Cooking and Food Glossary

Baking soda
A leavening agent, activated by interacting with something acid. Liquid ingredients like sour milk, sour cream, buttermilk, yogurt, molasses, and lemon juice help baking soda produce the gases which in turn make a batter rise.

Barbecue
To cook over the embers or coals of an open fire.

Batter
A mixture of flour, sugar, eggs, milk, etc. which can be poured

Beat
To agitate a mixture with the goal of making it smooth and introducing as much air as possible into it.

Blanch
To parboil, to scald vegetables, nuts, etc., in order to remove the skin.

Bisque
A thick, rich cream soup generally made from shellfish

Boil
To cook in a liquid, generally water, in which large bubbles rise quickly and steadily so that all the liquid is agitated

Bok Choy
A Chinese cabbage with white stems and broad, dark green leaves.

Braise
A method of cooking by which food (usually tougher cuts of meat, large poultry, or vegetables like cabbage, chicory, and artichokes) is first browned in fat, then cooked, tightly covered, in a small amount of liquid at low heat for a lengthy period of time.

Brew
To cook in hot liquid until the flavor is extracted.

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

Broil
To cook by exposing the food directly to the heat.

Caramelize
To heat granulated sugar to a golden brown color for the purpose of flavoring and coloring other food.

Chop
To cut into small pieces using a knife or other sharp utensil.

Chowder
A thick soup that usually contains potatoes.

Coat
To cover the surface of one food with another.

Coddle
To cook or simmer an item just below the boiling point for a short length of time.

Colander
A perforated bowl made of metal or plastic that is used to strain foods.

Condiment
A seasoning for food, a spicy or pungent relish.

Corned
As in corned beef or other meat; refers to a meat that has been salted and cured.

Cube
To cut into even, bite-size pieces.

Cure
To treat with an ingredient, usually salt and/or sugar, originally for the purpose of preserving foods by protecting them from bacteria, molds, etc.

Cutlet
A small flattened boneless piece of meat, generally referring to pork and veal.

Dice
To cut into small cubes or squares.

Dough
A thick, soft uncooked mass of moistened flour and other ingredients.

Fondue
A style of preparing foods which involves dipping vegetables, meats, breads into various heated sauces.

Garnish
To decorate a dish with an item to improve its look.

Glaze
To coat or cover an item with a glossy coating.

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

Grill
To cook above the heat source (traditionally over wood coals) in the open air.

Legumes
Dried vegetables such as beans, lentils, and split peas.

Lemongrass
A tall, lemon-scented grass, used in Thai cooking.

Marinade
A brine or pickling solution in which meat can be soaked before cooking to alter or enrich the flavor.

Melt
To dissolve or make liquid by heating.

Mince
To cut food into very small, fine pieces.

Pare
To cut off the outer covering or skin with a knife or other sharp tool.

Peel
The act of removing the outer surface in strips; Strips of an outer rind or surface that has been removed.

Poach
To cook completely submerged in barely simmering liquid.

Scald
To heat milk or cream just below the boiling point until a scum forms on the surface.

Shred
To cut into fine strips. Shredding is similar to cutting into chiffonade but less precise.

Steam
To cook in steam by suspending foods over (not in) boiling water, in a covered pot or steamer.

Stew
To cook meat and vegetables in liquid just below the boiling point.

Stir
To blend ingredients using a circular motion.

Truffle
Similar to the mushroom, a black fungus grown mainly in France they are used for seasoning and garnishing.

Whip
To beat rapidly to increase volume and incorporate air.

Wok
A round-bottomed pan, usually made of rolled steel, used for virtually all Chinese cooking methods.

Zest
The thin, brightly colored outer part of the rind of citrus fruits.