la - French for the style of, such as "a
la Francaise" meaning "in the style
of the French"
a la Bourgeoise - French for in "the
style of the family"
a la Broche - French for cooked on a skewer
over a flame
a la Carte - A list of food items each
priced and served separately
a la Florentine - Literally French for
"in the style of Florence". In Italian,
"alla Florentine". It refers to dishes
served with spinach and topped with a mornay sauce.
a la King - An American dish of diced foods,
usually chicken or turkey, in a cream sauce with
pimientos, onions, mushrooms, green peppers and
a la Mode - Meaning "In the fashion"
a la Provençal - French for dishes
prepared with garlic and olive oil.
Fruit - Fresh off the tree, ababai has a thin
skin and looks like a small papaya with a flesh
that is firm and uniform in texture. It is one
of the few fruits that will not dissolve when
cooked. It can be sautéed with vegetables,
broiled or grilled. Ababai is never eaten fresh
due to its high enzyme content. After processing,
the pale yellow color turns a brilliant gold.
Abaisee - 1. A French term for a puff pastry
sheets that have been rolled very thin.
2. Sometimes it refers to a thin slice of sponge
cake used in a dessert.
- A mollusk related to the sea snail, eaten fresh,
dried and salted, or cooked in dishes similar
to clam chowder. Known as "awabi" in
Japanese cuisine, as "loco" in South
American, as "ormer" in the English
Channel, as "muttonfish" in Australia
and as "paua" in New Zealand. Its iridescent
shell is a source of mother-of-pearl.
Sausage - A long Scottish beef sausage that
is wrapped in a cloth, boiled, and then coated
in bread crumbs.
Accolade - En accolade means serving two like
kinds of food leaning against each other. The
term usually applies to poultry and game hens.
Acetic Acid - Wine or cider that fermented
beyond the stage of alcohol. In a diluted form
acetic acid is vinegar. Acetic acid is also used
in preserving fruits to keep them from discoloring.
Achar - A strong spiced pickle relish served
in Indian cuisine. It usually consists of chopped
fruits and vegetables in a spicy sauce.
Acid Rinse - Discoloration of peeled fruits
and vegetables are prevented from browning when
exposed to air by a bath of acidulated water.
Acidulate - To give a dish or liquid a
slightly acidic, tart or piquant taste by adding
some lemon juice, vinegar, or unripened fruit
Acidulated Water - Cold water with vinegar,
lemon or lime juice added
- A small, deep-red, cherrylike fruit that grows
on the acerola tree found primarily in and around
the West Indies and Brazil. The fruit has a sweet
flavor and one of the highest concentrations of
vitamin C. It is used in desserts and preserves.
It's also known as the Barbados cherry, Puerto
Rican cherry and West Indies cherry.
- Pickling relish used in Indian and West Indies
dishes, made of palm cabbage, bamboo shoots, spices,
and other fruits and vegetables.
Acorn Squash - A small to medium-sized acorn-shaped
winter squash with an orange and green or orange,
yellow and creamy white ridged shell with pale
orange flesh, and a slightly sweet, nutty flavor.
- A sour paste used to marinate fajitas (Mexican
skirt steak) before grilling, made with vinegar,
chiles, and herbs.
Ade - A fruit drink made by combining water
with sugar, dissolving the sugar, then adding
a citrus juice and ice.
Adjust Seasoning - To taste the dish before
serving to determine the need for salt, herbs,
or other seasonings.
Bean - A small reddish-brown bush bean (they
grow on bushes rather than vines) cultivated in
China and Japan. Extremely versatile, adzukis
can be eaten fresh or dried, or ground into flour
and used to make cakes or other confections such
as Yokan. The skin of the adzuki bean is quite
thick, requiring long soaking and a cooking time
of about two hours.
Adobo - 1. A Philippine national dish of
braised pork, chicken, or fish. 2. Also, a seasoned
Mexican sauce made with vinegar and chilies like
the sauce in which Chipolte peppers usually are
Aemono - A Japanese salad served with dressing,
or the dressing itself.
Aerate - To sift ingredients through a
fine-mesh screen to break up lumps and to add
air to make them lighter.
- Term used to describe the impression that remains
after food or beverages are swallowed. Wine is
evaluated on the character and length of aftertaste.
Agar-Agar - An extract of seaweed used
as a thickening agent. The Japanese use it in
Agaricus Mushrooms - Plump, dome-shaped
mushrooms, ranging in size from small (button
mushrooms) to jumbo. These common mushrooms have
a mild, earthy flavor and are available year-round
in bulk and 8-ounce packages. Their color can
range from white to pale brown, and their caps
should be firm, tightly closed and evenly colored.
Agave - A Mexican plant with large, fleshy
leaves. Fermented agave sap is used to make tequila,
pulque, and mescal.
- French term for lamb.
- Small stuffed pasta similar to ravioli.
- Round or crescent-shaped stuffed pasta, usually
filled with meat.
Ail - French term for garlic.
Aioli - Sauce of southern France made with
garlic, olive oil, egg yolks, and other seasonings.
Aioli is used with potatoes, poached fish, snails,
salt cod, and added to bouillabaisse. It is similar
in consistency to mayonnaise.
Ajo - Spanish term for garlic.
Akee, Ackee - Tropical fruit, native to
Africa, commonly eaten in Jamaica with salt cod.
The cherry-size fruit, slightly oval in shape,
has a flavor similar to grapes, and looks like
scrambled eggs when cooked. Certain parts of the
fruit are toxic when underripe so it is important
to identify the stage of maturity before using
this fresh fruit, but canned akee is safe. Also
known as genipa, genip, ginup, honeyberry, limoncillo,
Spanish lime and mamoncillo.
Aging - A term used to describe the holding
of meats at a temperature of 34 to 36 degrees
F. for a period of time to tenderize.
Aïoli - A strong garlic mayonnaise
from the Provence region of southern France. It
is a favorite addition for fish, meats and vegetables.
Carbon - In Italian and Mexican cooking, foods
grilled over charcoal.
Al Forno - Italian term for food baked in
Al Fresco - Italian term for an outdoor meal
or social event held outside.
Al Pastor - Italian term for food cooked
over an open fire on a long spit.
Alambre - Spanish or Mexican shish kebab.
Al Dente - Italian meaning "to the
tooth". Used to describe a food, usually
pasta, that is cooked only until it gives a slight
resistance when one bites into it; the food is
neither soft nor overdone.
- Albacore is a high-fat tuna with light flesh
and a mild flavor. Found in temperate marine waters
throughout the world, it weighs between 10 and
60 pounds. It is the only tuna that can be called
white, and the most expensive canned tuna.
Albumen - 1. Egg white. 2. An important
type of protein found in egg whites, rare beef,
milk and some vegetables. It is a vital component
of human blood serum.
Alfalfa Sprouts - A popular choice for salads
and sandwiches, alfalfa sprouts are best eaten
raw. They also may be stir-fried or sautéed,
but should only be cooked for 30 seconds or less
to avoid wilting. Alfalfa sprouts are widely available
in supermarkets. Look for crisp sprouts with buds
attached, and avoid musty-smelling or slimy-looking
sprouts. Once purchased, they should be refrigerated
in the ventilated plastic container in which they
are usually sold and kept for no more than two
All-purpose Flour - White wheat flour blended
to contain a moderate amount of protein and used
for a wide range of general baking and cooking.
Allspice - A member of the pimento family
and native to tropical regions. It's brown berries
have a flavor similar to a mixture of cinnamon,
clove, nutmeg, ginger and pepper. Allspice is
also known as Jamaican pepper.
Allumettes - The French word for "match,"
also refers to potatoes that have been cut into
Almond Extract - A concentrated flavoring
made from alcohol and bitter-almond oil, primarily
Paste - Blanched, ground almonds combined
with sugar and glycerin; used in a variety of
confections including amaretti cookies; similar
to marzipan but is less delicate and not as sweet.
Ground kernels of peaches or apricots are often
added to enhance the almonds. Almond paste is
available in most supermarkets. After opening,
wrap tightly and refrigerate. Heating for two
or three seconds in a microwave oven can soften
hardened almond paste. It should be firm but pliable
Almonds - Commonly grown in the Mediterranean,
California and other warm climates, almond varieties
are classified as either sweet or bitter. Sweet
varieties are used as edible nuts. They are highly
nutritious and can be used raw, roasted or toasted.
Aluminum - Cookware made from this tough,
strong, light metal holds heat well, but has a
tendency to react with acids and can give foods
an off-taste. For this reason never use aluminum
for a recipe which calls for a non-reactive pan.
Aluminum Foil - A thin pliable sheet of
aluminum which can be folded, molded and sealed.
It conducts heat well and can withstand extremely
high and low temperatures.
Amandine - This French term refers to dishes
garnished with almonds. Often spelled Almondine.
Amaranth - A pseudo-cereal grain cultivated
for more than 5,500 years by the Aztec and related
cultures. Virtually unknown for the last 500 years,
it is currently grown commercially in the United
States by a few dozen farmers. This grain exceeds
all common grains as a source of protein and,
as such, is expected to experience wider availability.
It may be cooked in liquid or popped. The leaves
have a slightly sweet flavor and are often used
like spinach. Amaranth is also called Chinese
Spinach, een choy and callaloo.
Amaretti - Italian almond cookies reminiscent
of the macaroon.
Amaretto - An almond-flavored liqueur,
often made with kernels of apricot pits.
Ambrosia - A dessert of chilled fruits combined
with coconut. Bananas and citrus fruit like oranges
are common ingredients. Ambrosia may also be served
as a salad.
American Cheese, Processed - any of the
group of US cheeses made with emulsifiers to increase
smoothness and pasteurized milk to increase storage
life; 51% of the final weight must be cheese.
Amori - Hollow, rigid pasta spirals.
Anaheim Chilies - Mild, long green chilies
named for the area near Los Angeles where they
were once cultivated. They are available canned
(whole or chopped) and fresh.
Ancho Chilies - Dried poblano chilies that
come in color ranging from dark red to almost
black. They are moderately hot with a smoky flavor.
Anchovy - A small fish used primarily as
flavoring. It has a very salty and has a distinctive
Andouille Sausage - A spicy sausage made
from pork chitterlings and tripe. Andouille is
traditionally used in Cajun dishes, like jambalaya
Angel Food Cake - A light, airy cake made
without egg yolks or other fats; its structure
is based on the air whipped into the egg whites;
traditionally baked in a tube pan.
Angel Hair Pasta - A thin, delicate pasta.
These strands are best if used with thinner, delicate
sauces. Other uses: break in half and put in soup;
use in salads or stir-fry meals.
Anise - An herb of the parsley family native
to the eastern Mediterranean region. It has bright
green leaves with a mild licorice flavor.
Anisette - A sweet French liqueur made with
aniseed. It is produced as a flavor blend of aniseeds
and aromatic herbs.
Annatto Extract - A dye made from the pulp
surrounding the seeds of the South American annatto
tree; mainly used to color cheese, particularly
cheddar. See also Annatto
Anolini - A semicircular, stuffed pasta.
Antioxidants - 1. Natural or synthetic
substances that prevent or delay the process of
oxidation. Some food additives are antioxidants
that act as preservatives by retarding deteriorization,
rancidity or discoloration caused by oxidation.
2. Compounds found in various foods that reduce
premature aging or degenerative disease.
Antipasto - An Italian dish of cold meats,
hors d'oeuvres and vegetables, which is commonly
served before the pasta.
Aperitif - An alcoholic drink taken before
a meal that is supposed to sharpen the appetite.
It is usually strong and very small.
Appetizer - A small serving of food or
beverage served before first course of a meal.
Apple - A pome fruit with generally firm
flesh, which can range in flavor from sweet to
tart. They have a thin peel or skin ranging in
color from yellow to green to red. Apples can
be eaten raw, cooked, pureed or used for juice.
Apple Brown Betty - A dessert with layers
of apples and buttered crumbs or oats and spices.
Apple Corer - A small kitchen tool with
a sharp metal gouge attached to a handle; used
to remove the core of an apple.
Applejack - 1. An American brandy made from
apple cider that must spend a minimum of two years
in wooden casks before being bottled; very potent,
ranging in strength from 80 to 100 proof. 2. Apple
syrup or a type of apple turnover.
Applemint - A member of the mint family, applemint
sprigs have a slightly fruity flavor and can be
added to fruit salads, cream or cottage cheeses,
or used to garnish drinks.
Apple Slicer - A tool with a round frame
sectioned off by either wire or metal blades.
The tool is pressed over an apple, dividing the
fruit into even sections while also removing its
Apricot - A small fruit with a thin, velvety,
pale yellow to deep orange skin, a meaty golden
cream to bright orange flesh and an almond-shaped
Arborio Rice - A short-grain rice with
a hard core, white color and mild flavor. It has
a creamy consistency when cooked and is used for
Aroma - Odor or fragrance
Arrowhead - Ferns that look similar to asparagus
and have a flavor that is a cross between asparagus
and artichoke. Similar to some vegetables, arrowhead
ferns collapse considerably when cooked.
Aromatic Rice - Rice with a nutty or popcorn
aroma and flavor
Arrowroot - A tasteless, starchy substance
used as a thickening agent.
Arroz - Spanish term for rice.
Artichoke - The large flowerhead of a plant
of the thistle family. It has tough gray-green
petal-shaped leaves with soft flesh underneath
(which is eaten), a furry choke (that is discarded)
and a tender center (called the heart which is
Arugula - A tangy, aromatic salad green
with a mustard flavor; often used in Europe, but
becoming increasingly popular in North America.
Arugula perks up a salad or sautéed vegetable
dish, and can usually be found in specialty produce
markets and supermarkets, often in small bunches
with their roots still attached.
Asadero Cheese - A white semifirm Mexican
cheese made from whole cow's milk. Asadero has
a mild flavor and is usually found in loaves that
vary from 8 ounces to 11 pounds. Asadero means
"fit for roasting," indicating this
cheese is very suitable for melting; also known
as Chihuahua and Oaxaca.
Asado - Term used to describe Mexican dishes
of broiled or roasted meat.
Ascorbic Acid - The chemical name for vitamin
C. It is used as an antidarkening agent for fruits,
as well as an antioxidant and preservative.
Cheese - Made from cow's milk, this semifirm
Italian cheese has a rich, nutty, pungent flavor.
Asiago di Taglio is aged for up to 60 days, is
semifirm and used as a table cheese. When cured
for six months or more asiago becomes hard and
is used for grating.
Asparagus - A vegetable with an upright
stalk and small, scale-like leaves along the stalk,
capped by a ruffle of small leaves at the top.
Tender stalks are usually youngerand have a slightly
pungent, bitter flavor, an light green color and
a purple-tinged tip.
Aspic - 1. A clarified jelly used to cover
cold foods. 2. Also a gelatin salad.
Au Buerre - Means with butter. Used to
describe dishes sautéed, cooked, or finished
Au Four - In the oven
au Gratin - A French term for a dish with
a browned topping of bread or cracker crumbs and/or
grated cheese. Also known as gratiné.
Au Jus - A French term for roasted poultry
or meats served with their natural, unthickened
Au Lait - With milk
au Rouge - Served in a red sauce
Avocado - A tropical pear shaped fruit
with a large single pit. It's skin can have a
smooth or rough-textured green to dark purple
color. It's flesh is a light green or yellowish
green with a smooth creamy texture. It has a high
unsaturated fat content and is usually eaten raw
served in salads or in guacamole.