Old Fashioned Families
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Kitchen Terms Glossary

Aging: A term applied to meat held at a temperature at 34°- 36° F to improve its tenderness, for 14 - 21 days.

Al dente: Cooked just enough to retain a somewhat firm texture.

A La Carte: French meaning - "According to the menu"; off the card.

A La Mode: Pie with ice cream on it.

Albumen: The major component of egg white.

Aspic: (English) Clear meat, poultry, or fish jelly.

Au Beurre: This means that the vegetables, fish, meats or whatever it may be, has been cooked in butter, or glazed with butter.

Au Gratin: To cover a prepared dish with bread crumbs or cheese (or both) and brown to a golden colour in the oven or under the grill.

Au Jus: (French) Served with natural juices


Bain-Marie: A dish containing ingredients is placed in another of warm water in the oven, so the food is kept moist and does not become dry or overheated. Make sure oven temperature is correct and that the outer dish does not contain too much water, otherwise, it will bubble over into your ingredients.

Bake: To cook or dry heat in an oven and this applies to all oven cooked foods except meats which when baked, are usually known as roasts.

Barbecue: To roast slowly on a spit or rack over heat, usually basting with a highly seasoned sauce or marinade.

Bard: To wrap meat with bacon or salt pork.

Baste: To moisten meat or other food while cooking, in order to add flavour and prevent drying of the surface. Melted fat, meat drippings, lard, fat, water or sauces, can be used for basting.

Beat or Beating: To lift a mixture rapidly up and over with a fork, spoon, wire whisk, rotary or electric beater, for the purpose of introducing air or making the mixture smooth, stiff in the case of egg whites, or fluid in an omelette mix.

Binding: Adding liquid, egg or melted fat to a dry mixture to hold it together .

Blanch: To dip in boiling water for a few minutes to loosen skins, or whiten foods, or to partly cook in hot oil or fat; eg blanching potato skins before frying. When blanching items in boiling water leave for only a few minutes, then remove and refresh under cold water for maximum crispness of colour.

Blending: Means beating OR combine ingredients with a fork, spoon or spatula.

Boil: To cook in water or other liquid, in which the bubbles are breaking rapidly on the surface and steam is given off. (the boiling point of water is 212ºF or 100°C)

Bouquet Garni: A bunch of herbs consisting of parsley, thyme, bay leaf, and celery tied together or inserted into a cheese-cloth, or paper- bag.

Braise: To cook by shallow frying followed by baking or stewing. The food is first browned in hot fat or oil, then slowly baked or simmered in a covered pan or baking dish, sometimes with a small amount of fluid added.

Broil: To cook by direct heat. This may be done by placing the food under or over an open flame or heating unit.

Browning: Searing the outer surface of meat to seal in the juices.

Bruise: Release the flavor of foods, especially herbs and spices, by crushing them.

Brush With: To lightly apply melted fat, cream, etc., with a pastry brush on food.


Caramelise: To melt sugar slowly over a very low heat, until sugar is liquid and brown for the purpose of flavouring and colouring other food.

Chevre: This is the term given to French goat's cheeses.

Chop: To cut into small pieces with a sharp knife or a chopper.

Clarify: To make clear or transparent and free from impurities.

Coat: To cover the surface of one food evenly with another.

Coagulation: The clotting of milk, usually triggered by rennet.

Coddle: To cook or simmer an item just below the boiling point for a short period of time. Eggs are frequently coddled.

Cream: To soften or beat one or more foods until soft and creamy. This term is usually applied to the mixing of butter and sugar.

Crepe: (French) Thin pancakes

Croquettes: Finely chopped foods usually combined with potatoes or a thick sauce and moulded into cylinder shapes, coated with egg and milk and fried in oil till golden in colour.

Croutons: Usually small cubes of bread fried in oil and butter until a golden colour. Served in salads and as a garnish for soups.

Cube: To cut any food item into square pieces of many sizes.

Curd: Coagulated fats and other solids made from milk.

Curdle: The undesirable effect of overcooking. When a food (usually a dairy product based sauce or custard) becomes lumpy or separated and forms curds.

Cut-in: To combine a solid fat with dry ingredients, by a horizontal motion with knives or pastry blender.


Deglaze: A process of adding liquid to a hot pan in order to collect the bits of food which stick to the pan during cooking. This is most common with sautéed and roasted foods. Wine, stock, and vinegar are common deglazing liquids.

Dice: To cut into small square pieces.

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

Dot: To scatter small pieces of fat, such as margarine or butter, on top of foods to be cooked.

Drain: Remove extra fat or liquid from cooked food or raw vegetables.

Dredge: To sprinkle or coat a food evenly, with a thin coating of dry ingredients such as flour, so that it is completely covered.

Drawn butter: Melted butter.

Dust: To sprinkle with flour or icing sugar.


Emulsify: To completely blend together an oil with an acid such as vinegar or lemon juice. This term is usually used while making salad dressings.


Farina: Inner portion of coarsely ground hard wheat.

Fillet: A boneless, lean piece of fish or meat.

Flake: To break or pull apart gently into natural segments, eg, to flake cooked fish.

Flavonoid: A substance responsible for the colours yellow and orange in herbs, fruit and vegetables.

Fold: To add ingredients, such as whipped cream, beaten egg whites or sugar, with a gentle cutting or folding motion (rather than beating) , to preserve air bubbles.

Fricassee: Pieces of poultry or meat stewed in a liquid and served in a sauce made from the same liquid.

Fry: To cook in hot fat or oil
( a ) To sauté or pan fry, food is cooked in a small amount of fat or oil on top of a stove.
( b) To deep fry, food is partially or totally immersed in fat or oil.


Garnish: To decorate a dish with an item which will improve its appearance and quite often, add to its flavour too.

Giblets: The trimmings from poultry such as the liver, heart, etc..

Glaze: A shiny coating, consisting of a mixture of water or sugar and fat, egg white etc., applied to certain foods such as pastry, fruit cake, rolls and baked ham.

Gnocchi: Italian dumpling.

Grate: To rub on a grater (a utensil with a rough surface) and produce fine particles.

1. Juice exuded by roasted meat or poultry.
2. A sauce made from these juices by boiling stock or wine and sometimes thickened with flour.
3. Thick liquid made by adding water to vegetables or masala.

Grease: To rub with butter, margarine, oil, etc. Usually applied to greasing the cake tins.

Griddle: Flat metal plate used to bake breads and pancakes on the top of the stove.

Grilling: Cooking directly under a flame in an oven or on a grate over hot coals.

Grinding: Making paste.


Hor d'oeuvre: ( ohr-duh-vr ) :(French) Petite appetizers or relishes. Serve as the first course of the meal.


Julienne: To cut into match stick shapes about 1/8 inch across by 2 inches long.


Karo: Light or dark corn Syrup.

Knead: To fold and press dough firmly with the heel of the hand, turning between folding. Usually done to bread and yeast dough's.

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


Larding: Salt pork strips inserted into meat with a special needle. Used to add flavor and moisture to meat.

Leek: Small onion like plant, used as an aromatic seasoning or vegetable.

Legumes: (French) Dried beans, peas, lentils and such.

Lentil: A brown or yellow flat seed resembling a pea used for soups, garnishes, and as a vegetable.

Lukewarm: A mild, tepid temperature of approximately 95 degree F.


Make a Well: While kneading the dough make a heap of the dry ingredients by creating hollow space in the center to pour the liquid. Work it in a round motion, taking in the flour, little by little, till all of it is blended.

Marsala: Semi-dry, pale golden, Italian wine from Sicily.

Mash: Pound the food and crush it into pulp.

Melting: Heat the ingredients till they are changed from solid to liquid.

Marinate: To soak a food in a liquid, usually an oil or acid mixture containing spices, seasonings, vegetables and aromatic herbs, for a certain length of time to enhance the flavour and act as a tenderiser.

Mince: To cut very finely, to obtain smaller pieces than those produced by chopping.

Moisten: To add or sprinkle with liquid in order to dampen.


Omelet: Seasoned eggs that are beaten and fried. The eggs will puff up at which time, they are rolled or folded over.


Pan-broil: To cook uncovered in a hot frying pan. The fat is removed as it accumulates. Liquid is never added.

Pan Fry: Fry with very little fat in the pan.

Paste: This is the term used by most cheese makers to describe the inside part of the cheese.

Par-boil: To partially cook a food by boiling, the cooking being completed by another method. Potatoes par-boiled before frying or roasting makes for fluffy light inner and crisp outer.

Pare: Removing the outside skin or peels of vegetables or fruits.

Pat (as in: pat of butter) : Portion of ingredient shaped into a small, flat, usually square shape. Approximately 1 Tablespoon.

Peel: To strip off the outer covering, as with oranges or bananas.

Pickling: Is where vegetables like cucumbers or seafood like prawns are “pickled” in sugar, vinegar and spices for a day or two before eating.

Pinch: Just that--the tiny amount of seasoning that can be held between your thumb and forefinger; an immeasurably small amount.

Pitted / Seed: To remove seeds from fruit or vegetable.

Poach: To cook foods such as eggs or fish just below boiling point in water, milk or stock, similar to simmering but usually for a short time only.

Puree: Vegetables, fruit, etc. forced through a sieve to produce a smooth, finely divided texture. Also to puree means to blend by any means.


Quiche: A pie made of custard and cheese.


Reduce : To thicken and intensify the flavor of a liquid by evaporating it through boiling.

Render: Cook fatty meats, such as bacon, until the fat melts.

Rennin: A coagulating enzyme made from the stomach of a calf or other young animal.

Rest: A term mostly used for dough or batters that need fermentation. That means When the dough needs to be set it is kept aside for a certain period of time.

Roasting: To cook food uncovered in a hot oven.It is often done in large ovens over a high temperature. This method is more commonly used in restaurants rather than regular households.

Roll: Place a small ball of dough on a flat wooden board and roll it out into any shape.

Rolling boil: Heat until vapor bubbles form rapidly and break on the surface of liquid.

Roux: Equal parts of flour and fat cooked together and used to thicken fluids when preparing sauces, soups and gravies. The measurement is 2oz fat, 2oz flour to 1 pint of liquid.

Rub: in Add fat to flour and rub them together to mix.


Sauté: To cook in a small amount of fat or oil on top of a stove.

Scald: To heat a liquid, usually milk, to a point just below boiling. Minute bubbles appear around the edge of the vessel.

Scallop: To bake food, usually cut into slices in a liquid or sauce. The food is usually covered by a liquid, sliced onion when baking potatoes, a little oil and seasoning.

Score: To make lengthwise and crosswise cuts across the surface with a sharp knife.

Sear: Cook at very high heat for a little while. Scortch.

Season: To add salt, pepper, herbs, spices etc. to improve the flavour of a dish.

Seasonings: Dry herbs and spices used to enhance the taste and appearance of food.

Shred: To cut or tear into thin strips or pieces.

Sift: To put dry ingredients through a sieve.

Simmer: To cook in a liquid, in which bubbles form slowly and break just below the surface. The temperature usually ranges from 110ºF-130ºF (55° to 60°C).

Sippets: Similar to "Croutons". Small cubes of bread, fried, toasted or oven dried and served as a garnish for soups.

Skewer: Metal or wooden pin used to hold meat, poultry or fish in shape during cooking.

Skin: As in tomatoes To peel the tomato skin by immersing them for two minutes in boiled water.

Smoking: Glowing charcoal is placed in a small katori, or bowl, cooked meats are placed around this. Dry spices and ghee are poured on top of the coals and a lid is quickly placed over the meat. This smoking adds a delicate flavour to the prepared meats.

Soak: This means to put food in liquid.

Soften: Allow cold margarine or butter to remain at room temperature until soft and easily blended.

Squeezing: Drain out the liquid from the food by crushing.

Steam: To cook over, or surrounded by, steam.

Steep: Soak in a liquid at a temperature just under the boiling point to soften or extract a flavor

Stew: To simmer in a small amount of liquid with or without a lid.

Stir-frying: This is quick cooking over high heat in a small amount of oil, tossing and turning the food during the cooking. With this method, meats stay juicy and tender and vegetables come out slightly crisp with all their vitamins intact.

Straining: Separating liquids from solids by passing them through a sieve or through muslin.

Syrup: A thick sweet liquid made by boiling sugar with water or fruit juice.


Tempura: A form of deep frying from Japan, to lightly coat food items with an egg, flour and ice-water batter, then deep fry and serve with dipping sauce.

Tear: Break into pieces, using your fingers.

Tenderize: Lay meat out on level surface and continuously pound with flat, spiked utensil.

Toast: Lightly brown food in oven or toaster.

Toss: Tumble ingredients lightly with two utensils using a lifting, fluffing motion.

Torte: A rich sponge cake, often multi-layered and filled with whipped cream, jam, chocolate or fruit.

Tostada: Medium sized or small tortilla fried in oil until crisp. Filled with spicy meat or poultry and served with various toppings.

Tripe: The edible lining of stomach (beef).


Vegan: A person who does not eat meat or any animal products, including bacon, cream, eggs and milk.

Vegetarian: A person who does not eat meat or poultry and sometimes fish but may eat cheese, milk and eggs in their diet.


Water Bath: One bowl of ingredients placed inside a baking dish filled with hot water in order to cook food with gentle heat.

Whey: This is what is left of the milk after the coagulated curd has been removed.

Whipping: Beating an ingredient until frothy and thick.

Whisking: Means to incorporate air, usually in eggs.


Yams: Sweet potato.


Zest: The coloured outer rind of all citrus

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