Yesterday, I was watching one of my favorite shows on food network, and a chef kept using the term bouquet garni over and over again. I just didn’t get what he meant by this. Granted, I know many cooking and food terms and I consider myself a great cook, but this one flew over my head.

It got me thinking though. I am pretty sure I am not alone in this cloudy world of forks and knives. Certainly, there must be other folks like mylifestyleinkers who are not quite familiar with many of these cooking and food terms. Of course, I decided to put pen to paper….or fingers to keyboard in this case.

I came up with this comprehensive list of cooking and food terms that you may never have heard of. Many, you will find fascinating, but some may be familiar. I know I use some of these terms often in my recipes such as my pumpkin pecan muffin. Happy reading and let me know your thoughts. Did I miss any? Please comment below.

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AL DENTE – Describing foods, especially pasta, cooked only until soft enough to eat, but not overdone. The Italian translation is “to the teeth.”

BOUQUET GARNI – A tied bundle of herbs that are added to flavor soups, stews, and sauces but removed before serving.

BLANCH – Blanching is a process in which food is briefly plunged in boiling water for a moment, then immediately transferred to ice water to stop the cooking process. Blanching tomatoes or peaches for about 20 seconds makes them easier to peel.

BROIL – To cook food directly under or over a heat source, usually in the oven under the top broiling element or on the grill.

CARAMELIZE   To heat liquefy sugar under heat until becomes a  brown syrup.

CORE: To remove the center from fruits and vegetables, usually the seeds.

CREAM:  Takes on two meanings; the butterfat derived from milk & the art of beating ingredients such as sugar and a fat, until smooth and fluffy.

CUBE:  To cut food into cubes.

CUT IN:  A technique used in pastry making to distribute solid fat in flour until divided evenly.

EGG WASH – Egg yolk or white mixed with a small amount of water or liquid then brushed over baked goods to give color and sheen.

JIGGER – A liquid measure of equal to 1-1/2 fluid ounces.

JULIENNE – To cut food into thin, matchstick strips. Julienne strips are usually about 1/8 inch thick, but the length varies.

KNEAD –  A technique used to mix and work the dough, usually using the hands. The dough is pressed with the heels of the hands while stretching it out, then folded over itself.

MARINATE – To let food soak in a seasoned liquid in order to flavor and tenderize.

MINCE – To chop food into small pieces, usually 1/8 inch or less.

PARE – To cut the skin from a food, usually with a short knife called a paring knife.

PUREE – To blend, process, sieve, or mash a food until it’s very smooth and has the consistency of baby food.

ROAST – To cook food in an open pan in the oven, with no added liquid.

ROUX – To cook equal parts of flour and fat by weight on the stovetop till it’s brown.

SAUTÉ – To cook quickly in a pan on top of the stove until the food is browned.

SIMMER– To cook liquid at about 185° or just below a boil. Tiny bubbles just beginning to break the surface.

THICKEN –  To make the liquid more thick by reducing or adding a roux, cornstarch, flour or eggs.

WHIP – To beat ingredients with a whisk, or other utensils, which incorporate air into a mixture and change the texture.

Also, make sure you check out my ultimate guide. It is full of everything you need to know and more.