The Cookery Language

Most words used in recipe and cooking books are somehow bothersome to people who aren’t that good in cooking terms. There’s what we call the Cookery Language that most food experts, chefs and some critics use. So do not fret, it’s not that hard as you think. Here are few terms that will broaden your vocabulary when talking about the Cookery Language.

Terms used in Food Preparation:

  • To Beat– a brisk movement to lighten
  • To Bind– to blend ingredients together with an egg or a thick sauce (panada) so they form the desired consistency. The term often used for the binding agent, ‘liaison’.
  • To Blend– to mix ingredients thoroughly
  • To Blanch– some offal such as tripe and sweetbreads are put into cold water, the water brought to the boil is then discarded. The purpose is to whiten or ‘blanch’. Almonds are ‘blanched’ when placed into boiling water for a short time so skin may be removed.
  • To Chop– to cut food into small pieces with a sharp knife on a chopping board.
  • To Clarify– to clean. Generally used in connection with dripping or fat.
  • To Coat– to cover food with flour, egg and crumbs or batter to encourage browning
  • To Conserve– to retain. Vegetables are cooked in the minimum of liquid to conserve vitamins and etc.
  • Consistency of Mixture– this means that the appearance and texture of the mixture. It is used a great deal in cake making to describe whether the mixture be should be soft, stiff or etc.
  • To Cream– to soften a mixture until the consistency of cream such as creamed potatoes, creamed fat and sugar. Often done with  wooden spoon.
  • To Decorate– to add extra ingredients to make food look more attractive. The word ‘decorate’ is generally used for sweet dishes, ‘garnish’ for savory ones.
  • To Dice– to cut into even, small pieces.
  • To Dilute- to make less strong such as fresh lemon juice is diluted with water for lemonade.
  • To Dredge– to coat liberally, generally with flour or sugar.
  • To Dust– to coat lightly, generally with flour or sugar.
  • To Ferment– the chemical change that takes place in bread making, also in wine making.
  • To Flake– to divide food, particularly a fish into small pieces.
  • To Fold– to ‘flick’ an ingredient into others already beaten together, to retain lightness such as flour into eggs and sugar. It’s best to use a metal spoon or palette knife.
  • To Garnish– to decorate
  • To Glaze– to brush with egg, milk or liquid and sugar before baking to give shine or a syrup or jelly mixture to cover fruit in a flan.
  • To Grate– to rub food against a grater to obtain small pieces such as cheese, citrus fruit (for rind) and a lot more.
  • To Knead– a word used in yeast cookery and also in handling some biscuit dough. The ingredients are mixed with the hands or a dough hook in a mixer, to give an even texture.
  • To Knock Back– ‘proven’ or risen yeast dough is kneaded until it returns to its original size.
  • To Mash–  to beat food such as potatoes into a smooth puree. You can use a fork or a potato masher.
  • To Pare or Peel– to remove the outer skin or rind of vegetables or fruit.
  • To Pipe– to press a mixture, generally some form of icing, cream, creamed potatoes and etc. through a shaped pipe.
  • To Prove– the term used in bread making where the dough is put into a warm place to rise.
  • To Rise–  the word used to describe the change that takes place in certain dishes which swell and become light during cooking such as cakes, due to the action of the rising agent used; or pastry and a whisked sponge, where correct handling incorporates air; and bread, where yeast makes the dough ferment and so to rise.
  • To Roll Out- dough for pastry is rolled lightly with a rolling pin to the required shape and thickness.
  • To Rub In– to mix fat with flour with your fingers until the mixture is like breadcrumbs.
  • To Season– to add salt and pepper; in many recipes the word seasoning is used to denote these. It is also the term for preparing an omelet pan.
  • To Scrape– to remove peel by a scraping movement with a sharp knife. Use for new potatoes, new carrots when it would be wasteful to peel.
  • To Sieve– to push food such as spinach and fruit through a sieve to obtain puree or to lighten flour and to ensure it is free from lumps.
  • Sponging or ‘To Allow The Sponge To Break Through’– a term used only when cooking with yeast.
  • To Strain– It has to definitions, one is to remove food from liquid such as vegetables when cooked and another is to remove bones from stock and etc.
  • To Toss– one method of turning a pancake or vegetables in hot fat before serving or before adding liquid in a stew or casserole.
  • To Whip or Whisk– cream is whipped to thicken it. Care must be taken not to over-whip. A fork or egg whisk is used. Egg whites are whisked to make  meringue.
  • To Work– the method of moving eggs in an omelet.

I hope you enjoyed and learned something. Till then.


More to press so, stay tuned.



One thought on “The Cookery Language

  1. Pingback: The Cookery Language 2 « therottengenius

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