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Cooking Terms We All Need to Know


Most of us cook almost every day – some because we have to, but others because we really enjoy cooking, at least some of the time.  Gourmet meals are probably not on your menu every day, but trying new & interesting recipes is fun and keeps your daily meals from becoming boring.  When you search out new recipes there may be a term or two that you are not sure about their meanings.

Here are several cooking terms everyone should know, and maybe a few you have not heard of before now.  Challenge yourself to learn these new terms and use them when you find them in a recipe.

  • Blanch: plunging food into boiling water for a few seconds or minutes, then quickly placing the food into ice water to stop the cooking process
  • Blend: incorporating two or more ingredients completely
  • Broil: cooking on a grill or in an oven under strong, direct heat
  • Brown: heating in a skillet with a little fat or oil until a light brown coating forms on the outside
  • Chill: placing in the refrigerator
  • Chop: cutting food into squares roughly ½-inch in diameter
  • Dice: cutting food into squares roughly ¼-inch in diameter
  • Mince: cutting food into the smallest pieces possible (but not puréed)
  • Pinch: a varying amount; what you can hold between your thumb and forefinger
  • Purée: combining foods until they are smooth and perfectly combined, either by hand, with a sieve or food mill, or with a blender or food processor
  • Sauté: frying quickly in a little fat or oil
  • Simmer: bringing a liquid almost to a boil over low heat
  • Steam: cooking in steam with a pressure cooker, double boiler, or rack fitted in a covered pot of boiling water.
  • Toss: combining ingredients in a lifting motion
  • Whip: beating rapidly to incorporate air and give the food lift

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