheese mixture.

Caper - The pickled bud from the caper bush which is used in sauces and as condiments for smoked fish and nicoise salad.

Caper Berry - The larger berry that comes from the mature bud of the bush, pickled and used as a garnish which goes well with fish, White meats etc.

Capicolla - A coarse Italian pork sausage. Usually highly seasoned, this sausage is served cold, thinly sliced, as for proscuitto.

Capon - A castrated chicken that is savored for its delicate taste and texture. Once castrated, the chicken would become fattened, yielding tender, juicy flesh. This method of raising chickens is not practiced much anymore, since most chickens are butchered at a young age and still very tender.

Caponata - Best known as a spread or cold salad containing eggplant, celery, tomatoes, raisins, and pine nuts seasoned with vinegar and olive oil. Modern variations will add other vegetables such as zucchini and season it with fresh herbs.

Capsicum - A large fleshy pepper with a sweet/mild flavor. Can be orange, red, yellow, green or Purple. Also known as Bell Pepper.

Carbonara - An ultra-rich pasta sauce consisting of pancetta, eggs, and parmesan cheese. Actually less of a sauce than a preparation, hot pasta is tossed with the rendered pancetta fat, the eggs, and then the cheese. Crisp pancetta and black pepper are tossed into the

Cardinal - Fish dishes which have sauces made with lobster fumet and are garnished with lobster meat.

Cardoon - A vegetable from the artichoke family that looks like celery. Cardoons may be eaten raw or cooked and served like any vegetable.

Caramelize - To heat sugar until it liquefies and becomes a clear caramel syrup ranging in color from golden to dark brown. Fruits and vegetables with natural sugars can be caramelized by sautéing, roasting or grilling, giving them a sweeter flavor and golden glaze.

Carob - The seed from the carob tree which is dried, ground, and used primarily as a substitute for chocolate.

Carpaccio - An Italian dish, (Named after an Italian artist who always used red predominately) made of paper thin slices of beef dressed with olive oil and parmesan cheese. Slices of raw white truffles are an excellent partner to this dish.

Cassoulet - A dish from south west France consisting of white beans and an assortment of meats like confit, lamb, pork, and Toulouse sausage. The dish is enriched with large amounts of duck fat and is baked until the top which is covered with sugar and white bread crumbs is brown and crispy. Variations of this dish include seafood and lentils. This dish is very substantial and needs nothing else to be served with it but a bitter green salad to cut through the richness.

Caul Fat - The stomach lining of pork which is used in place of back fat for pates and to encase fabricated rolled meats and crepinettes.

Caviar - These are the eggs from sturgeon that have been salted and cured. Grading for caviar is determined by the size and color of the roe and the species of the sturgeon. Beluga caviar, which is the most expensive of the three major types of caviar, are dark grey in color and are the largest eggs. Ossetra caviar are light to medium brown and are smaller in size than Beluga. Sevruga caviar comes from the smallest eggs, they are also the firmest in texture and are grey in color. Pressed caviar is made of softer, lower quality
eggs and have a stronger, more fishy flavor. The expression Malossol is used to describe the amount of salt used in the initial curing process. The roe from other fish such as salmon, lumpfish, and whitefish are not considered caviars, regardless of their label. These should be addressed as roe. Caviar should be served as simply as possible. Traditional accompaniments, inspired by the Russians, are sour cream, blinis, and ice cold vodka. Lemon and minced onion are often served with caviar, their flavors will only detract from the pure delicate flavor of the caviar.

Celeriac - The root of a type of celery with a firm texture and a clean, sweet flavor of celery.

Cepes - A wild mush room of the boletus family known for their full flavor and meaty texture.

Chai - The Indian name for tea, often served with milk and sugar.

Channel - (Canelle) To create small V-shaped grooves over the surface of fruits or vegetables for decorative purposes using a canelle knife. The fruit or vegetable is then sliced, creating a decorative border on the slices.

Chanterelle - A wild mushroom with a golden color and a funnel-shaped cap. The whole mushroom is edible and is savored for its exquisite flavor and firm texture when cooked.

Chantilly - This is a name for sweetened whipped cream flavored with vanilla. The term may also be used to describe sauces that have had whipped cream folded into them. This includes both sweet and savory sauces.

Chapati - A whole wheat Indian flatbread that can be grilled or fried.

Charcuterie - The French word for the variety of pork preparations that are cured, smoked, or processed. This includes sausages, hams, pates, and rillettes. This term may also imply the shop in which these products are sold and the butchers who produce it.

Charlotte - The name for two different styles dessert. The first preparation is made of slices of bread which line a mold, which is then filled with fruit, and baked until the bread acquires a golden color and crisp texture. The second version, similar to the first, lines a mold with cake or ladies fingers and is filled with a bavarian cream. These may also be filled with whipped cream or even a fruit mousse. More elaborate versions layer the cake with jam, then slices of this cake is used to line the mold.

Charmoula - A sauce and marinade used in Middle Eastern cooking made of stewed onions flavored with vinegar, honey and a spice mixture called "rasel hanout". This is a complex spice mixture containing cinnamon, black pepper, cloves, cumin and sometimes paprika and coriander. This sauce is used on meat and fish and can even be adjusted to make a unique vinaigrette.

Chateaubriand - A thick slice of beef from the heart of the tenderloin, grilled or sautéed and simply sauced. Many restaurants claim their chateaubriand to be the head of the tenderloin, cut for two, which is roasted and carved tableside.

Chaud Froid - Meat or fish that has been poached or roasted, chilled and served cold, masked with a thick sauce and glazed with aspic. The whole preparation was once quite popular and used consistently on elaborate buffets. Modern tastes have moved away from this style of food, opting for cleaner, less adulterated flavors.

Chayote - A pear shaped squash, used in Latin American cooking, with a taste of zucchini. Chayote may be eaten raw or cooked as you would any summer squash.

Cherimoya - Also called the custard apple, this is a tropical fruit with a creamy texture and sweet pineapple flavor.

Chervil - A mild-flavored member of the parsley family, this aromatic herb has curly, dark green leaves with an elusive anise flavor. Though most chervil is cultivated for its leaves alone, the root is edible and was, in fact, enjoyed by early Greeks and Romans. Today it's available dried but has the best flavor when fresh. Both forms can be found in most supermarkets. It can be used like parsley but its delicate flavor can be diminished when boiled.

Chevre - The French word for goat, generally referring to goat's milk cheeses.

Chiboust - A custard made originally as the filling for the gâteau Saint- Honor, consisting of pastry cream lightened with Italian meringue and stabilized with gelatin.

Chicharron - Crispy fried pigskin used in Mexican cooking for salads, fillings and snacks.

Chicken-Maryland - In Australia, refers to chicken leg with both thigh and drumstick attached. In the US, refers to any parts of chicken, crumbed, browned in hot fat, baked and served with cream sauce.

Chickpeas - Cicer arietinum. Also known as garbanzo beans, ceci beans.

Chiffonade - A very fine julienne of vegetables usually associated with leafy herbs, lettuce, or greens. Literally translated from French, the term means 'made of rags'.

Chilaquiles - A family style Mexican dish of refried corn tortillas simmered in a sauce of tomatoes, chilies, and garlic. This is a highly seasoned dish, often served as a brunch or lunch dish with eggs or grilled meats.

Chinese Parsley - See Cilantro.

Chinois - French word for "Chinese". Also refers to a "China Cap", a very fine mesh, conical shaped strainer.

Chipotle - A dried and smoked jalapeño which can be found dried or reconstituted and sold in tomato sauce. These chilies are extremely hot and caution should be taken when using them in cooking.

Chive - Related to the onion and leek, this fragrant herb has slender, vivid green, hollow stems. Chives have a mild onion flavor and are available fresh year-round. They are a good source of vitamin A and also contain a fair amount of potassium and calcium.

Chocolate - A product of cocoa beans in which the chocolate liquor is mixed with cocoa butter in various proportions to produce the different varieties of chocolate. Bitter chocolate has no additional ingredients added. Other varieties of chocolate have additional cocoa butter added, along with sugar, milk, and vanilla.

Chorizo - A spicy pork sausage from all Hispanic countries, ranging in seasoning from mild and sweet to fiercely hot. Hotter versions come from areas of Spain and Portugal. Mexican versions contain a large variety of chilies and have a mealier texture and more complex flavor. Some of them even use fresh herbs giving it a green color. Portugal makes a cousin to this sausage called the linguisa, that is smoked and much hotter.

Choron - A variation of Bearnaise sauce with tomato puree or Concassé added.

Chou route - An Alsatian specialty consisting of sauerkraut that is simmered with assorted fresh and smoked meats and sausages. This is a grand dish served on huge platters so that diners may witness all of the components displayed at one time. The kraut is first washed, then seasoned with garlic, caraway seeds, and white wine. The meats are layered in the casserole with the kraut and cooked until all the meat is tender and the flavors have blended together. Pork sausages, smoked pork shanks and shoulders, and fresh pork loin are all used. A variation of this, though not actually called a choucroute, is a whole pheasant cooked in sauerkraut with champagne. There are other recipes that consist of solely fish in with the sauerkraut. This can be quite delicious if properly prepared.

Chutney - The name for a large range of sauces or relishes used in East Indian cooking. Fresh chutneys have a bright, clean flavor and are usually thin, smooth sauces. Cilantro, mint, and tamarind are common in fresh chutney. Cooked chutneys have a deeper, broader flavor.

Cider - Widely varying definition! A drink (almost) always made from pressed apples, to many people but not all it is alcoholic. US usage is typically that `cider' is not alcoholic and hard cider' is.

Cilantro- The leaf of the coriander plant. Also called Chinese/Thai/Mexican parsley, and green coriander.

Cioppino - A rich fish stew from San Francisco made with shrimp, clams, mussels, crabs, and any available fish. The broth is flavored with tomato, white wine, garlic, and chili flakes. This stew needs no other courses served but a simple green salad and a lot of sourdough bread.

Civet - A French stew usually containing game, though duck and goose are used. The meat is marinated in red wine for long periods of time, then stewed with pearl onions and bacon. The sauce was once thickened with blood, but that is a method not used much anymore.

Clafoutis - A dessert of fruit, originally cherries, covered with a thick batter and baked until puffy. The dessert can be served hot or cold.

Clarify - To remove sediment from a cloudy liquid, thereby making it clear. To clarify liquids, such as stock, egg whites and/or eggshells are commonly added and simmered for approximately 15 minutes. The egg whites attract and trap particles from the liquid. After cooling, strain the mixture through a cloth-lined sieve to remove residue. To clarify rendered fat, add a very little hot water which is the evaporated over high for about 15 minutes. The mixture should then be strained through several layers of dry cheesecloth and chilled. The resulting layer of fat should be completely clear of residue. Clarified butter is butter that has been heated slowly so that its milk solids separate and sink, and can be discarded. The resulting clear liquid can be used at a higher cooking temperature and will not go rancid as quickly as unclarified butter.

Clotted Cream - This specialty of Devonshire, England (which is why it is also known as Devon cream) is a 55% (min) milk fat product made by heating shallow pans of milk to about 82 degrees C, holding them at this temperature for about an hour and then skimming off the yellow wrinkled cream crust that forms. After cooling, the thickened cream is then removed. It can be spread on Scones or spooned a top fresh fruit or desserts. The traditional English "cream tea" consists of clotted cream and strawberry jam served with scones and tea. Clotted cream can be refrigerated, tightly covered, for up to four or five days.

Cock-a-Leekie - A thick Scottish soup made with chicken, leeks, and barley. Modern versions have lightened up this soup by using a chicken broth garnished with leeks and barley.

Cockles - common name for certain marine bivalves, related to the quahog and the razor clam. The name cockle applies especially to the common edible European species. Cockles have two hinged, heart-shaped shells with prominent ribs. The muscular, pointed foot is used for locomotion. About 200 species are known, most of them native to the tropics. The cockle, which may attain a length of up to 15 cm (6 in), lives on sand near the water's surface and feeds on tiny sea plants and animals.

Cocoa Powder - This is the dried powder formed from chocolate liquor after the cocoa butter content has been reduced. This mixture is then dried and ground into a fine powder. The Dutch processing of cocoa is treated with an alkali to give a darker appearance and a less bitter taste. Breakfast cocoa has sugar, milk solids, and other flavorings added to it.

Coconut Milk - This is not the liquid that is found in the center of coconuts, but a thick liquid made by steeping fresh grated coconut in hot water. The hot water helps to extract the fat from the coconut meat, which carries so much of this flavor.

Coeur à la Crème - Meaning "the heart of the cream", this is a soft cheese dessert where the mixture is drained in a mold to help it set. The cheese is then turned out onto a platter and served with fruit and bread.

Collard Greens - One of a variety of "greens" with a firm leaf and sharp flavor.

Colombo – A West Indian stew seasoned with a spice mixture of the same name. This is similar to curry powder, containing coriander, chilies, cinnamon, nutmeg, saffron, and garlic. The stew may contain pork, chicken, or fish. Vegetables are cooked in the stew and rice and beans are served on the side. Compote - Dried and fresh fruit cooked with sugar to a jamlike consistency, brief enough to allow the fruit to retain their individual identity.

Combination Salad - A salad that is composed of a variety of ingredients which would include items such as Poultry, Fish, Seafood, Pasta, and or Potatoes combined with a dressing, whether it be of a vinaigrette based or creamy style.

Concassé - The term for chopping a vegetable coarsely. This is used most often when referring to chopped tomatoes.

Conch - A Mollusk Gastropod - "Strombus" - Abundant in US only off Florida Keys, where it is illegal to take. Most now comes from Caribbean islands such as Turks and Caicos, Trinidad, or Honduras. One Conch steak typically weighs 1/5 to 1/3 lb approximately. These sell for prices ranging from$5.00 to $7.00 per pound. These steaks are beaten with device such as a rolling pin, (in order to tenderize) then cubed for conch salad or conch fritters.

Conchiglie - Large shell shaped pasta noodles. These are often stuffed and baked au gratin. Small shells are called conchigliette.

Confit - This is a preparation for meats in order to preserve it for long periods of time when fresh meat would become scarce. The meat is first salted to remove moisture and marinated in red wine. It is then cooked at the barest of simmers, 190 F. submerged in its fat, until the meat is buttery tender. After the meat is cooled, it is stored in crocks and covered with the fat to prevent exposure to air. The whole crock is stored to help age the meat. During this aging period the meat develops a new flavor, rather different from its original. When ready to eat, the meat can be fried in a skillet or grilled until the skin is crisp and the meat is warmed through. Duck confit was once served with potatoes, fried in the same duck fat as the confit. This practice is less popular now due to its high saturated fat content, good companions that go with confit are lentils and / or bitter green salads to balance the richness of the meat. Fatty meats such as duck, goose, and pork work best in confit. Confit is a major component in within the dish cassoulet. Sometimes it is found in use to describe vegetables which are cooked long and slowly to produce a sweetened flavor. Such as within Southern cooking techniques.

Consommé - A clarified broth used as a base for sauces and soups.

Coppa - The loin or shoulder of pork that is cured, cooked and dried. It is served thinly sliced for antipasti or on sandwiches or pizza.

Coq au Vin - A braised chicken dish flavored with red and white wine, bacon, mushrooms, and pearl onions.

Cordial - In the USA, a synonym for liqueur. Within the United Kingdom, New Zealand and Australia, a thick syrup (which may or may not contain real fruit) which is diluted to give a non-alcoholic fruit drink.

Cornflour / Cornstarch- A starch usually made from a blend of milled Chinese corn. Used to thicken sauces, etc.

Cornmeal - Ground corn (maize).

Corn Syrup - Dextrose, maltose, or glucose obtained through the process of converting starch with use of acids. The syrup is used in baking, primarily to prevent the crystallization of sugar.

Cotechino - A fresh pork sausage, with a very fine consistency and delicate flavor. It contains a small amount of ground pork rind, coteca in Italian, therefore giving its the name. It is a large sausage, about 3"X 9", which used primarily in stews and pasta e fagioli.

Coulibiac - A Russian pie / roulade, traditionally wrapped with Brioche dough and filled with alternating layers of salmon, hard cooked eggs and rice, mushroom duxelle, and vesiga. Vesiga is the spinal marrow of sturgeon and its use has all but disappeared from commercial markets. Crepes are often layered into the bottom of the pie.

Coulis - A puree of fruit or vegetables, used as a sauce or flavoring agent to other sauces or soups. As sauces, they are thinned down just enough to reach the proper consistency, but not so much as to alter the intense flavor of the puree.

Couscous - A pasta which is formed into tiny pellets through a process called palming being made from semolina (flour made from Durum wheat). The name couscous also refers to the famous Maghreb dish in which semolina or cracked wheat is steamed over a spicy lamb stew with various vegetables, chickpeas and raisins, by being placed in the perforated top part of a special pot called a couscoussiere. The cooked semolina is placed onto a large platter, with the meats and vegetables placed decoratively around. Harrissa a hot roasted pepper sauce is served as well. Diners use pieces of leavened flat bread to scoop the couscous from the platter.

Coeur e la Crème - Meaning "the heart of the cream", this is a soft cheese dessert where the mixture is drained in a mold to help it set. The cheese is then turned out onto a platter and served with fruit and bread. Alternate versions use mixtures of ricotta and cream cheese and flavored with liquor and citrus juice. This is then molded and served with a berry coulis.

Courgette - The French word for zucchini.

Court-Bouillon - A well-seasoned cooking liquor, sometimes made with broth, used to poach fish and shellfish. Court-bouillons mainly consist of wine, wine vinegar, water, herbs, sachet d'spice and onion. Truite au bleu is a perfect example of this technique.

Couscous - Small pellets (grains) of semolina flour that are steamed until tender and sauced with a rich meat, fish, or vegetable stew.

Crackling - Crispy pieces of outer skin remaining after the fat is rendered. Commonly made from pork, and it is used in salads, stuffing's, and seasonings.

Cream - This is the portion of milk that rises to the top when milk has not been homogenized. Cream is defined by its varying amounts of butterfat content. Half and half cream is a mixture of milk and cream, resulting in a butterfat content of 15 % Sour cream and light cream have a butterfat content of 18 to 20%. Heavy cream will have no less than 30% butterfat, with averages around 36%, and will go as high as 40%. Some special heavy creams can be as high as 52 % butterfat. American heavy cream is stabilized with mono and di glycerides, it also carries calcium carrageanan to add thickness

Crème Anglaise - This is a custard made of milk and eggs. It is used both as a sauce for desserts and as a base for mousses.

Crème Caramel - Like the Spanish flan, this is a baked custard that is flavored with caramel. When the dish is inverted, the caramel creates a sauce for the dessert.

Crème Fraiche - A naturally thickened fresh cream that has a sharp, tangy flavor and rich texture. This is an expensive item to buy, but a good substitute can be made by mixing heavy cream with uncultured buttermilk and allowed to stand, well covered, in a tepid place until thickened.

Crème Patissierre - This is a thick pastry cream made of milk, eggs, and flour. There are some recipes which will use all or a portion of cornstarch.

Crepe - A very thin pancake used for sweet and savory fillings.

Crepaze - A cake made of crepes layered with vegetables, cheese, or ham. The cake is then baked to blend the flavors and help set it so that it may be cut into wedges.

Crepinette - A small sausage patty wrapped in caul fat. They are filled with ground pork, veal, or poultry and fried or grilled. Some are shaped into balls. You may also use cooked meat or vegetables to flavor a forcemeat in the crepinette.

Crespelle - An Italian pancake, similar to a crepe, used in place of pasta in preparations of dishes like manicotti and canneloni.

Croquembouche - A grand dessert made up of creampuffs that are dipped in caramel and assembled into a large pyramid shape. The whole dessert is then brushed with more caramel and elaborately decorated.

Croque-Monsieur - The French version of a grilled ham and cheese sandwich with Gruyere cheese.

Croquette - A thick patty made up of cooked foods. These patties or balls are breaded and fried or sautéed. Vegetables, fish, or meat may be used in croquettes.

Crostini - Toasted bread slices which are brushed with olive oil and served with tomatoes, pumate, cheese, chicken liver mousse, bean puree, or tapenade. These are the Italian version of canapés.

Crouton - Bread that is cut into smaller pieces and toasted or fried until crisp. This includes cubes for salads and slices for soups and hors d'oeuvres.

Crudite - A selection of raw vegetables served with a dip.

Culatello - The heart of the prosciutto.

Culinary Physics - or molecular gastronomy is a subdiscipline of food science that seeks to investigate, explain and make practical use of the physical and chemical transformations of ingredients that occur while cooking, as well as the social, artistic and technical components of culinary and gastronomic phenomena in general. Molecular gastronomy is a modern style of cooking, which is practiced by both scientists and food professionals in many professional kitchens and labs and takes advantage of many technical innovations from the scientific disciplines.

Cumberland Sauce - An English sauce used for ham, game, and pâtés. The sauce is made of currant jelly mixed with lemon and orange juice and port wine.

Cure - To treat food by one of several methods for preservation purposes. Examples are smoking, pickling - in an acid base, corning - with acid and salt, and salt curing - which removes water.

Curry Powder - European Expression This is a mix of spices that we have come to know of by the Indian variations found in stores. Yet this is a mixture that is unique to every kitchen. Curry Powders may be mild with spices like cumin, fennel, and coriander; or heated up a little with chilies and pepper; or made fragrant with cinnamon and saffron. All of these are originally known as Garum Masala and all of them have distinctly different applications. Look under the definition for garammasala for more information.

Cuttlefish - A cousin to the squid, that is also prized for its ink sac as well as its flesh.


Dacquoise - A cake made of nut meringues layered with whipped cream or butter cream. The nut meringue disks are also referred to as dacquoise.

Daikon - A large oriental radish with a sweet, fresh flavor. Can be as fat as a football but is usually 2 to 3 inches in diameter. Use raw in salads, shredded as a garnish or cook in a variety of ways including stir-fry.

Dal - This is the Indian term for all varieties of dried beans, split peas, and lentils. There are many different varieties of Dal, all of which have a specific use in Indian cooking.

Dashi - A Japanese fish stock made with dried bonito and kombu seaweed. This is used for soups, sauces, and marinades.

Daube - A stew consisting of a single piece of meat such as a shoulder or joint. The meat is stewed in a rich, wine laden broth with herbs and vegetables. The broth is then thickened, reduced and served with the slices of meat and accompanying vegetables.

Dauphine - The name for little puffs made of potato puree, that are mixed with choux paste and deep fried.

Dauphinoise - The name of a potato gratin with lots of cream and garlic, all topped with Gruyere cheese.

Deep-fry - A dry alternative cooking technique which cooks food in hot fat or oil deep enough so that it is completely covered. The cleanliness and temperature of the fat is extremely important. When the fat is not hot enough, the food absorbs fat and becomes greasy. When the fat is too hot, the food burns on the exterior before it has cooked through. Fat at the correct temperature will create a golden crisp, dry exterior and moist interior. An average fat temperature for deep-frying is 375 degrees, but the temperature varies according to the food needing to be fried. Use a deep fryer, an electric fry pan or a heavy pot and a thermometer for deep frying.

Deglaze - The process of removing browned small particles of food from the bottom of a pan after sautéing, usually meat. The technique requires the removal of the excess fat from the pan, a small amount of liquid is - usually an acid based item such as wine - is added to the pan and then heated with the remaining juices and stirred to remove browned particles of food from the bottom. The resulting mixture is then reduced to concentrate the flavors and becomes the basis for a sauce.

Degorge - 1. To sprinkle vegetables with salt to eliminate water. Eggplant for example are generally salted and patted dry before cooking.

Degorge - 2. To add cornmeal to water and soak crustaceans in order that they will eliminate the sand in their shells.

Demi-Glace - A rich brown sauce comprising of 50% Espagnole sauce, which is further enriched with 50 % veal stock and wine and reduced to the original volume thus creating the required consistency. This is a very long procedure and requires constant skimming (Depouillage). There are shortened versions of this but which are quite inferior

Dessicated Coconut - Dried coconut shreds, similar to US coconut shreds. In the US, coconut is usually sold sweetened, this is not so common in other countries.

Devein - To remove the blackish-gray vein from the back of a shrimp. The vein can be removed with a special utensil called a deveiner or with the tip of a sharp knife. Small and medium shrimp are deveined purely for aesthetic purposes only. However, because the veins in large shrimp contain grit, they should always be removed.

Devon Cream - Please refer to Clotted Cream

Dice - To cut food into tiny cubes between 1/8 inch to 1/4-inch square.

Digestive Biscuits - A whole meal biscuit (cookie) with a honey taste. Broken into tint pieces, can be as a substituted for graham cracker crumbs,

Dijonnaise - This is a name given to dishes that contain mustard or are served with a sauce that contains mustard.

Dim Sum - A selection of small dishes served for snacks and luncheon in China. Dishes of this nature will include a wide selection of fried and steamed dumplings, as well as various other sweet and savory items.

Ditalini - Short pasta tubes.

Dolma - A cold hors d'oeuvre made of grape leaves stuffed with cooked rice, lamb, and fine diced onion. Marinated with olive oil and lemon. Vegetarian versions of this are also made.

Donax - type of Clam.

Dredge - an action that lightly coats food that is going to be pan fried or sautéed, with a fine film of flour, or cornstarch. The coating helps to brown the food and provides a crisp surface. Foods need to be cooked immediately, to avoid the coating becoming soggy. Foods that are to have a final coating of breadcrumbs, cornmeal or cereal flakes etc., will be dredge in flour first, then egg wash and finally the final coating of either bread crumbs, cornmeal, cereal flakes etc.. All foods prepared in this manner must not be held for any length of time prior to the cooking process.

Duchess - The name for potato puree that is enriched with cream, then piped into decorative shapes and browned in the oven. They are often piped around the rim of a platter onto which a roast or whole fish may be served.

Durian - A large fruit from Southeast Asia that has a creamy, gelatinous texture and a rather nauseating smell similar to that of smelly feet. The flesh is savored by many from Southeast Asia; those that are not local find it a difficult flavor and aroma to become accustomed to.

Duxelle - Finely chopped mushrooms that are cooked in butter with shallots and wine. When cooked dry, duxelle make a good filling for omelets, fish, and meat. They may also be moistened with wine or broth and served as a sauce. Duxelle are also flavored with fresh herbs and brandy or Madeira.


Egg Threads - Lightly beaten eggs that are poured slowly into a hot broth, creating irregular shaped threads used to garnish soups.

Eggplant - A purple, vaguely egg-shaped vegetable. Called Brinjal in parts of India and Aubergine in various other countries.

Emincer - To cut fruit into thin slices, shorter than for julienne. This term is most often used when referring to meats, but it also applies to fruits and vegetables.

Empanada - A small savory pie from Spain and South America. Fillings may be made of meat, seafood, or vegetables. The fillings can be seasoned in many ways. Those from around Spain are flavored with peppers, onions, and tomatoes. Those from South America have a sweet/sour undertone from the addition of raisins and green olives. Crusts may be made from bread dough or flaky dough like pate brisee and puff pastry.

Emulsify - To bind together two liquid ingredients that normally do not combine smoothly, such as water and fat. Slowly add one ingredient to the other while mixing rapidly. This action disperses tiny droplets (colloids) of one liquid in the other. Mayonnaise and vinaigrettes are emulsions. 3 styles of emulsion are possible -- Unstable or temporary --Semi Stable and Stable.

Entrecote - A steak cut from the rib section of beef. It is boneless and has a very thin layer of fat. Though steaks cut from the loin ends of the rib are a finer quality steak, the whole rib may be used for entrecote. The term is sometimes used referring to a strip steak. This is not an accurate description. This cut of beef is called the faux-filet or contre-filet.

Escabeche - A highly seasoned marinade used to flavor and preserve food. Fish and chicken are the most common foods used for escabeche. First the meat is fried and placed in a dish large enough to hold all of the food in one layer. Then a marinade made of onions, peppers, vinegar, and spices is poured over the food while hot. The whole dish is then allowed to rest overnight and served cold. Escalope - A thinly sliced food similar to a scallopine. This may consist of meat, fish, or vegetables.

Escargot - (Snails) They can be terrestrial, freshwater or marine. Escargot is the common name for the land gastropod mollusk. The edible snails of France have a single shell that is tan and white, and 1 to 2 inches diameter.

Espagnole Sauce - This is the foundation of all of the brown sauces. A number of modifications have been made of this sauce since its conception. The sauce is now made of a rich brown veal stock thickened with a brown roux. The sauce is then simmered with a mirepoix, bouquet garni, and wine. The long, slow cooking help to purify and concentrate its flavor. It is finally strained through very fine muslin. Demi-glace and glace de viande are all structured around a fine espagnole sauce.

Essence/Extract - While the words may be used interchangeably US-UK all essences are extracts, but extracts are not all essences. A stock is a water extract of food. Other solvents (edible) may be oil, ethyl alcohol, as in wine or whiskey, or water. Wine and beer are vegetable or fruit stocks. A common oil extract is of cayenne pepper, used in Asian cooking (yulada). Oils and water essences are becoming popular as sauce substitutes. A common water essence is vegetable stock. A broth is more concentrated, as in beef broth, or bouillon. Beef tea is shin beef cubes and water sealed in a jar and cooked in a water bath for 12-24 hours. Most common are alcohol extracts, like vanilla. Not possible to have a water extract of vanilla (natural bean) but vanillin (chemical synth ) is water sol. There are also emulsions lemon pulp and lemon oil and purees (often made with sugar) Oils, such as orange or lemon rind (zest) oil, may be extracted by storing in sugar in sealed container. Distilled oils are not extracts or essences. Attar of rose (for perfume) is lard extracted rose petal oil.


Falafel - A Middle Eastern specialty consisting of small, deep-fried croquettes or balls made of highly spiced, ground chickpeas. They're generally tucked inside pita bread, sandwich style, but can also be served as appetizers. A yogurt or tahini-based sauce is often served with falafel.

Farfalle - Bowtie shaped pasta.

Fava Bean - This tan, rather flat bean resembles a very large lima bean. It comes in a large pod which, unless very young, is inedible. Fava beans can be purchased dried, cooked in cans and, infrequently, fresh. If you find fresh Fava beans, choose those with pods that aren't bulging with beans, which indicates age. Fava beans have a very tough skin, which should be removed by blanching before cooking. They're very popular in Mediterranean and Middle Eastern dishes. They can be cooked in a variety of ways and are often used in soups. Also called Faba bean, broad bean and horse bean.

Feija~O - Portuguese for beans, the default is black beans. Not to be confused with:

Feijoa - A waxy green fruit about 3" long. Although it is not a guava you may know it as a Pineapple Guava.

Feijoa sellowiana - is an evergreen shrub, growing to 10-16 ft. It thrives in subtropical regions but is hardy & once established will tolerate moderate frosts. They are either eaten raw (with or without the skin) or made into jellies, sauces & chutneys.

Feijoada Completa - A Brazilian dish very similar to cassoulet, made with black beans. Sausage, bacon, ham, and various cuts of pork are cooked in with the beans. The traditional accompaniments are plain white rice, cooked greens, fresh orange slices, and a very hot sauce, similar to pico de gallo, called molho carioca. Toasted cassava flour is used as a condiment, to be added by each diner. This too is a very substantial dish and needs little else to accompany it.

Fenugreek - A very hard seed grown in the Middle East, which is used as a spice. Its dominant flavor and aroma is recognizable in commercial curry powders.

Fettucine - Flat narrow pasta noodles less than wide and a bit thicker than tagliatelle.

Ficelle - The French word for string. This is a term used in cooking to describe foods that have been tied to a string and cooked in a broth. This was a practice in villages when a communal pot was used to cook food. The string was used in order to allow the owners to identify and recover their piece of meat. This is generally applied to tough cuts of meat that require long periods of cooking. Yet, some restaurants are using the term to describe a more tender cut of meat that is poached in a rich broth. Beef filet and duck breasts are two good choices for this type of preparation.

Filberts - See Hazelnuts. --- French term for Hazelnuts

Fillet - To create a fillet of fish or meat by cutting away the bones. Fish and boning knives help produce clean fillets.

Financier - A small cake or cookie that is made with ground nuts and whipped egg whites. These are soft like sponge cake, and have a rich flavor of nuts.

Fines Herbes - A mixture of chopped fresh herbs consisting of tarragon, parsley, chervil and chives. Dried herbs may also be used, but their delicacy is lost.

Finnan Haddie - The Scottish expression for smoked haddock.

Five Spice Powder - A dry spice mix used in Chinese cooking consisting of cinnamon, star anise, pepper, clove, and fennel.

Flan - This is a term that may be used to describe two different preparations. The first use of this word is describes an open top tart that is filled with pastry cream and topped with fruit. Flan is used in Spanish and Mexican cooking to describe an egg custard that is baked in a large shallow dish, and flavored with caramel. The dish is inverted when served and the excess caramel is used as a sauce for the flan. The flan may be flavored with orange, anise, cinnamon, or liqueur.

Fleuron - A small crescent shaped pastry made of puff dough that is used to garnish fish dishes and soups.

Florentine - This is used to describe foods that are cooked in the style of Florence. The word is most commonly associated with dishes containing spinach and sometimes a cream sauce. Steak cooked ala Florentine is a large T-bone steak, rubbed with olive oil and garlic, grilled and served with fresh lemon on the side.

Flour - This is the finely ground grain of wheat, corn, rice, oat, rye, or barley. Unless specified, this term refers to wheat flour. Flour is milled from a variety of wheat containing different amounts of protein. The different levels of protein give each flour unique qualities as does the balance of polysaccharides - Amylose and Amylopectin. -- All-purpose flour is the most commonly used, especially by the domestic market. This flour is milled from both hard and soft wheat's, giving it the strength needed in bread baking, but leaving it tender enough for cakes and pastries. Bread flour has a higher protein content so that it may withstand the constant expansion of the cell walls during proofing and baking. Cake flour is milled from soft wheat, thus containing a very low protein content and therefore prevents the easy development of gluten. Pastry flour has a relatively low protein content, containing just enough to help stabilize the products during leavening. Whole wheat flours are milled from the whole kernel, thus giving it a higher fiber content and a substantial protein content. Semolina is milled from hard durum wheat, being used mainly for commercial baking and pasta production.

Focaccio - An Italian flatbread made with pizza or bread dough that can be baked plain or topped with onions, zucchini, eggplant, cheese, or whatever you choose.

Foie Gras - This literally means goose liver, but the term is used to describe the fattened liver of both duck and geese. The birds are force fed a rich mixture to help expedite this process. These livers are praised for their delicate flavor and rich, buttery texture. The largest production of commercial foie gras is done in France and Israel. The US will only allow this product to be imported in a cooked stage, either canned, vacuum-sealed, or frozen. These are inferior products and will never highlight the true delicacy of foie gras. But fresh foie gras is now available from breeders in the US. These foie gras are very fine specimens, but a very high price goes along with them. Foie gras is prepared in a vast number of ways, though one should remember to keep these as simple as possible to avoid masking the flavor of this treasure.

Fold - To combine a light mixture like beaten egg whites with a much heavier mixture like whipped cream. In a large bowl, place the lighter mixture on top of the heavier one. Starting at the back of the bowl, using the edge of a rubber spatula, cut down through the middle of both mixtures, across the bottom of the bowl and up the near side. Rotate the bowl a quarter turn and repeat. This process gently combines the two mixtures.

Fondant - This is an icing made of sugar syrup and glucose, which is cooked to a specific temperature and then kneaded to a smooth, soft paste. This paste can then be colored or flavored and used as an icing for cakes and petit fours.

Fondue - There are several different types of fondue, the most notable of which is cheese

Fondue - This is a Swiss specialty in which cheese is melted with wine, eggs, and seasonings and served with bread and fresh vegetables.

Fondue Bourguignonne - is a pot of hot oil into which the diners will cook strips of meat and dip them into an array of sauces on the table. Similar to this is Fondue Chino is where the hot oil is replaced by a rich chicken or meat broth. The meat and fish too, are then cooked in this stock and dipped in sauces. The Japanese have a dish called shabu which is similar to this type of fondue. Named for the swishing sound that the meat makes in the broth, this dish is also served with vegetables and noodles in to be eaten along with the meat. A chocolate fondue is a chocolate bath, flavored with liqueur and eaten with bread and fruit, like fresh berries. These are all dishes eaten as much for their social qualities as their culinary grandeur. Their popularity in the US has diminished over the last 15 years, only being seen in ski resorts and at private dinner parties.

Fonduta - An Italian style fondue made of Fontina cheese and served over toast or polenta. Exceptional with truffles.

Fougasse - A flatbread from France that was once served sweetened with sugar and orange water. It is now more commonly seen as a bread eaten with savory dishes. In this case, the dough is brushed with olive oil and sprinkled with herbs or salt before baking.

Foyot - This is a variation of a béarnaise sauce with the addition of a well reduced meat glaze.

Frangipane - A pastry cream made of butter, eggs, flour, and finely ground almonds or macaroons. Modern versions will use a combination of cornstarch and flour. The nuts must be very finely ground for this to be successful. This type of raw cream is baked in the pastry shell or crêpe. Frangipane is also the name for a type of panada used in making forcemeats.

Fricassee - A stew prepared without the initial browning of the meat. Though chicken is the most common form of this type of stew, fish, vegetables, and other meats are prepared in this manner.

Fritter - Food that has been dipped in batter and deep fried or sautéed. These may consist of vegetables, meat, fish, shellfish, or fruit. The food may be dipped in the batter or mixed with the batter and dropped into the hot fat to form little balls. Japanese tempura fried foods are a type of fritter, though this term is not applied to it.

Frittata - An Italian open-faced omelets.

Frito Mist - An Italian mixed fried platter, similar to the Japanese tempura platter. A mixture of vegetables, meat, and fish are dipped in a light batter and quickly deep fried to prevent a saturation of grease into the food.

Fruit Pectin - A substance found naturally in fruits such as apples, quince, and all citrus fruits. Pectin's ability to gel liquids makes it a key ingredient in jelly and jam making. You can purchase pectin in powder or liquid form, or use high pectin fruits in the recipe.

Fry - To cook food (non-submerged) in hot fat or oil over moderate to high heat. There is very little difference between frying and Sautéing, although sautéing is often thought of as being faster and using less fat.

Fugu - Japanese for swellfish; globefish; blowfish; balloon fish; puffer. Fugu is caught in winter only, and it is eaten as chiri-nabe (hotpot) or fugu-sashi (raw fugu, sliced paper-thin). Only licensed fugu chefs are allowed to prepare this fish in Japan, since it contains a deadly poison.

Fumet - An aromatic broth made for use in soups and sauces. The flavor of a fumet is usually concentrated on one item, though multiple ingredients may be used. The stock is then reduced to concentrate this flavor. Fish and vegetable broths are more commonly called fumets, but meat may also be used.

Fusilli - Spiral shaped pasta. Some versions are shaped like a spring. Other versions are shaped like a twisted spiral.


Galanga - Used in Thai cooking, galanga is a rhizome similar to ginger in many ways. Tomka gai (chicken in coconut milk soup) uses galanga, chicken, green chiles, lemon grass and lime juice as well as coconut milk.

Galantine - A pate-like dish made of the skin of a small animal, most often chicken or duck, which is stuffed with a forcemeat of this animal. Additional strips of meat, blanched vegetables, and truffles are also layered with the forcemeat. This is then wrapped or tied and poached in broth. Galantine are always served cold with their aspic, where as ballontines may be hot or cold. These terms are often used interchangeably.

Galette - This is French for pancake, usually sweet, made of batters, doughs, or potatoes. Brioche-type dough or puff pastry are often used. Small short butter cookies were once also called galettes. The term has now been stretched to include preparations made of vegetables or fish. Different from a croquette, these cakes are not breaded.

Garam Masala - This is an Indian curry mixture with a more complex flavor and aroma.
The mixture is always made fresh by the cook, never purchased pre-ground. The mixture may include cumin, fennel, coriander, cardamom, cinnamon, saffron, pepper, chilies, and caraway. These spice mixtures vary greatly between cooks and different dishes. Garam Masala is also used as a condiment, being added to a dish at the end of cooking.

Garbanzo Beans - See Chickpeas. An alternative name

Gazpacho - A cold vegetable soup served throughout all of the Spanish countries. The most common version is one made with a coarse puree of fresh tomatoes flavored with vinegar and olive oil, embellished with diced raw vegetables like onions, cucumbers, and peppers. A light gazpacho is made with a puree of cucumber, and served with an array of garnishes for the diner to choose from. Roasted almonds, avocadoes, and croutons are common garnishes.

Gelatin - A protein produced from animals, used to gel liquids. It is found in granular and sheet form.

Gelato - An Italian frozen dessert, whose popularity has overwhelmed the US, is made of whole milk and eggs. This gives it richness without flavors becoming masked by the fat from cream. The flavors are very intense and the texture is soft and silky.

Genoise - A very rich sponge cake made with eggs and butter. This may be eaten as is with whipped cream or fruit, but also used as the foundation for many other cake preparations.

Ghee - The Indian name for cooking fat. Most commonly used is clarified butter made from the milk of buffaloes and yaks. In regions where milk is unobtainable, mustard and sesame oil are used.

Glace - A highly reduced stock used as an essence in flavoring sauces and enriching soups and stews. Veal glace is used for all meat preparations and stands up the best to the long reduction required. Fish and shellfish glaces are used, but their flavor can become very sharp tasting and bitter from too long of a reduction.

Gluten - Developed from the protein found in wheat flours.

Gnocchi -- 1- These are small dumplings made with flour, potatoes, and eggs. Other versions include spinach, semolina, sweet potatoes, chopped herbs, and parmesan or ricotta cheese. Once the gnocchi are made they are cooked in boiling water, and then sauced or tossed with melted butter. Some recipes call for cooking the gnocchi in broth.

Gnocchi -- 2 - is also the name of a pasta with a similar shape.

Gougere - A savory pastry made of choux paste flavored with cheese. This may be made in individual puffs or piped into a ring of puffs, which is served with a pool of sauce in the center of the ring.

Goulash - A Hungarian soup/stew made with beef and liberally seasoned with paprika. Some versions add gremolata at the very end of cooking or sprinkled over the top.

Graham Crackers - A whole meal biscuit (cookie) with honey and soda taste. Can be substituted for Digestive Biscuits but are not exactly the same thing.

Granita - A coarse fruit ice similar to sorbet, without the meringue, which is often flavored with liqueurs.

Grate - To reduce a large piece of food to coarse or fine threads by rubbing it against a rough, serrated surface, usually on a grater. A food processor, fitted with the appropriate blades, can also be used for grating. The food that is being grated should be firm. Cheese that needs to be grated can be refrigerated first for easier grating.

Gratin - Dishes cooked in the oven which forma crust on the surface. This is expedited by placing the dish under the broiler. Breadcrumbs and cheese are often sprinkled on top of these dishes to help form the crust.

Gravlax - Whole salmon fillets that have been cured with salt, sugar, and pepper, then flavored with dill. The salmon is then sliced paper thin and served with pumpernickel bread, sour cream, capers, onion, and lemon. Other spellings for this are gravadlax and gravlox.

Grecque - Foods that are prepared in the style of Greece. This is usually used for dishes with lemon, garlic, and olive oil. But the addition of tomatoes, peppers, and fennel often allows a dish to be called… la grecque.

Green Shallots - an inaccurate but occasionally used name for Scallions.

Gremolata - A mixture of chopped parsley, garlic, and lemon peel. This is added to stews at the end of their cooking time to add a pungency to the dish. Used in some recipes for Osso Bucco a la Milanese, and Hungarian goulash.

Grill - In the United Kingdom, the same as a USA broiler; in the USA, a device for cooking food over a charcoal or gas fire, outdoors.

Grind - To reduce food to small pieces by running it through a grinder. Food can be ground to different degrees, from fine to coarse.

Grissini - Italian bread sticks.

Grits - Usually a breakfast item in the US Southern region. Made from the kernel of corn. When corn has been soaked in lye and the casing has been removed it becomes Hominy. The lye is rinsed out very well and the corn is left to harden. Then the swollen hominy is ground up to the texture of tiny pellets. When boiled with water, milk and butter it becomes a cereal similar to cream of wheat. It's used as a side dish for a good old fashioned Southern breakfast. Sometimes you can make it with cheese and garlic for a casserole.

Gruyere - A moderate-fat cow's-milk cheese with a rich, sweet, nutty flavor that is prized for both out-of-hand eating and cooking. It's usually aged for 10 to 12 months and has a golden brown rind and a firm, pale-yellow interior with well-spaced medium-size holes.

Guacamole - A dip made of mashed avocadoes seasoned with onions, tomatoes, chilies, and cilantro. This is mostly eaten as a dip for fried corn chips, but it is also very good with raw vegetables. You may also use it as a filling for burritos and tacos.

Gumbo - A thick soup/stew made with meat or seafood served over plain white rice. Okra, filé powder, and roux. All methods are acceptable, and all are considered traditional. common garnishes. sprinkled on top of these dishes to help form the crust white rice. Okra, filé powder, and roux. All methods are acceptable, and all are considered traditional.


Habanera Pepper - A type of hot chili. The Scotch Bonnet Pepper is similar.

Half and Half - A mixture of half cream and half whole milk.

Hard Rolls - A sandwich type of roll that is a little crusty on the outside and soft on the inside. Can be made with poppy seeds or sesame seeds or plain. Often called a Kaiser roll.

Harissa - A spice mixture used as both a condiment and a seasoning. Harissa is a paste of chilies and garlic used to enhance North African food (and is fairly popular in other parts of the Middle East, though it is probably of Berber origin). It is fairly similar to the Indonesian sambal olek. It becomes a thick paste that is used as is in cooking or diluted with oil or stock to be used as a condiment.

Hazelnuts - A small nut with a hard, glossy shell. Also known as filberts.

Hing - Also known as asafetida, and devil's dung. A light brown resin sometimes used as a substitute for garlic and onions, or in its own right and not as a substitute for anything, it can be found in Indian groceries. Claimed properties: laxative, aphrodisiac, colic cure. A required ingredient in the Indian Tadkaa - the small amount of oil used to roast mustard seeds and similar other ingredients before adding them to the main dish.

Hoisin Sauce - A rich, dark, sweet barbecue sauce used in Chinese cooking for marinades and basting. Hoisin sauce is easily recognizable in Mu Shu pork and Peking duck. The sauce is made from soybean flour, chilies, red beans, and many other spices.

Hollandaise Sauce - This is the most basic of the egg and oil emulsified sauces. The only flavoring is fresh lemon juice. This sauce must be kept warm, as excessive heat will cause it to break. Because this is kept warm, it is not safe to keep it for long periods of time and should never be reused from another meal period.

Homogenize - To create an emulsion by reducing all the particles to the same size. The fat globules are broken down mechanically by heating them quickly and then forcing the munder extreme pressure through tiny holes of equal size until they are evenly distributed throughout the liquid. Homogenized milk and some commercial salad dressings are two examples of homogenized foods.

Horn of Plenty ( A Mushroom)- This is a wild mushroom with a hollow, funnel- shaped cap and is dark grey or black in color. Because of this, it also has the name " etrumpet de deathe " .This particular mushroom is somewhat stringy, but has a robust flavor and may be used to flavor sauces, soups, or any other mushroom preparation.

Hundreds and Thousands - Also known as sprinkles or as Nonpareils: small round balls of multicolored sugar used as toppings on cakes and desserts.

Hydrometer - A device used to measure specific gravity; it shows degrees of concentration on a scale called The Baumè Scale

Hyssop - Any of various herbs belonging to the mint family with aromatic, dark green leaves that have a slightly bitter, minty flavor. Hyssop adds intrigue to salads, fruit dishes, soups and stews. It is also used to flavor certain liquors such as Chartreuse.


Infuse - To steep an aromatic ingredient in hot liquid until the flavor has been extracted and absorbed by the liquid. Teas are infusions. Milk or cream can also be infused with flavor before being used in custards or sauces.

Infusion - An infusion is the flavor that's extracted from any ingredient such as tea leaves, herbs or fruit by steeping them in a liquid such as water, oil or vinegar.

Involtini - Thin slices of meat or fish which are stuffed and rolled. They may then be sautéed, grilled, or baked.

Jambalaya - A Creole version of paella, though more highly spiced. The only consistent ingredients among all of the jambalaya recipes are rice, tomatoes, peppers, and onions. Ingredients used for jambalaya are ham, oysters, chicken, Andouille sausage, duck,
and game birds.

Jerusalem Artichoke - A tuber, also called sunchoke, with a very firm flesh and a flavor reminiscent of globe artichokes. These are used as a vegetable, in soups, or cooked and served in salads.

Jicama - A large bulbous root vegetable with a thin brown skin and white crunchy flesh. Its sweet, nutty flavor is good both raw and cooked. It is a fair source for vitamin C and potassium.

Joint - To cut meat and poultry into large pieces at the joints using a very sharp knife.

Julienne - Foods that are cut in long, thin strips. The term is usually associated with vegetables, but may be applied to cooked meat or fish.

Jus - A rich, lightly reduced stock used as a sauce for roasted meats. Many of these are started by deglazing the dripping within a roasting pan, then that is reduced to achieve the rich flavor desired. Jus lie is one that has been slightly thickened with cornstarch or flour.


Kebab - Also spelled kabob, these are skewers of meat, fish, or vegetables grilled over a fire. All countries serve some version of this dish.

Kedgeree - A British variation of an Indian dish with rice, smoked fish, hard cooked eggs, and béchamel sauce flavored with curry. Finnan Haddie is most often used, but smoked sturgeon or salmon are excellent substitutes.

Kefir - A fermented milk drink similar to a lassi, flavored with salt or spices. Where available, kefir is made with camel's milk

Ketchup - A term derived from Asian cookery, this sauce is known to be a sweet sauce made from tomatoes. Other forms of ketchup are made from walnuts, mushrooms, and grapes.

Key Limes - Citrus fruit, about the size of golf balls, and round. The fruits are pale yellow-green; the juice is yellow and very tart, more so than standard limes. Grow in Florida, the Keys and other tropical places in the Caribbean. Used in Key Lime Pie, with egg yolks and condensed milk and in a Sunset Key with amaretto.

Kirsch - A clear brandy distilled from cherry juice and pits. In cookery, it's most prominently known as a flavorful addition to fondue and cherries jubilee.

Knead - To mix and work dough into a smooth, elastic mass. Kneading can be done either manually or by machine. By hand, kneading is done with a pressing-folding-turning action. First the dough is pressed with the heels of both hands and pushed away from the body so the dough stretches out. The dough is then folded in half, given a quarter turn, and the process is repeated. Depending on the dough, the kneading time can range anywhere from5 to 15 minutes. During kneading, the gluten strands stretch and expand, enabling dough to hold in gas bubbles formed by a leavener, which allows it to rise.

Kombu (Konbu) - A large edible seaweed used in Japanese cooking.

Kugelhopf - A yeast cake from Alsace baked in a large crown-like earthenware dish. It is similar to brioche, though less rich, and flavored with currants or golden raisins and almonds. This is mainly eaten for breakfast.

Kumquat - A very small citrus fruit with the unique quality of having a sweet skin and bitter flesh. These are used in pastry making, preserves, and chutneys.

Ladyfingers - Little, fairly dry, finger-shaped sponge cakes. "Ladies' fingers" is another name for okra.

Langouste - The French name for the spiny lobster, differentiating from Maine lobsters in that they have no claws. Langoustes are warm water crustaceans that can be found in the South Atlantic Ocean, the Mediterranean Sea, and off the coasts of South America, Australia and the West Indies.

Langoustine - The French name for Dublin prawn. These are small pink crustaceans resembling crayfish, with a taste and texture closest to lobster. Their claws are quite long but have no edible meat in them. Like the langouste, these are found in warm waters.

Larding - A technique by which thin strips of back fat, or vegetables, are inserted into a piece of meat. These strips help the meat to remand juicy during cooking. Larding with vegetables gives the meat a contrast of color plus the addition of flavor. This practice is not used as often now because of the higher quality of meat available to us.

Lasagna - Sheets of pasta which are layered with sauce and cheese and baked au gratin. Meat, fish, shellfish, and vegetables are all used as fillings for this dish. Recipes from Northern Italy are simple preparations consisting of little more than sauce and cheese. Contrary to this is lasagna al forno, filled with a rich Bolognese sauce. Southern Italian versions are more elaborate calling for the addition of sausages, mushrooms, and anything else they may have on hand.

Lassi - A frothy yogurt drink, sweet or salty, flavored with pistachios, cardamom, cumin, or rose water.

Lemonade - In the US, a drink made of lemon juice, sugar and water; in the UK, a carbonated drink that doesn't necessarily contain anything closer to a lemon than a bit of citric acid. Sprite (TM) and 7-Up (TM) are examples of what would be called lemonade in many countries.

Liaison - (Close connection or bond) The process of thickening a sauce, soup, or stew. This includes all roux's, starch and water mixtures slurries), beurre maniere‚ Panada, and egg yolks with or without cream. Egg yolks must be tempered with hot liquid before adding to the liquid in order to prevent curdling.

Linguine - Long, oval shaped pasta noodles. Hand cut versions of this are very narrow flat noodles.

Linzertorte - An Austrian pastry comprised of a short crust dough flavored with ground almonds and hazelnuts, cinnamon, and lemon zest. This is then spread with raspberry jam and topped with a cross-hatch of dough. Almond paste is sometimes layered underneath the raspberry jam. Other versions of this use fresh cranberries or apricots in the filling.

Lobster Mushroom - A wild mushroom that has a firm texture and a red and orange color like lobster shells.

Lox - Brine-cured - Dill, Lemon and Pepper flavored salmon.

Lychee - A small fruit from China and the West Indies, with a hard shell and sweet, juicy flesh. The flesh is white with a gelatinous texture and a musky, perfumed flavor.

Lyonnaise, à la - A French term for "in the manner of Lyons" Dishes include onions which have been cooked golden brown and seasoned with wine, garlic, and parsley.

Lyonnaise Sauce - A classic French sauce preparation made with sautéed onions, white wine and Demi-glace. The sauce is strained before being served with meats and sometimes poultry.


Macaire - A potato pancake made with seasoned potato puree.

Macaroon - A small round cookie that has a crisp crust and a soft interior. Many versions bought commercially have been thoroughly dried. These cookies may be made from almonds, though coconut is common in the US. The may also be flavored with coffee, chocolate, or spices. Amaretti, from Italy, are a type of macaroon.

Macedoine - A mixture of fruit or vegetables. Vegetable macedoine are cut into small dice and used as a garnish to meats. Fruit macedoine‚ are cut in larger pieces and often marinated in sugar syrup with liqueur.

Macerate - Soaking fruit or vegetables in wine, liquor, or syrup so that they may absorb these flavors. Salt and sugar macerations are used to draw excess moisture out of the food for a secondary preparation. This is done for canning, jam and preserve making, and to remove bitter flavors from vegetables.

Mache - A wild lettuce with small round leaves that may be used for salads or cooked and used as you would spinach. The taste is a little less pronounced than spinach. Mache grows wild, and can be found in the fall. It is cultivated in France, Italy, and the US from September to April.

Madeleine - A small shell shaped cookie or cake made from a rich batter similar to genoise. These may be flavored with almonds, lemon, or cinnamon.

Magret - The breast meat from a mallard or Barbary duck. These ducks are specially raised for foie gras. Their breasts are large and have a much thinner layer of fat than do the Peking or Long Island duckling.

Maitre d' Hotel Butter - (Compound) This is the most common of all the compound butters. It is flavored with lemon and chopped parsley and used to garnish fish and grilled meats. Garlic may be added, but it would then be called escargot butter.

Malanga - The word used in the Spanish-speaking parts of the Caribbean for Taro root (or a close relative of Taro.) It is prepared by either boiling and mashing like potatoes, or slicing and frying into chips. It is also used in soups as a thickening agent.

Marengo - A chicken stew made with wine, tomatoes, and garlic. The stew is served over toast, garnished with crayfish and fried eggs. The modern versions of this omit the eggs and substitute shrimp for the crayfish. Of course, other liberties have been taken with this recipe to include black olives, peppers, and veal. The dish is rumored to have been named for the dish served to General Bonaparte after his army's defeat of the Austrians in the battle of Marengo.

Margarine - A solid fat invented in 1869 by the French chemist Henri Mege- Mouries. Margarine was first invented to replace butter in cooking and baking. It was then made solely of beef fat. Margarine is now made with a variety of fats, alone or with others, along with the addition of water, whey, yellow coloring, and vitamins. Beef fat is still used today, but with a higher consciousness towards a healthier diet, it is used sparingly by many -- Margarine can pose a trans fatty acid problem within digest as well. The Color of margarine is derived mainly from Achoite

Marinate - (From the Latin -Marine - to submerge -- To soak food in a seasoned liquid mixture for a certain length of time. The purpose of marinating is to add flavor and/or tenderize the food. Due to the acidic ingredients in many marinades, foods should be marinated in glass, ceramic or stainless steel containers. Foods should also be covered and refrigerated while they are marinating. When fruits are soaked in this same manner, the process is called macerating.

Marzipan - An almond paste with the addition of egg whites. This mixture is kneaded into a smooth paste and used to wrap or layer cakes and candies. Marzipan is also shaped into figures of animals, fruits, and vegetables, and sold in pastry or candy shops.

Masa Harina - Masa is a paste made by soaking maize in lime and then grinding it up. Masa Harina is the flour made by drying and powdering masa. It is used in Mexican cooking for items such as corn tortillas. The literal meaning is "dough flour".

Mascarpone - A rich triple cream, fresh cheese from Italy with a texture resembling that of solidified whipped cream.

Matafan - A thick pancake eaten sweet as a snack, or savory as an accompaniment to cheese. They are also made with bacon, spinach, and potatoes.

Matelote - A French fish stew made with wine. The Alsatian version of this dish is made with freshwater fish, Riesling wine, and thickened with cream and egg yolks. The Normandy version includes seafood and is flavored with cider and Calvados. These stews are normally embellished with pearl onions and mushrooms.

Matjes Herring - (Bismark) A reddish herring that has been skinned and filleted before being cured in a spiced sugar-vinegar brine.

Mayonnaise - This is the mother of all of the cold egg and oil emulsified sauces. Commercial versions are made with inferior oils and are far to thick for proper utilization. A handmade version has a rich, subtle flavor and silky texture. You should always use a neutral oil or a good oil. Avoid using an extra-virgin olive oil, which will offer too strong of a flavor for most usage.

Melba - The name of a popular dessert created by Auguste Escoffier. Poached peach halves are served with vanilla ice cream and topped with fresh raspberry sauce. Named after Dame Nellie Melba, the famous opera singer when she had a severe sore throat

Menudo - A soup similar to pozole with the addition of tripe and meat broth. This, too, is served with assorted condiments for the diners to choose from.

Meringue - Whipped egg whites to which sugar has been added to form a stiff paste. These are used to lighten mousses, cakes, and pastry creams. Unsweetened versions are used to lighten forcemeats. Meringue is also baked in a very low oven, forming crisp shells which are filled with fruit or ice cream. Small dried meringue shells are called vacherin.

Mesclun - This is a mix of very young lettuces and greens. Often this mix is stretched with herb or flower sprigs and bitter greens. These greens should be dressed very lightly, with a flavorful oil and vinegar, so that their flavor will not be masked.

Mignonette - This is a term used to describe coarsely ground pepper used for au poivre preparations and in bouquet garni. This is also used to describe small round pieces of meat or poultry.

Milanese - This is used to describe foods that are dipped in egg and breadcrumbs, sometimes parmesan cheese, and fried in butter.

Mille-Feuille - Small rectangular pastries made of crisp layers of puff pastry and pastry cream. This may also include savory fillings of similar presentation. The word mille-feuille means a thousand leaves.

Mince - To cut food into very tiny pieces. Minced food is cut into smaller, finer pieces than diced food.

Mincemeat - A sweet spicy mixture of candied and fresh fruits, wine, spices, and beef fat. Earlier recipes for this used beef or venison meat and beef fat. It is used primarily as a filling for pies served during the Christmas holiday season.

Minestrone - An Italian vegetable soup with beans and pasta or rice. This may contain any number of vegetables, but for authenticity, meat is never added.

Mirepoix - A mixture of chopped onion, carrot, and celery used to flavor stocks and soups. Hamor bacon are sometimes added to a mirepoix, depending on the specific preparation.

Mirin - A non-alcoholic version of sake/rice wine. It is sweet and syrupy.

Mise en Place - A term used in professional kitchens to describe the proper planning procedure for a specific station.

Miso - A paste made from fermented soy beans. This is used in Japanese cooking for sauces and soups.

Mixed Spice - A classic mixture generally containing caraway, allspice, coriander, cumin, nutmeg & ginger, although cinnamon & other spices can be added. It is used with fruit & in cakes. (In America 'Pumpkin Pie Spice' is very similar).

Molasses - This is a syrup resulting from the crystallization of raw sugar from the sap. Additional processing results in darker and stronger tasting molasses called black strap.

Mole - An assortment of thick sauces used in Mexican cooking made of chilies. These sauces are made with one or many chilies, and flavored with cumin, coriander, cinnamon, nuts, seeds, and chocolate. Their flavor is rich, smoky, and very complex. Some recipes are made with fresh herbs and have a green color. Chicken, turkey, and pork are then simmered in this sauce.

Monosodium Glutamate - A sodium salt found in wheat, beets, and soy bean products. It is used extensively in Chinese cookery, and thought to help accentuate the flavors of certain foods. Many people suffer serious allergic reactions to this so widespread use has been reduced to the commercial food processing industry.

Morel Mushroom - This is a wild mushroom with a honeycomb cap and hollow stem. These are very dirty mushrooms and must be cleaned carefully. Morels possess a wonderful earthy flavor, making them good candidates for soups, sauces, and fillings.

Mornay Sauce - A béchamel sauce with Gruyere cheese sometimes enriched with a liaison of egg yolks and cream. It is used mainly for fish and vegetable preparations.

Mortadella - Large, lightly smoked sausages made of pork, beef, or veal. These are specialties of Bologna, which is where the US version of this sausage gets its name. Mortadella is a very smooth, pink sausage with a subtle creamy texture. They are studded with cubes of pork fat and peppercorns.

Mostarda di Cremona - These are fruits cooked and marinated in a spicy, mustard flavored syrup. It is a classic accompaniment to bollito misto. These fruits are also used in sauces for veal, and assorted stuffed pasta fillings.

Monte - (Mount) To whisk cold butter, piece by piece, into a warm sauce for smooth texture, flavor and sheen. Each piece of butter must be thoroughly incorporated before a new piece is added so that the sauce does not break (or separate into liquid and fat).

Moussaka - A layered dish of eggplant and lamb with tomatoes and onions. This is all bound with béchamel sauce and cooked au gratin.

Mousse - Sweet or savory dishes made of ingredients which are blended and folded together. These mixtures may be hot or cold, and generally contain whipped egg whites to lighten them. Cream is also used to lighten these dishes, though when used in large quantities, these preparations are called mousselines.

Mousseline - A fine puree of a raw forcemeat which has been formed into an emulsion and has the addition of cream. The product is then cooked and nominally served hot. The term can also describe a hollandaise sauce which has lightly whipped cream folded into it.

Mousseron Mushroom - A wild mushroom with an off-white to beige color. The flavor is full-bodied and the texture is fleshy like bolets.

Mulligatawny - A curried chicken soup adapted by the British from India. Originally the soup was enriched with coconut milk and embellished with almonds and apples. Newer versions make a lighter broth and flavor this with curry and coconut.


Nage - An aromatic broth in which crustaceans are cooked. The shellfish is then served with this broth. The most notable of these dishes is lobster la nage.

Nantua - A name given to dishes containing crayfish. This includes crayfish tails and sauces made with a crayfish fumet.

Napé - To completely coat food with a light, thin, even layer of sauce.

Navarin - French stew made with mutton or lamb and onions, turnips, potatoes, and herbs.

Nicoise - Foods cooked in the style of Nice. These dishes may include garlic, Nicoise olives, anchovies, tomatoes, and green beans. Salad Nicoise is the most famous of all these dishes, consisting of potatoes, olives, green beans, and vinaigrette dressing.

Noissette - A small round steak made of lamb or beef tenderloin. The name can also be applied to a small round shaped potato that is pan fried in Butter

Noisette Butter - Whole butter which has been cooked until it reaches a rich, nutty brown color and aroma.

Nori Seaweed - Thin dry sheets of seaweed used in Japanese cooking. It is mainly used to wrap sushi and as garnish for other cold presentations.

Nougat - A candy made from sugar and honey mixed with nuts. This mixture is then formed into slabs and sliced.

Nougatine - A darker candy made of caramel syrup and nuts. This is rolled into thin sheets and formed into cups or bowls to serve as a vessel for other candy or fruit.

Nuoc-Mam - This is a Vietnamese fish sauce made with fermented fish or shrimp. Another name for this is nampla.

Nutella - A commercial brand of gianduja. This is a creamy paste of chocolate and

Hazelnuts treasured in Italy. This is used in candy making, for flavored milk drinks, and when thinned out, spread on bread as a quick snack.


Oeuf - The French word for egg.

Oeuf a la Neige - Sweet meringue puffs that are poached in milk and chilled. When served, these puffs are drizzled with caramel and served with creme anglaise.

Olives - This is the edible fruit of the olive tree. Found in both green unripe) and black ripe) forms, each must undergo a process to remove the bitterness found in them. This curing process is done with brine solutions, salt curing, and drying.

Olive Oil - Olive oil has a very distinctive flavor, and has become more prominent in American cooking today. Grading of olive oils are determined by the methods of extraction and the acid content of the resulting oil. Virgin oils are those obtained from the first pressing of the olive without further refinement. The finest olive oil is extra virgin, with an acid content of 1%. Following this are superfine at 1.5%, fine at 3%, and virgin at 4%. Pure olive oils are those which have been extracted by heat. These are of 100% olive oil, but their flavor can result in a harsh, bitter after taste. Pomace olive oil is refined from the final pressings and under heat and pressure. The taste is inferior to other olive oils and should never be substituted for them. Olive oil becomes rancid very easily, more so when exposed to heat or light. Always store tightly sealed in a cool, dark place.

Opakapaka - Pink snapper. A local Hawaiian favorite, especially around the holidays.

Orzo - Small rice shaped pasta.

Osso Bucco- An Italian dish comprised of crosscut slices of the veal shank braised with vegetables, aromatics, and stock. Milanese style is served with saffron risotto and a gremolata.

Ouzo - A clear anise-flavored liqueur from Greece. It's generally mixed with water which turns it whitish and opaque.

Oyster Mushroom - A wild mushroom that grows in clusters on the side of trees. It is off-white to greyish in color and has a soft texture. These mushrooms have a very subtle flavor. They are also being cultivated in the US, making them readily available in markets and moderately priced.


Paella - A Spanish rice dish originating in the town of Valencia. There are hundreds of recipes for paella, all claiming to be authentic. The only ingredients that are necessary for paella are rice, tomatoes, and saffron. Other ingredients are chicken, chorizo, mussels, squid, peppers, and beans. More elaborate preparations include shrimp, lobster, and duck.

Paillard - A piece of meat or fish that has been pounded very thinly and grilled or sautéed.

Palmier - A cookie made of sheets of puff pastry that are rolled in sugar and folded to resemble palm leaves. These cookies are baked until the sugar becomes caramelized.

Panada - A thick paste used as a binding agent for forcemeats. Flour panadas are made in a style similar to choux paste. Other types use bread crumbs or potato puree.

Pan-bagnat - A sandwich from southern France, consisting of small round loaves of bread which have been hollowed out and filled with onions, anchovies, black olives, and tuna, then drenched in extra virgin olive oil.

Pancetta - Cured pork belly that is rolled and tied. Unlike American bacon, this is not smoked.

Panforte - A rich dense torte made of candied fruit and nuts.

Panino - The Italian word for sandwich.

Pannetone - An Italian cake made with a dough rich in egg yolks, traditionally served around Christmas time. The dough is studded with raisins, candied fruits, and occasionally pistachios.

Parboil - To boil food briefly in water, cooking it only partially. Parboiling is used for dense food like carrots and potatoes. After being parboiled, these foods can be added at the last minute to quicker-cooking ingredients. Parboiling insures that all ingredients will finish cooking at the same time. Since foods will continue to cook once they have been removed from the boiling water, they should be shocked in ice water briefly to preserve color and texture. Cooking can then be completed by sautéing or the parboiled vegetable can be added to simmering soups or stews.

Pare - To remove the thin outer layer of foods using a paring knife or a vegetable peeler.

Pasta e Fagioli - A rich bean soup with pasta, in which a large sausage (such as cotechino) has been cooked. The soup is eaten first, followed by the sausage served with mustard and bread.

Panzanella - A salad consisting of toasted cubes of bread tossed with vegetables and vinaigrette. The salad is then marinated for at least one hour. The bread should be very firm so that it will endure the soaking of dressing. Vegetables can include tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, and onions. Lots of garlic, capers, black olives, and anchovies are added to the salad.

Papaya -- See Paw Paw

Pappardelle - Wide flat pasta noodles served with rich, hearty sauces.

Pasilla Chili Pepper - Called a chilaca in its fresh form. The mature chilaca turns from dark green to dark brown. After drying (when it becomes a pasilla) it changes to a blackish-brown. It has a rich hot flavor and is generally ground and used for sauces.

Pastilla (Bistella) - A Moroccan pie made with chicken wrapped in phyllo dough. When finished cooking, the pastilla is dusted with sugar and cinnamon.

Pastry Cream - A cooked custard thickened with flour. Some versions may use cornstarch or a mixture of the two starches.

Pâté - A French term referring to pastes or pastry.

Pâté Choux - A paste used to make creampuffs, éclairs, and other more elaborate pastries. It is made by adding flour to boiling water or milk, which has been enriched with butter. Eggs are then added into the paste to leaven it. Savory pastries such as gougere may also be made with this paste.

Pâté a Foncer - A short crust pastry dough made with butter and strengthened with water. Used as a lining for meat or fish pies.

Pâté Feuilletae - A dough comprised of many alternating layers of butter and pastry. This is an extremely versatile dough though preparation of it is labor intensive and very difficult.

Pâté Brisée - A short crust pastry dough made with butter and eggs.

Pâté Sucrée - A sweet, short crust dough for tarts and tartlets.

Pâté Sablée - Another type of sweet, short crust dough.

Pâté - A term referring to many different preparations of meat, fish and vegetable pies. The definitions of which have been altered through the years. Originally pat‚ referred to a filled pastry much like American or English pies. Now the term pâté en croute is used to describe these preparations. Pâté en terrine has been shortened to either pâté or terrine. A terrine is generally a finer forcemeat than that used for pâté, and always served cold. Pâtés are coarser forcemeats and, as stated before, are often prepared in a pastry crust. These terms are interchangeably and inclusive of all styles of forcemeat. Look for definitions under Ballantine and Galantine.

Paupiette - A thin slice of meat, like a scaloppini, which is stuffed and rolled. These may also be made of fish or vegetables.

Pavlova - A dessert invented in NZ, the main ingredients being sugar and egg white. A pavlova has crisp meringue outside and soft marshmallow inside, and has approximately the dimensions of a deep dessert cake. Commonly pavlovas are topped with whipped cream and fresh fruit, especially kiwifruit, passion fruit or strawberries.

Pawpaw - (Papaya,) also persimmons in some places, or even a third fruit, Asimina triloba.

Penne - Quill-shaped pasta tubes with smooth sides. Those with ridges are called penne rigati. These are also called mostaciolli. Large quill-shaped tubes are called manicotti.

Perilla - A Japanese herb that has a dark, russet-purple dentate leaf. It has a complex sweetness, and is wonderful in meat sauces and to make vinegar

Periwinkles - These small relatives of the whelk are "Littorina littorea". Popular in Europe but not in US. Northern (New England) "winkles" are a different species from those found in the Gulf of Mexico.

Persillade - A mixture of chopped parsley and garlic, added to recipes at the end of cooking.

Pesto - A delicious composition (sauce) used for pastas, grilled meats, and poultry. This is made of fresh basil, garlic, olive oil, and parmesan cheese. Some versions will also add parsley and walnuts or pine nuts. The ingredients are ground into a paste and moistened with the olive oil. Pesto is also used to describe similar sauces that contain other herbs or nuts. Petit Four - A small cookie or cake served on elaborate buffets or at the end of a multi-course meal.

Pico de Gallo - Literally meaning "rooster's beak", this is a very hot, raw salsa made of fresh chilies, onions, and tomatoes.

Piroshki - Small Russian meat pies, like empanadas, eaten for lunch or snacks.

Pissaladiere - A southern French pizza consisting of a thick bread crust covered with cooked onions flavored with garlic. The pizza is then topped with black olives and anchovies.

Pita Bread - Flat round bread made with or without a pocket.

Poach - To cook food by gently simmering in liquid at 160 F. to 170 F. Deep poach is where the item to be cooked in this manner is totally submerged. Another technique of Poach is the shallow poach where the item is place with a flavorful cold liquid and the liquid will only come part way to the top of the item being cooked. The pan is covered with a paper cartouche and the item is then cooked to doneness - The residue liquid (cuisson) is then strained and used as the foundation (fond) for the sauce

Poblano Chili Pepper - A dark, sometimes almost black green chili pepper with a mild flavor. Best known for its use in "Chili Rellanos".

Polenta - The Italian version of cornmeal mush. Coarsely ground yellow cornmeal is cooked with stock or water and flavored with onions, garlic, and cheese. Polenta may be eaten fresh out of the pot, as a perfect accompaniment to stews. Polenta may also be poured into a greased pan and allowed to set. It is then sliced, sautéed and topped with cheese or tomato sauce. When cooked properly, polenta is a simple treasure.

Posole - A Mexican soup containing hominy served with various ingredients to be added by each diner. The base of the soup is water flavored with onions, tomatoes (or tomatillos), and herbs. Hominy is cooked into this broth and condiments include minced onion, avocado, lime wedges, oregano, queso fresco, and fried pork skin. A similar soup to this is menudo. Without the pork skin, this makes a perfect vegetarian soup.

Pot Roast - To cook meat slowly by moist heat in a covered pot. (Braise) The meat is first browned, and then braised either on top of the stove or in the oven. Pot roasting is best for tougher cuts of meat which require longer cooking times to break down connective tissue.

Poutine - French fries with cheese curds and gravy.

Praline - In French cookery this is a powder or paste made of caramelized almonds and/or hazelnuts. American cookery refers to a candy consisting of caramel and pecans.

Profiterole - A small puff made with pate choux usual filled an served as an appetizer.

Prosciutto - The Italian word for ham, usually referring to the raw cured hams of Parma. Though once very difficult to obtain in the United States due to USDA and FDA regulations, fine prosciutto's from Italy and Switzerland are now being imported. These hams are called prosciutto crudo. Cooked hams are called prosciutto cotto. Prosciutto is best when sliced paper thin served with ripe figs or wrapped around grissini.

Pumate - Italian for sun-dried tomatoes.

Puree - To grind or mash food until completely smooth. This can be done using a food processor or blender or by pressing the food through a sieve.

Puttanesca - A piquant pasta sauce made of tomatoes, onions, black olives, capers, anchovies, and chile flakes. The hot pasta is tossed in this sauce prior to serving. Some recipes leave the ingredients raw, allowing the heat of the pasta to bring out the flavors.

Pyramide Cheese - A truncated pyramid is the shape of this small French Chevre that is often coated with dark gray edible ash. The texture can range from soft to slightly crumbly and depending upon its age, in flavor from mild to sharp. It is wonderful served with crackers or bread and fruit.


Quadriller - To mark the surface of grilled or broiled food with a crisscross pattern of lines. The scorings are produced by contact with very hot single grill bars which brown the surface of the food. Very hot skewers may also be used to mark the surface.

Quahog - The American Indian name for the East Coast hard shell clam. It is also used to describe the largest of these hard shell clams. Other names used are, chowder or large clam.

Quatre-epices - A French spice mixture containing ground cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and pepper. This mixture is used to season stews and pâtes.

Quenelle - A dumpling made from fish or meat forcemeat.

Quesadilla - Originally a corn masa empanada filled with meat then deep fried. Modern versions found throughout restaurants in the US are made with flour tortillas that are filled with cheese and folded over when cooked.

Quiche - An open top pie made of eggs, milk or cream, and anything else within reach. The most famous of these is the quiche Lorraine of Alsace, made with bacon and Gruyere cheese.

Quince - This yellow-skinned fruit looks and tastes like a cross between an apple and a pear. Its texture and flavor make it better
cooked than raw. Its high pectin content make it ideal for use in jams, jellies, and preserves.

Quinoa - Pronounced (KEEN-wah). A natural whole grain grown in South America. Originally used by the Incas some 5000 years ago, it can be substituted for rice in most recipes. It is a unique grain in that it serves as a complete protein containing essential amino acids.


Radicchio - A member of the chicory family with red and white leaves. The different varieties range from mild to extremely bitter. The round Verona variety is the most common in the US. Radicchio is used most often in salads, but is quite suitable to cooked preparations.

Ragout - A French term for stew made of meat, fish, or vegetables.

Ras el Hanout - This is a powdered spice mixture, used in Arabic and north African cooking, with a sweet and pungent flavor. See the definition under Charmoula for a description of the ingredients and its applications.

Ratatouille - A vegetable stew consisting of onions, eggplant, sweet peppers, zucchini, and tomatoes flavored with garlic, herbs, and olive oil. Traditionally simmered until all of the vegetables are quite soft and the flavor has blended into one, ratatouille takes on the appearance of marmalade. Newer versions reduce the cooking time, allowing the vegetables to retain some of their original identity.

Ravioli - Stuffed pasta dough served in broth or with sauce. Reduce - To thicken or concentrate a liquid by boiling rapidly. The volume of the liquid is reduced as the water evaporates, thereby thickening the consistency and intensifying the flavor.

Remoulade - This classic French sauce is made by combining mayonnaise (usually homemade) with mustard, capers and chopped gherkins, herbs and anchovies. It's served chilled as an accompaniment to cold meat, fish and shellfish.

Rennet - An extract from the stomach of lambs and calves used in cheese making to coagulate milk. There are also rennet's obtained from vegetables such as cardoons.

Rice - To push cooked food through a perforated kitchen tool called a ricer. The resulting food looks like rice.

Rigatoni - Large pasta tubes with ridged sides.

Rijsttafel - A Dutch word, meaning "rice table". It is a Dutch version of an Indonesian meal consisting of hot rice accompanied by several (sometimes 20 or 40) small, well-seasoned side dishes of seafood's, meats, vegetables, fruits, sauces, condiments, etc.

Rillette - A coarse, highly spiced spread made of meat or poultry and always served cold. This is called potted meat because rillettes are often covered with a layer of lard and stored for a period of time to age the mixture.

Rissolè - Small pies similar to empanadas and piroshki. They are filled with meat, vegetables, or cheese and deep fried.

Risotto - An Italian preparation of rice resulting in a creamy liaison with stock and butter. This may be served as a first course, main course, or side dish and embellished with meat, seafood, cheese, or vegetables. The best known version of this dish is risotto ala Milanese, with saffron and Reggiano parmesan cheese.

Rissole - The British version of small savory pies. Roast - To oven-cook food in an uncovered pan. The food is exposed to high heat which produces a well-browned surface and seals in the juices. Reasonably tender pieces of meat or poultry should be used for roasting. Food that is going to be roasted for a long time may be barded to prevent drying out.

Rocky Mountain Oysters - Lamb or cattle testicles, breaded and deep fried.

Rosti - A Swiss potato pancake made from cooked potatoes, sometimes flavored with bacon. Cooked in a steel Rosti pan that is scored in the bottom to allow the butter to pass under the potato during the cooking time

Rouille - A thick sauce similar to aioli, made of dried chiles, garlic, and olive oil. Rouille is traditionally served with bouillabaisse and soup de poisson. Other recipes also add saffron and tomatoes.

Roux - A mixture of flour and fat used to thicken sauces, soups, and stews. Though usually made with butter, roux's are also made with bacon or poultry fats, margarine, and vegetable oil. The mixture is cooked for a brief time to remove the raw taste of the starch from the flour. Longer cooking results in a darker color, which is favorable in Creole cooking where roux's are cooked for long periods until they reach a dark brown color. Roux is classified as White, pale, blond, or brown. The darker the roux the less its capability of thickening and therefore the need to use more.


Sabayon - definition is under zabaglione.

Sable - A rich short cookies similar to shortbread.

Saffron - A spice consisting of the dried stigma of the Crocus sativus plant, originating in the eastern Mediterranean, now grown as well in Spain, France, and South America. It has a characteristic pungent aroma and flavor and bright yellow color. It is also very expensive and used sparingly. The stigma of approximately 5000 crocus will yield about 1 ounce of saffron. Saffron is indispensable in dishes such as paella and bouillabaisse. A good substitute for the yellow color is turmeric, though nothing can replace saffrons unique flavor.

Salt Cod - Cod that has been salted and dried to preserve it for long periods of time. Salt cod is evident in cuisines of the Mediterranean and Caribbean Seas. To reconstitute the fish, you must soak it in many changes of fresh water to remove the excess salt. You may then poach the fish until it is just flaking off the bone, or use it raw for other preparations.

Saltimbocca - An Italian dish comprised of thin slices of veal, rolled around ham and cheese, seasoned with sage and braised until tender.

Saltpeter - The name for potassium nitrate, which is used primarily in the meat industry to help preserve cured meats. It gives a distinctive pink color to hams and bacon. There are recent reports from the USDA that nitrates, and nitrites are carcinogenic.

Sambal Ulek (Sambal Oelek) - A paste made by crushing red chilies with a little salt. Can be made by crushing chopped deseeded chilies in a mortar with salt, or purchased at some delicatessens or Asian food stores.

Sambuca - An anise-flavored, not-to-sweet Italian liqueur which is usually served with 2 or 3 dark-roasted coffee beans floating on top.

Samoosa - An Indian snack of deep fried dumplings stuffed with curried vegetables. Most common of the fillings is potatoes or cauliflower with peas. (Bhaji) or Mutton ground and cooked with Garummasala (Kheema)

Santen/Coconut Milk - Can be bought in cans or in powdered form, or made as follows: To 2.5 cups boiling water add the grated flesh of one coconut (or 4 cups Dessicated coconut). Leave to stand 30 minutes, squeeze coconut and strain. Use within 24 hours. Known as Narial ka dooth in India, Santen in Indonesia and Malaysia.

Sashimi - A Japanese dish of raw fish, shellfish, and mollusks served with soy sauce, wasabi, and pickled vegetables. Sushi is similar but it is served with vinegared rice, and may also include nori seaweed, vegetables, and strips of cooked eggs similar to omelets. A common accompaniment to this is pickled ginger.

Satay - Also spelled sat‚ and sateh. These are pieces of meat or fish threaded onto skewers and grilled over a flame. Several variations of these are seen throughout Southeast Asia. A spicy peanut sauce is served with meat satay in Vietnam and Thailand.

Sauté - (to Jump) (Dry heat with fat) To cook food quickly in a small amount of fat or oil, until brown, in a skillet or (Sautéuse) -- sauté pan over direct heat. The sauté pan and fat must be hot before the food is added; otherwise the food will absorb oil and become soggy.

Savarin - A ring-shaped cake made of a rich yeast dough, soaked with a rum syrup, and filled with pastry or whipped cream.

Segment - To remove the flesh sections of citrus fruit from the membranes. Using a sharp knife, cut away all of the skin and pith from the outside of the fruit. Place the knife between the membrane and the flesh of one section and slice down. Turn the knife catching the middle of the fruit. Slice up removing each section sans membrane.

Scald - To dip fruits or vegetables in boiling water in order to loosen their skins and simplify peeling. The produce should be left in the water for only 30 seconds to prohibit cooking, and should be shocked in an ice water bath before the skin is removed.

Scale - To remove the scales from the skin of a fish using a dull knife or a special kitchen tool called a fish scaler.

Scallion - (Green Onion) Variety of onion with small bulbs, long stiff green leaves. Usually eaten raw. Also called spring onion, green onion.

Scampi - Another word for langoustine. This word is used loosely in the US as a description of large 15 and under shrimp, broiled with butter, lemon, and garlic.

Scone - A small, lightly sweetened pastry similar to American biscuits, often flavored with currants.

Scotch Bonnet Pepper Capsicum tetragonum. Similar to Habanera Pepper.

Scrapple - Scrapple is boiled, ground leftover pieces of pig, together with cornmeal and spices. Good scrapple, particularly served with a spicy tomato catsup, is food for the gods.

Scungilli - Also a Mollusk Gastropod - "Buccinidae" - found in more temperate waters than conch, with a darker meat and stronger flavor, perhaps less "sweet". This is more properly known as "whelk". These are generally removed from their shell and sold already steamed and ready to eat. The meat is kind of a circular meat, about 1 to 2 inches in diameter, perhaps 10 to 20 of these in a pound.

Sea Urchin - A round spiny creature found off the coasts of Europe and America. The only edible portion is the coral, usually eaten raw with fresh lemon juice.

Sear - (Dry heat) To brown meat or fish quickly (Maillard Protein Reaction) extremely high heat either in a fry pan, Searing helps seal in the food's juices and provides a crispier tasty exterior. Seared food can then be eaten rare or roasted or braised to desired degree of doneness.

Season - 1 To add flavor to foods through the addition of condiments or cooking applications or both.

Season - 2 Coat the cooking surface of a new pot or pan with a vegetable oil, then heat in a 350 degree oven for about an hour. This fills in the microscopic machine faults in the metal of the pot or pan surface, particularly cast-iron, and helps prevent foods from sticking.

Seed - To remove the seeds from fruits and vegetables.

Semifreddo - Meaning "half cold", this is gelato with whipped cream folded into it.

Semolina - A coarse or fine ground flour made from durum wheat, used in the making of pasta and bread.

Seviche (Ceviche) - A dish of Spanish origin comprising of raw fish, scallops, or shrimp marinated in citrus juices until the flesh becomes "denatured " Onions, peppers, and chiles are then added to finish the dish. Sometimes the expression “cooked by acid " is incorrectly applied to this technique

Shallots - Small pointed members of the onion family that grow in clusters something like garlic and have a mild, onion taste. Not the same as green/spring onion. Shortbread - A butter-rich cookie from Scotland, often seasoned with lemon, cinnamon, ginger, almonds, and cumin.

Shoyu - Japanese for Soy Sauce.

Shred - To cut food into thin strips. This can be done by hand or by using a grater or food processor. Cooked meat can be shredded by pulling it apart with two forks.

Sieve - To strain liquids or particles of food through a sieve or strainer. Press the solids, using a ladle or wooden spoon, into the strainer to remove as much liquid and flavor as possible.

Sift - To pass dry ingredients through a fine mesh (Tamis) - sifter so larger pieces can be removed easily. The process also incorporates air to make ingredients like flour, lighter. Which can be synonymous with the expression Aeriate.

Simmer - ( Moist technique ))To cook food in liquid over gentle heat, 185 F. to 195 F just below the boiling point, low enough so that tiny bubbles just begin to break the surface.

Skate wings - This is the edible portion of the skate. The flesh, when cooked, separates into little fingers of meat and has a distinctive rich, gelatinous texture. The taste is similar to that of scallops.

Skewer - To spear small pieces of food on long, thin, pointed rods called skewers.

Skim - To remove the scum that rises to the surface from a liquid when it is boiled. The top layer of the liquid, such as the cream from milk or the foam and fat from stock, soups or sauces, can be removed using a spoon, ladle or skimmer. Soups, stews or sauces can be chilled so that the fat coagulates on the surface and may be easily removed before reheating.

Skin - To remove the skin from food before or after cooking. Poultry, fish and game are often skinned for reasons of appearance, taste and diet.

Smoke - To expose fresh food to smoke from a wood fire for a prolonged period of time. Traditionally used for preservation purposes, smoking is now a means of giving flavor to food. Smoking tends to dry the food, kills bacteria, deepens color and gives food a smoky flavor. The duration of smoking varies from20 minutes to several days. The more widely used woods are Hickory - Mesquite - Apple - Cherry - to which aromatic essences are sometimes can be added. Smoke roast is a common expression seen on menus

Smorgasbord - A Swedish buffet of many hot and cold dishes served as hors d'oeuvres or as a full meal. Similar buffets are served throughout Scandinavia, as well as the Soviet Union. Common elements of a smorgasbord are pickled herring, marinated vegetables, smoked and cured salmon and sturgeon, and a selection of canapés.

Soba Noodle - Buckwheat noodles resembling spaghetti, used in Japanese cooking.

Soy Sauce - A condiment from Southeast Asia and Japan made from fermented soybeans. There are different varieties of soy sauce available. Darker, stronger sauces are used for cooking while lighter ones are used as sauces and seasonings. Japanese soy sauce is called shoyu.

Spatzle -This is a coarse noodle from Alsace and Germany made of flour, eggs, oil, and water. The soft dough is dropped into boiling water (with a Spatzle press or the base of a colander) and poached until cooked through. The noodle is then fried in butter or oil and served as a side dish to meat. Spatzle may also be flavored with cheese, mushrooms, and herbs.

Speck - Cured and smoked pork flank.

Spiedini - An Italian word for skewers of meat or fish grilled over a flame or under a broiler.

Spring Roll - Thin sheets of dough which are filled with meat, seafood, or vegetables and rolled into logs. Spring rolls are most often deep fried, though they may also be steamed. Chinese versions use wheat doughs, while the Vietnamese and Thai versions use a rice paper wrapper.

Squash - A family of seed vegetables. All but two have a thick, hard, usually inedible rind, rich-tasting meat, and lots of seeds. There are also things called summer squashes, which have edible rinds, milder meats, and usually fewer seeds. An example of this type is the Zucchini (Courgette)

Steam - To cook food on a rack or in steamer basket over a boiling liquid in a covered pan. Steaming retains flavor, shape, texture, and nutrients better than boiling or poaching.

Stock - A flavorful broth made from meats, fish, shellfish, and vegetables. These are used as the basis of sauce and soup making.

Strudel - Paper thin pastry rolled around sweet fillings of fruit, nuts, or cheese. Savory versions of this are similar to the Russian coulibiac.

Supreme - The skinned full breast of a chicken with the tender in tacked

Sweat - To cook vegetables in minimum fat or liquid - covered, over gentle heat so they become soft but not brown, and their juices are concentrated in the cooking liquid. The procedure will allow the ingredients to keep a certain amount of their natural moisture.

Swede - In the United States of America it is known as a Rutabaga.

Sweetbread - The culinary term for the thymus gland of an animal. Those of veal and lamb are most commonly eaten. The pancreas is also considered a sweetbread, but its taste and texture is inferior to that of the thymus gland.

Syllabub - An English dessert comprised mainly of whipped cream sweetened with sugar and flavored with sherry, brandy, or cointreau. Lemon zest, fruit preserves or puree may also be swirled into the cream.

Sugar Syrup - Differentiating from natural syrups, this term refers to a solution of sugar and water. Simple syrups are made with equal quantities of water and sugar. Heavy syrup is made with twice as much sugar as water. These types of syrups are used in making sorbets, soft drinks, and for soaking cakes.


Tabasco Sauce - A thin spicy sauce made of vinegar, red peppers, and salt, developed in America by Edmund McIlhenny at his home on Avery Island before the U.S. Civil War. The McIlhenny Company is the sole supplier of Tabasco® Pepper Sauce to this day. This sauce is more over used with Creole food, chili con carne, and eggs.

Tabbouleh - A Lebanese salad made of softened bulgur tossed with vegetables and seasoned with lemon and mint.

Tagine - A Moroccan dish named after the cooking utensil in which it has been cooked. These stews may contain poultry, fish, meat, or vegetables and are highly spiced with sweet overtones common in North African cuisine.

Taglierini - A flat ribbon pasta, narrower than tagliatelle, measuring approximately 3mmacross.

Tagliatelle - A flat ribbon pasta, narrower than Fettucine, measuring approximately 6mmacross.

Tahini - Butter A paste made from sesame seeds, used primarily in hummus and baba ganoush.

Tamari - Tamari is a type of soy sauce, usually used in Japanese food. You can easily substitute with Chinese Light Soy or regular Japanese soy sauce.

Tamarind - This is the fruit pod of trees originally from Africa, now common in Asia, India, and the West Indies. The taste is bittersweet with citrus overtones. The pulp is very sticky and difficult to work with. Common forms sold are syrups and bricks of the pulp. It is used extensively in dishes of these regions as well as in candy and drinks. Within the West Indies it has the following of a wonderful and romantic story

Tangelo - Citrus fruit cross of a tangerine and a pomelo. Larger than a mandarin and a little smaller than an average-size orange. Skin color is a bright tangerine and they mature during the late mandarin season. Mandarins, Tangerines or Oranges may be used instead.

Tapenade - A paste made from cured black olives seasoned with olive oil, garlic, anchovies, capers, lemon, and marc or cognac. This is common in Provence, where it is served with croutons and raw vegetables to dip. This also makes a good sauce for grilled meats and strong flavored fish.

Taramasalata - A Greek dip made of olive oil and Cod fish roe with the consistency similar to that of mayonnaise. American versions commonly use salmon, whitefish, or carp roe. This is served with raw vegetables and bread or croutons.

Tartare - This is a term which has several meanings. It is often used to describe the preparation of raw beef called steak tartare. Raw beef is chopped finely and served with minced onion, parsley, capers, and seasoned with anything from Worcestershire sauce to Tabasco sauce. .

Tarte Flambé - An Alsatian pizza with a thin crust topped with fresh white cheese, onions, and bacon. This is also called an Alsatian fire pie.

Tartare Sauce - describes a mayonnaise based sauce with capers, onion, hard cooked eggs, cornichons, and herbs.

Tarte Tatin - A type of tart in which the pastry is baked on top of the fruit, then inverted when finished baking. Apples are traditionally used, becoming soft and caramelized during baking.

Temper - 1. To slowly bring up the temperature of a colder ingredient by adding small amounts of a hot or boiling liquid, or even applying heat carefully Adding the heat or hot liquid gradually prevents the cool ingredient, such as eggs, from cooking or setting. The tempered mixture can then be added back to a hotter liquid for further continued cooking. This process is used most in making pastry cream and the like.

Temper - 2. - To bring chocolate to a state in which it has snap, shine and no streaks (feathers). Commercially available chocolate is already tempered but this condition changes when it is melted. Tempering is often done when the chocolate will be used for candy making or decorations. Chocolate must be tempered because it contains cocoa butter, a saturated fat which has the ability to form crystals, chocolate is melted and cooled. Dull grey streaks form and are called bloomor feathers. The classic tempering method is to melt chocolate until it is totally without lumps (semisweet chocolate melts at a temperature of 104 degrees F.) One third of the chocolate is then poured onto a marble slab then spread and worked back and forth with a metal spatula until it becomes thick and reaches a temperature of about 80 - F. The thickened chocolate is then added back to the remaining 2/3 melted chocolate and stirred. The process is repeated until the entire mixture reaches 88-92 degrees for semisweet chocolate, 84-87 degrees for milk or white chocolate.

Tenderize - To make meat more tender by pounding with a mallet, marinating for varying periods of time, or storing at lower temperatures. Fat may also be placed into a piece of meat to make it more tender during cooking.

Terasi - A kind of pungent shrimp paste, used in very small quantities. May be crushed with spices, grilled or fried before adding to other ingredients. Also known as balachan/blacan (Malaysia), kapi (Thailand) and ngapi (Burma).

Terrine - See the description under Pates.

Tiramisu - An Italian dessert which gained dramatic popularity in the US. Tiramisu consists of sponge cake, soaked with an espresso syrup and layered with a sweetened mascarpone cheese and chocolate sauce.

Toad in the Hole - An English dish consisting of pieces of meat or sausages covered with batter and baked in the oven.

Tocino - Cured ham with added color.

Tofu - Also called bean curd, this is made from processed soy beans. It comes in various degrees of firmness and is a very high source of protein.

Torta Rustica - A large pie similar to coulibiac, filled with salmon, cabbage or spinach, eggs, and mushrooms. Other versions use meat or sausage in the filling. The crust is usually made of bread dough and sprinkled with salt before using.

Tortellini - A stuffed pasta made from little rounds of dough, then twisted to form dumplings. Fillings can be made with anything and are served sauced or in a simple broth.

Tortelloni - This is a larger version of the tortellini.

Tortilla - A thin pancake made of cornmeal or flour. They are served both soft and fried, being an integral part of Mexican and Latin American cooking.

Tournedo - A slice of beef from the heart of the tenderloin, approximately 2 inches thick, and tied around the center. This term is used less often in the United States of America today, having been replaced by filet of beef or filet mignon.

Tourte - Similar to pâté en croute, these are pies made in a round shape and served cold. They are generally highly seasoned and preparations are indicative to the region they are from.

Trennette - Flat noodles, wider than Fettucine, that have one flat edge and one scalloped edge.

Tripe - The stomach of beef, pork, and sheep.

Truffle - This is a tuber of unusual flavor and aroma. It is savored in Italian and French cookery, and due to its scarcity, draws a very high price. The truffle has yet to be successfully cultivated, though a fine substitute is now being grown in California. The black truffle of Perigord and the white truffle of Piedmont are highly prized for their exceptional flavors. The black truffle requires cooking to allow the flavors to be fully achieved. Conversely, the white truffle is best when shaved directly on the dish before eating. The aroma of truffles is strong enough to permeate egg shells when the two are stored together. Due to their short growing season and large demand, truffles can reach a price of up to $800 per pound. Frozen and canned forms are more accessible, but their taste never reaches that of fresh truffles.

Truss - To secure food, usually poultry or game, with string, pins or skewers so that it maintains a compact shape during cooking. Trussing allows for easier basting during cooking.

Tuiles - Crisp, paper thin cookies named for their tile-like appearance. They are often flavored with almond slices, lemon, and vanilla.

Tumeric - A bright yellow spice used primarily in commercial curry powder. It is also used in sweet pickles and for various dishes requiring a yellow color. This is used as a coloring substitute for saffron.

Twiglets - A stick-shaped cracker-textured snack. Taste mostly of yeast extract, but also contain cheese as an ingredient. Have 4 calories each and 11.4g fat per 100g.

Tzatziki Sauce - Dipping sauce derived from yogurt, garlic, cucumber, olive oil and lemon juice. Served with calamari.

Tzimmes - Traditionally served on Rosh Hashana, this sweet Jewish dish consists of various combinations of fruits, meat and vegetables. All are flavored with honey and often with cinnamon as well. The flavors of this casserole-style dish are developed by cooking it at a very low temperature for a very long time.


Udon - Thick wheat noodles used in Japanese cooking.

Ugli - A citrus fruit hybrid between a grapefruit and a tangerine native to Jamaica. It is available around the country from Winter to Spring. It has an acid-sweet flavor and is an excellent source of vitamin C.

Unleavened - The word which describes any baked good that has no leavener, such as yeast, baking powder or baking soda.

Unsalted Butter - What it says, butter without the 1.5 - 2% added salt that `normal butter has. Often recommended for cooking. Many people prefer the taste of unsalted butter. In areas with high quality dairy products the use of unsalted butter where it is called for may not be so important, since the salt is not so likely to be covering the taste of a low-quality product.


Vacherin - A crisp, sweet meringue shell used as a serving vessel for fruit and ice cream.

Vandyke - To cut zigzags in edges of fruit and vegetables halves, usually oranges, tomatoes or lemons. The food is usually used as a garnish to decorate a dish.

Vanilla - A plant native to Mexico now common in areas throughout the West Indies and Indian Ocean. The pod is used to make extracts which we use in cooking. The whole pod may also be purchased and used as a fragrance or split and scraped to allow the tiny seeds to flavor the dish. It is generally thought of as a sweet spice, used in custards, creams, and cakes. It is also used in savory dishes with vegetables or seafood. There are also imitation vanilla flavorings using synthetically produced vanillin. These can be found in liquid and powder forms. A slave won his freedom through the discovery of pollination of the vanilla flower

Vegemite / Marmite - Not the same thing, but similar enough to not deserve separate entries. A thick brown paste made mostly from yeast extract, most commonly spread thinly on toast or sandwiches. The taste is mostly salt plus yeast. Despite the occasional rumor, neither contains any meat.

Velouté - A sauce of various stock bases thickened with a roux. This is used as a base for other more complex sauces, though it may be used alone.

Vermicelli - A very fine round noodle which means "small worms". These are thinner than spaghetti and thicker than angel's hair.

Vichyssoise - A chilled soup of potatoes and leeks. Other versions now use zucchini, apples, and carrots.

Victual - Food or other provisions.

Vinaigrette - A sauce commonly used to dress salads, comprised of oil and vinegar. Emulsified vinaigrettes use egg and/or mustard to stabilize the dressing. Other combinations using acids other than vinegar, such as wine or citrus juice, are also called vinaigrettes.

Vitello Tonnato - Thinly sliced roast or braised veal, served cold with a creamy, piquant tuna sauce. This combination may sound a bit unusual, but is surprisingly delicious.

Vol-au-Vent - A large round pastry case which is filled with a sauced mixture of meat, seafood, or vegetables then topped with a pastry lid.


Wasabi - Called Japanese horseradish, this is a root that is dried and ground to a fine powder. This powder is then reconstituted and used for dipping sauce with soy sauce when eating sushi and sashimi.

Water Bath -The French call this cooking technique Bain Marie. It consists of placing a container of food in a large, shallow pan of warm water, which surrounds the food with consistent gentle heat. The food may be cooked in this manner either in an oven or on top of a range. This technique is designed to cook delicate dishes such as custards, sauces and savory mousses without breaking or curdling them. It can also be used to keep foods warm. The principle is that the water in the water bath must come to the level of the product being cooked within the container.

Waterzooi - A rich Flemish stew from Ghent in Belgium made with fish and assorted vegetables. The sauce is enriched with a liaison of cream and egg yolks. Further inland and away from the coast chicken is used in place of the fish.

Welsh Rarebit - Often confused as Welsh rabbit, this is a cheese sauce made with ale and seasoned with dry mustard, black pepper, and Worcestershire sauce. This is traditionally served over toast, with or without crumbled bacon. It is also a good variation of fondue and goes well with beer and ale.

Whelk - A small marine snail. Whelks are poached and served hot or cold.

Whip - To beat ingredients such as egg whites or cream until light and fluffy. Air is incorporated into the ingredients as they are whipped, increasing their volume until they are light and fluffy.

Whipping Cream - In USA, cream with at least 30% butterfat. Whisk - To beat ingredients together until smooth, using a kitchen tool called a whisk.

Wiener Schnitzel - Thin slices of veal or pork breaded and fried in butter. Traditional garnishes are lemon butter, anchovies and capers.

Worcestershire Sauce - A condiment developed in England from flavors discovered in India. It is used as a sauce, a seasoning, and a condiment. It is made of a very odd assortment of ingredients including anchovies, tamarind, vinegar, molasses, and cloves.


Xanthan Gum - Produced from the fermentation of corn sugar. It is most commonly used as a stabilizer, emulsifier and thickener in foods such as yogurt, sour cream and salad dressings.

XXX, XXXX, 10X - An indicator on a box of confectioners sugar of how many times it has been ground. The higher the number of X's means the finer the grind.


Yakitori - A Japanese dish of grilled chicken skewers. They may also include vegetables, chicken livers, or ginkgo nuts. They are first marinated in teriyaki sauce, a sweetened version of soy sauce with the addition of sake, honey, and ginger.

Yeast - A fungus used in the production of bread and beer. Yeast, in the environment of sugar, produces carbon dioxide and alcohol. This process is called fermentation. Bread yeast comes in dry granulated and fresh cakes. A new form of yeast, called SAF instant yeast, has been developed which allows the user to mix the yeast directly into the flour without dissolving it first in water.


Zabaglione - An Italian custard made with egg yolks and wine or juices, which are beaten vigorously over hot water to form a rich, creamy dessert. The custard can then be poured into glasses and chilled to be eaten later, or eaten warm with fresh fruit. Marsala is the most common wine used, though any sweet wine such as Madeira, Champagne, or Sauterne may be used.

Zakuski - The Russian version of tapas involving a lot of food and vodka.

Zampone - A specialty of the town of Modena in northern Italy, this consists of a hollowed and stuffed pig's trotter which is poached and served as a part of a traditional bollito misto.

Zest - To remove the outermost skin layers of citrus fruit using a knife, peeler or zester. When zesting, be careful not to remove the pith, the white layer between the zest and the flesh, which is bitter.

Zucchini - (Seed vegetable) A long, green squash that looks something like a cucumber. Also known as vegetable marrow, courgette.

Zuccotto - This is an Italian form of charlotte royale. In this dessert, triangles of sponge cake are placed in a bowl to forma shell for the filling. The filling consists of stiffly whipped cream which is studded with toasted almonds, hazelnuts, chocolate chips, and candied fruit. A final layer of cake is placed over this, and when well set, the dessert is inverted onto a platter to form a large dome, reminiscent of Florence's Duomo.

Zuppa Inglese - Literally translated as English soup," this Italian dish is, in fact, a refrigerated dessert similar to the British favorite, trifle. It's made with rum sprinkled slices of sponge cake layered with a rich custard or whipped cream (or both) and candied fruit or toasted almonds (or both).

Glossary of Culinary Terms

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