Cooking Terms

Cooking Index

  • À La

    Means ‘in the style of’ in French.
  • Abats

    French for offal.
  • Absorption Method

    A way of cooking rice by adding the exact amount of water and cooking with the lid on until all the water is absorbed and steam holes appear in the surface of the rice.
  • Aceto

    Italian for vinegar.
  • Acidulate, To

    To add acid (such as lemon juice or vinegar) to cooking or soaking water to stop fruit or vegetables from oxidizing and discolouring.
  • Acqua

    Italian for water.
  • Additive

    Something added to food to improve its keeping qualities, flavour, colour and texture. In the European Union, all additives are listed by E numbers or names on packaging unless they are natural and not required to be listed by law.
  • Adjust, To

    To taste before serving and then re–season if necessary.
  • Aerate

    To incorporate air into a mixture by sieving dry mixtures or whisking liquid mixtures (such as egg white or cream).
  • Affumicato

    Italian for smoked.
  • Aglio

    Italian for garlic.
  • Air Dry, To

    To dry food, usually ham or fish, by hanging it in a flow of fresh air.
  • Al Dente

    Italian term meaning ‘to the tooth’—cooked but still retaining some bite—applied mainly to pasta.
  • Al’, All’, Alla

    Means ‘in the style of’ in Italian.
  • Albedo

    American term for the white pith of citrus fruit.
  • Albumen

    Technical term for egg white.
  • All–purpose Flour

    American term for plain white flour that can be used for all types of baking.
  • Allumettes

    French for matchsticks, usually applied to the size of chopped potatoes and vegetables.
  • Altitude Effects

    The effects on cooking at a high altitude, which drops the boiling point of water by 1°C for each 275 m. At very high altitudes, a pressure cooker is needed to cook successfully.
  • Amatriciana, All’

    With bacon, onions and tomatoes.
  • Ammonia

    A pungent gas. Overripe cheese and fish that are starting to go off smell of this.
  • Amuse Gueule

    Meaning ‘mouth pleaser’ in French, this small appetizer is served before a meal.
  • Anticaking Agent

    Something added to powdered food to stop it clumping together, usually a compound of magnesium, aluminium or sodium. Shown as an E number on packaging (E530–E578).
  • Antioxidant

    A preservation agent, such as vitamins C or E, that slows the reaction rate of food to oxygen. Shown as an E number on packaging (E300–E321).
  • Apéritif

    Drink taken before a meal to ‘open’ the appetite, such as champagne or sherry.
  • Appellation D’origine

    French designation for a wine or foodstuff that guarantees its method of production and ingredients.
  • Appetizer

    Small items of food served before or at the start of a meal or with drinks.
  • Aromatics

    Ingredients, such as spices and herbs, that add aroma to food.
  • Arrosto

    Italian for roast.
  • Arroz

    Spanish and Portuguese for rice.
  • Artificial Sweeteners

    Any sweetening product that does not contain sugars.
  • Asciutto

    Italian term that refers to pasta, gnocchi or rice drained of its cooking liquid.
  • Assiette

    French for plate, usually taken to mean a plated assortment of cheeses, meats or desserts.
  • Astringent

    An acidic or tannic solution (such as lemon juice or wine), which makes the skin of the mouth tighten up.
  • Au

    Means ‘in the style of’, ‘in’ or ‘with’ in French.
  • Au Lait

    Means ‘with milk’ in French.