Most Used Terms in Recipes, Cooking Books and Menus

Most Used Terms in Recipes, Cooking Books and Menus

For any person that likes the preparation of food, it is really good to know the various terms that are used in cooking.

Many of the terms aren’t understood by the average person because they are foreign terms or words that are not often used in other jobs. The terms provided below often appear in menus, cooking books and recipes. Learning them will enable you to follow recipes and to make up menus in a much better way. So to help you understand we are providing a table of the most used terms in cooking with simple explanations. For a better navigation the terms are ordered alphabetically and bolded. Recommendation is to use this table often, for a better success in cooking understanding the most common terms is important. 

Cooking Terms (Ordered Alphabetically):

  • A la; au; aux: With; dressed in a certain style; as, smelts a la tartare, which means smelts with tartare sauce.
  • Au gratin: Means that an ingredient is topped with brown sugar. In actual practice, also flavored with grated cheese.
  • Au naturel: Is a term that applies to uncooked vegetables , which means that they are served in natural state without anything added. Potatoes au naturel are served cooked; but not peeled.
  • Bechamel: Is a sauce made with cream white stock and or milk which is named from a celebrated cook.
  • Biscuit Glace: Ice cream served in glaced shells, sometimes in paper cases.
  • Bisque: Is a thick soup which usually is made from shellfish or game; also, an ice cream to which finely chopped macaroons have been added.
  • Bouchees: Small patties; literally, a mouthful.
  • Boudin:A delicate side dish prepared with forcemeat.
  • Bouquet of Herbs: A bouquet that consists thyme, spring of parsley, sweet marjoram, a bay leaf and a stalk of celery, which are tied together and then used as flavoring in a soup or stew. This way the herbs are easily removed when done.
  • Cafe au Lait: Coffee with milk.
  • Cafe Noir: Which means Black coffee.
  • Canapes: Small slices of bread toasted or sauted in butter and spread with a savory paste made from vegetables, meats or fish. They are served hot or cold as an appetizer or as a first course for lunch or dinner.
  • Canard: Duck.
  • Capers:  which is also called Flinders rose are small edible flower buds used in sauces and in seasoning.
  • Capon: A male rooster which was castrated for the purpose to improve its flesh quality.
  • Caramel: A syrup of browned sugar.
  • Casserole: Large deep dish in which foods are cooked.
  • Champignons: The French name for mushrooms.
  • Chartreuse: A French liqueur. The name was given to the dish by the monks of the monastery of Chartreuse.
  • Chiffonade: Salad herbs finely shredded and then sauted or used in salads.
  • Chillies: Small spicy red peppers.
  • Chives: An Asian vegetable allied to the onion family.
  • Chutney: An East Indian sweet pickle.
  • Citron: Thick rind fruit of the lemon species preserved in sugar.
  • Collops: Meat cut in small pieces.
  • Compote: Fruit stewed in syrup.
  • Coquilles: Scallop shells in which fish or oysters are sometimes served.
  • Creole, a la: With tomatoes.
  • Croustade: A thick piece of bread that has been hollowed out and then toasted or fried crisp. 
  • Croutons: Bread which is diced and fried or toasted for the intention to use it in soups.
  • Curry: An East Indian mixture made of hot seeds, spices, and dried herbs.
  • Demi-Tasse: Means half a cup. It refers to a small cup in which after-dinner coffee is served.
  • Deviled: Highly seasoned.
  • Dill: A plant used for to flavor pickles.
  • En coquille: Served in shells.
  • Entrees: Small dishes that are served with lunch or dinner or in between the meals.
  • Escarole: A broad-leaved kind of endive.
  • Farce or Forcemeat: A mixture of bread, meat etch which is used as stuffing.
  • Fillets: Long, thin pieces of meat or fish generally rolled and tied.
  • Fillet Mignons: Small slices from fillet of beef, served with steak.
  • Fondant: Sugar boiled with water and then made into a paste. It is used for the frosting of cake and also for the making of French candies.
  • Fondue: Dish made with grated or melted cheese. There are many varieties of this preparation.
  • Frappe: Semi-frozen.
  • Fromage: Cheese.
  • Glace: Covered with icing; literally, a shining surface.
  • Glaze: Juices of the meat cooked down to a concentration and then used as a foundation for gravies and soups.
  • Goulash: A Hungarian beef stew, highly seasoned.
  • Gumbo: A dish of food made of young capsules of okra, seasoned with salt and pepper, stewed and then served with melted butter.
  • Haricot: Is a small bean and also a stew in which the vegetables and meat are divided.
  • Homard: Lobster.
  • Hors d’oeuvres: Appetizers.
  • Italiene, a la: In Italian style.
  • Jardiniere: A mixture of spring vegetables stewed in their own sauce; also, a garnish of various vegetables.
  • Julienne: A clear soup with shredded vegetables.
  • Junket: Milk jellied by means of rennet.
  • Kippered: Dried or smoked.
  • Larding: Small strips of fat pork inserted into lean meat. It is inserted before cooking.
  • Lardon: Piece of bacon or salt pork used in larding.
  • Legumes: Vegetables in the bean family; Peas, Beans, and lentils.
  • Lentils: A sort of the class of vegetables called legumes.
  • Macedoine: A mixture of green vegetables.
  • Marinade: A pickle used for seasoning meat or fish before cooking.
  • Marinate: To pickle in French dressing or vinegar, as meat or fish is seasoned.
  • Marrons: Chestnuts.
  • Menu: A bill of fare.
  • Meringue: Sugar and egg well beaten to make an icing.
  • Mousse: Ice cream made with whipped cream and beaten egg and frozen without turning.
  • Nougat: A mixture of almonds and sugar.
  • Paprika: Hungarian sweet pepper ground fine and used as a seasoning. Les stinging than Cayenne or red pepper.
  • Pate: A little pie; a pastry or patty.
  • Pimiento: Red peppers(Sweet) used as a salad, vegetable or a relish.
  • Pistachio: A pale greenish nut resembling an almond.
  • Potage: Soup.
  • Puree: A thick soup containing cooked vegetables that have been rubbed through a sieve.
  • Ragout: Vegetables and meat or only meat made stew and then served with a sauce.
  • Ramekin: A preparation of cheese toast or puff paste, which is then baked or either browned. This word is sometimes used to designate the dish in which such a mixture is cooked.
  • Rechauffe: A warmed-over dish.
  • Rissoles: Shapes of puff paste filled with a mixture which is then fried or baked.
  • Roux: Thickening made with butter and flour.
  • Salmi: A stew or hash of game.
  • Salpicon: Minced ham, poultry or meat mixed with a thick sauce
  • Sauce Piquante: An acid sauce.
  • Shallot: A variety of onion.
  • Sorbet: A sherbet, frozen punch, or water ice; the same as sherbet.
  • Souffle: Literally, puffed up. Mixture made light with eggs and then baked, the foundation of which may be fish, cheese, vegetables meat or fruits.
  • Soy: A Japanese sauce made out of the soy bean. It has a good flavor and a clear brown color used for coloring sauces and soups.
  • Stock: Cooking meat, vegetables and bones to make the soup foundation.
  • Sultanas: Yellow or white seedless grapes, which grow in Corinth.
  • Tarragon: An herb used in seasoning certain dressing and sauces; it is also employed in flavoring tarragon vinegar.
  • Tartare Sauce: A mayonnaise dressing to which have been added chopped pickle, capers, and parsley in order to make a tart sauce for fish.
  • Timbale: A pie raised in a mold; also, a shell filled with forcemeat or ragout.
  • Truffles: A species of fungi which grow in clusters few inches below the soil,  having an attractive perfume. For finding them pigs or trained dogs are used . In France they are found abundantly and are used chiefly for garnishing or seasoning. 
  • Vanilla:  Bean from the tropical orchid or just the extract that is obtained from the fruit. It is used in flavoring desserts etc.
  • Vinaigrette Sauce: A sauce made out of vinegar and oil, to which are added finely minced chives, peppers, or other highly flavored green vegetables and spices.
  • Vol au Vent: Light puff paste crust. Also, a large form of pastry filled with a savory preparation of meat, fish, oysters, and cream sauce. 
  • Zwieback: Bread toasted twice.