Food Basics Glossary

appliance: a piece of equipment that is powered by electricity, gas, or propane


bake: cook food using an oven


beat: rapidly stir ingredients using a spoon, whisk, or mixer


blend: mix two or more ingredients together thoroughly until smooth


boil: heat liquids until they rapidly bubble at the surface to release steam


brown: use a skillet to sauté meats or vegetables until they turn brown


chill: refrigerate food until it is cold


chop: cut food into pieces using a knife or food processor


coat: cover food with flour, crumbs, or batter


combine: stir different ingredients together


cooking temperature: the temperature the cooking appliance must be set at to cook the food properly


For example, “Oven: 200°C” or “Set the stove to low heat.”


cooking time: the estimated amount of time it will take to cook a food thoroughly


The cooking time is often given in a range, such as 10 to 12 minutes.


cool: allow the temperature of food to drop after cooking


cream: blend sugar with margarine, butter, or shortening until it is creamy and smooth


cross-contamination: the transfer of infectious bacteria from one place to another


cube: cut food so that it has six equal sides


cut in: use a pastry blender or two knives to combine solid fats into flour


dice: cut food into small cubes


drain: eliminate excess liquid from food using a strainer or colander


fold in: gently turn food into itself using a spatula or a wooden spoon


fry: cook food in fat until browned or cooked through


garnish: decorate food with a small colourful food or herb when serving


grate: shred food into tiny pieces by rubbing it against a grater


grease: spray or rub a pan with oil to prevent sticking


infectious bacteria: bacteria that enter the digestive system via contaminated food


ingredients: the foods listed in a recipe


Ingredients are typically listed in the order that they should be added to the recipe.


knead: alternately press and fold dough with hands until dough is smooth


method of a recipe: a step-by-step procedure for how to prepare the food


mince: chop food into tiny pieces


mix: stir different ingredients together


mould: micro-organisms that provide visible clues of food spoilage that can cause illness


pare: peel off the outside covering of food using a paring knife or peeler


peel: remove the outer skin of vegetables and fruit with a knife or peeler


preheat: turn appliances on before putting the food in to cook to ensure the proper cooking temperature is reached


quantities: the specific amounts for each ingredient listed in the recipe


Quantities can be listed by volume in millilitres (mL), or by weight in grams (g).


recipe: a set of directions for preparing food or beverages


recipe in active format: ingredients are listed in the step-by-step method


recipe in narrative format: ingredients are listed in a paragraph that combines the ingredients with the method


recipe in standard format: ingredients are listed in the order they are used


roll: use a rolling pin to flatten dough


sauté: cook food in hot fat in a skillet


season: flavour food with salt, pepper, and other seasonings


sift: shake dry ingredients through a sieve or sifter to remove lumps and add air


simmer: heat liquids until they bubble under the surface but are not hot enough to come to a boil


slice: cut into thin flat pieces


stir: move food in a circular motion with a wooden spoon to combine ingredients or to distribute heat while cooking


stir-fry: fry cut meat and vegetables at high temperatures in small amounts of oil


toss: combine ingredients by gently throwing them together


toxin: a substance that is poisonous to humans


utensil: a kitchen tool that performs a food preparation task, such as measuring, cutting, mixing, cooking, or baking


variation: a small preparation change that you make while preparing a recipe to change the final product, such as an added ingredient


volume: the amount of space an ingredient takes up


Volume is measured in dry and liquid measuring cups and measuring spoons.


weight: how heavy an ingredient is when measured on a scale


whip: beat ingredients rapidly with a wire whisk or electric mixer to add air and increase volume


yeast: micro-organisms that provide visible clues of food spoilage that can cause illness


yield: the amount of food that the recipe makes


Yield can be listed by volume, such as 250 mL or 1 cup, or as servings, such as “Makes 12 muffins” or “Makes 4 servings.”

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