Culinary Terms C-D


Cacao (kah-KAH-oh)

The dried and partly fermented seed of the cacao tree grown in tropical regions of the Western Hemisphere; it is used principally in the preparation of cocoa, chocolate and cocoa butter.

Cacciatore, a la (ka-cha-TOH-reh)

An Italian preparation method for meats, usually chicken, stewed with tomatoes, onions, mushrooms and various herbs and spices and sometimes wine.

Ceasar Salad (SEE-zar)

A salad created in Mexico; it consists of greens, traditionally romaine lettuce, tossed with a garlic vinaigrette flavored with Worcestershire sauce, lemon juice, coddled eggs and sometimes anchovies and garnished with croutons and grated Parmesan.

Cafetiere (ka-fay-tee-yair)

A coffeemaker consisting of a glass pot fitted with a plunger covered in a fine wire mesh; coffee grounds and hot water are added to the pot, allowed to brew and then the plunger is pushed down, trapping the grounds; the coffee then rises through the mesh; also known as an infusion coffeepot and plunger coffeepot.


An Alkaloid found in coffee beans, tea leaves and cocoa beans that acts as a stimulant.

Caffe Latte (kahf-AY LAH-tay)

1. An Italian beverage made from one-third or less espresso and two-thirds or more steamed milk, sometimes served with a dollop of foam on top; usually served in a tall glass.
2. Italian for coffee with milk.

Dancing Deer - Ribbon Logo (120x90) Static
Caffe Mocha (kahf-AY MO-kah)

A beverage made from chocolate syrup, one-third espresso and approximately two-thirds steamed milk; it is topped with whipped cream sprinkled with cocoa powder; usually served in a tall glass.

Cajeta (kah-HEH-tah)

1. A Mexican caramel sauce made from goat’s milk.
2. A Mexican dessert made from fruit or milk cooked with sugar until thick.

Cajun Cooking

A style of cooking associated with the descendants of French Acadians from Nova Scotia now living in Louisiana; it combines the cuisines of France and the American South, producing hardy dishes typically containing spices, file powder, onions, green pepper, celery and a dark roux.


In American usage, refers to a broad range of pastries, including layer cakes, coffeecakes and gateaux; can refer to almost anything that is baked, tender, sweet and sometimes frosted.

Cake Flour

A low-protein wheat flour used for making cakes, pastry doughs and other tender baked goods.


The unit of energy measured by the amount of heat required to raise 1000grams of water one degree Celsius; it is also written as kilocalorie or kcal and is used as a measure of food energy.

Calvados (KAL-vah-dohs)

An apple brandy made in Calvados, Normandy, France; distilled from a mash of cider apples, it is aged in oak casks for 3-10 years before blending and bottling.

Calzone (kal-ZOH-nay)

1. An Italian-American dish made with pizza dough shaped like a large turnover and stuffed with various meats, vegetables and cheeses; it is deep-fried or baked.
2. A Mexican sugar cookie.

Camembert (kam-uhn-BAIR)

A soft, creamy French cheese made from cow’s milk; it has a creamy texture, a pale ivory-gold color and a whitish-gray, yellow-flecked rind; when perfectly ripe, it oozes thickly, and when overly ripe, it is runny and bitter, with a strong ammonia odor.

Canape (KAN-uh-pay; KAN-uh-pee)

An hors d’oeuvre consisting of toasted or untoasted bread cut into a shape (sliced vegetables such as cucumbers are also used) and typically topped with a spread (e.g., butter or cream cheese) and one or more savory garnishes (e.g., foie gras or sausage).

Cannellini (kan-eh-LEE-nee)

Large, elongated kidney-shaped beans grown in Italy; they have a creamy white color and are used in soups and salads; also known as white kidney beans.

Cannelloni (kahn-eh-LONE-ee)

Italian for large reeds and used to describe large, hollow tubes of pasta; they are usually boiled, stuffed with meat, fish or chicken and then baked and served with a sauce and grated cheese.

Cannoli (kan-OH-lee)

An Italian pastry composed of a deep-fried tube of sweet pastry dough filled with sweetened ricotta studded with candied fruit, chocolate or pistachio nuts.

Canola Oil (Kan-OH-luh)

An oil made in Canada from rapeseeds; it is relatively low in saturated fats, contains omega – 3 fatty acids and has a bland, neutral flavor suitable for cooking and other uses.

Capellini (kahp-payl-LEE-nee)

Italian for fine hair and used to describe extremely fine spaghetti.


The unopened flower buds of a shrub (Capparis spinosa) native to the Mediterranean region; after curing in salted white vinegar, the buds develop a sharp, salty-sour flavor and are used as a flavoring and condiment.

Cappuccino (kahp-uh-CHEE-noh)

An Italian beverage made from equal parts espresso, steamed milk and foamed milk, sometimes dusted with sweetened cocoa powder or cinnamon; usually served in a large cup.

Caprini (kah-PREE-nee)

A fresh, soft, unripened, rindless ewe’s or cow’s milk cheese from Itlay’s Piedmont and Lombardy regions; it has a snow-white, moist interior and a sweet-cream flavor.


An alkaloid found in a chile pepper’s placental ribs that provides the pepper’s heat.

Carafe (kah-RAHF)

A glass container used to serve wine (generally young, inexpensive wine), coffee, water or other beverages at the table; usually in liter and half-liter sizes and generally without a lid, cork or other stopper.


To heat sugar to very high temperatures, usually 310-360 degrees F; this causes the sugar to brown and develop a full rich, intense flavor.


A group of compounds composed of oxygen, hydrogen and carbon that supply the body with energy (4 calories per gram); carbohydrates are classified as simple (including certain sugars) and complex (including starches and fiber).


A naturally occurring pigment that predominates in red and yellow vegetables such as carrots and red peppers.

Carryover Cooking

The cooking that occurs after a food is removed from a heat source; it is accomplished by the residual heat remaining in the food.


Also known as gristle, a tough, elastic, whitish connective tissue that helps give structure to an animal’s body.


To cut cooked meat or poultry into portions.


The outer covering or membrane of a sausage; it holds the forcemeat or other fillings; a casing can be made from animal intestines, collagen or artificial materials.


1. Any of a variety of baked dishes made with meat, poultry, fish, shellfish, pasta and/or vegetables, bound with a sauce and often topped with bread crumbs, cheese or the like.
2. The deep dish, usually with two handles and a tight-fitting lid and made of ceramic or glass, used to bake and serve these foods.


A small glass, ceramic or metal bottle with a perforated top used for sprinkling sugar, pepper, dry mustard or other dry seasonings or ingredients on food.


A substance causing or accelerating a chemical change in another substance or substances without itself being affected permanently by the process.

Caul Fat

The fatty membrane that lines the abdominal cavity of hogs and sheep; this thin, lacy, weblike net is used to wrap forcemeats and melts rapidly when cooked, thereby basting the item.

Caviar (kav-ee-AHR)

1. The salted roe of the sturgeon; the small spheres have a crisp texture that should pop in the mouth and have a pleasantly salty flavor; available fresh or pasteurized in tins and jars.
2. An improperly and imprecisely used term to describe the roe of fish such as whitefish, lumpfish, salmon, herring, pike and perch.

Cayenne; Cayenne Pepper (KI-yen; KAY-yen)

1. A hot, pungent, peppery powder blended from various ground, dried hot chiles and salt; it has a bright orange-red color and fine texture; also known as red pepper.
2. A dried, thin, short chile with a bright red color, thin flesh and hot, tart, acidic flavor; usually used ground.

Cellar Temperature

The temperature of a wine cellar, it is generally cool, approximately 55-60 degrees F, although it can fluctuate from 45-70 degrees F.


A complex carbohydrate found in the cell wall of plants; it is edible but indigestible by humans.

Chablis (shah-blee)

1. A white Burgundy wine made from Chardonnay grapes and named for the village and surrounding area in northern Burgundy, France, where it is produced; generally dry, it has a pale straw color and can be thin and tart or rich and full.
2. In the United States and Australia, a sometimes imprecisely used term to describe any inexpensive and not necessarily dry white wine.

Chafing Dish

A dish used to warm or cook foods; it consists of a container with a heat source (candle, solid fuel or electric element) directly beneath it; the container can be an assemblage similar to a bain marie; also known as rechaud, which is French for reheat.

Chalupa (chah-LOO-pah)

Corn tortilla dough formed into the shape of a boat and fried; it is used in Mexican cuisine filled with shredded beef, pork, chicken, vegetables or cheese.

Chalazae Cords

Thick, twisted strands of egg white that anchor the yolk in place.

Chambord (sham-bor)

A plum-colored, sweet French liqueur with a black raspberry flavor.

Champagne (cham-PANE-ya)

A sparkling wine from France’s Champagne region made by the methode champenoise using only three grape varieties: Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier.

Champagne Grapes

A variety of very small, purplish-black or reddish-brown grapes with a very sweet flavor; used for garnish and snacking and not for wine.

Champagne Vinegar

A vinegar with a pale color and a mild flavor; it is used for making salad dressings.

Chanterelle (shan-tuh-REHL)

A trumpet-shaped wild mushroom (Cantharellus cibarius) found in North America and Europe; it has a ruffled-edge cap, a yellow-orange color, a smooth, slightly chewy texture, a distinctive fruity, nutty flavor, and a clean, earthy aroma; several closely related species are sold under the same name.

Chantilly (shan-TIHL-lee; shahn-tee-YEE)

1. A general category of hot and cold emulsified French sauces to which whipped cream is added; the sauces are also known as mousselines.
2. Lightly sweetened whipped cream sometimes flavored with vanilla and used as a dessert topping.

Chao Mein; Chow Mein (chow MAYN)

1. Chinese fried noodles.
2. A Chinese-American dish of chicken, shrimp, beef and/or pork stir-fried with vegetables such as bean sprouts, mushrooms, water chestnuts, bamboo shoots and onions and served over noodles.

Chaource (shah-oorceh)

A soft, camembert-style cheese made in France’s Champagne region from whole cow’s milk; it has a fruity, rich flavor.

Chapon (shah-POHN)

A bread crust rubbed with garlic and used to garnish a salad or a thin soup or to rub inside a bowl to impart a slight garlic flavor to its contents.

Charcuterie (shahr-COO-tuhr-ree; shahr-coo-tuhr-EE)

1. The production of pates, terrines, galantines, sausages, crepinettes and similar foods.
2. The shop where such foods are made and/or sold.
3. Originally referred only to products produced from pork.


1. A general term for the leafstalk of leafy green vegetables; also known as midrib.
2. A member of the beet family; it has crinkly dark green leaves and silvery, celerylike stalk; the leaves are prepared like spinach and have a similar tart flavor, and the stalks are prepared like asparagus and have a tart, somewhat bitter flavor; also known as Swiss chard.

Chardonnay (shar-doh-nay)

1. Considered by some the finest white wine grape, it is planted worldwide and used for the great French white Burgundies and sparkling wines; sometimes called Pinot Chardonnay, even though not a member of the Pinot family.
2. White wines made from this grape; they range from clean, crisp and with a hint of fruit to rich and complex.
3. A sparkling white wine made from this grape.

Charlotte (SHAR-loht)

A French dessert in which a mold is lined with ladyfingers, sponge cake or bread, then filled with Bavarian cream and/or fruit, chilled, and unmolded for service.


A food prepared on a hot grill or cooking surface; the food’s surface is usually well cooked, with a roasted, caramelized flavor, while the interior is rare.


1. The process of searing the outside of a food, usually on a hot grill or cooking surface.
2. The process of burning the inside of a barrel that will be used for wine, whiskey, brandy, or other distilled spirits; this helps color, mellow and age the barrel’s contents.

Chateaubriand (sha-toh-bree-AHN)

A thick slice of filet of beef tenderloin grilled and traditionally served with chateau potatoes or souffle potatoes and bearnaise sauce.

Chayote (chy-OH-tay)

A sqashlike, pear-shaped fruit native to Central America; used like a vegetable, it has a pale green furrowed or slightly lumpy skin, a white-green flesh, a single seed, and a bland, somewhat starchy, cucumber-like flavor; also known as mirliton and vegetable pear.

Cheddar, American

A firm cheese made from whole cow’s milk produced principally in Winsconsin, New York and Vermont; its color ranges from white to orange and its flavor from mild to very sharp.

Cheese Balls

Mashed cheese mixed with herbs and/or other flavorings and reshaped into balls; the balls are then sometimes coated in herbs, nuts or other garnishes; usually served as an hors d’oeuvre.


A rich, smooth dessert made by blending cream cheese, cottage cheese or ricotta with sugar, eggs and other flavorings, then baking; usually prepared in a springform pan dusted with cookie crumbs or ground nuts; the baked dessert is often topped with sour cream or fruit.


A loosely woven cotton gauze used for straining stocks and sauces and wrapping poultry and fish for poaching.

Cheese Plane

A spade-shaped utensil with a single slot; the cutting edge, on the front side of the slot, is parallel to and just below the flat blade and tilts upward at a 25 degree angle; cheese is sliced by pulling the plane across it; the edge cuts the cheese, and the slice is lifted through the slot to rest on the plane’s top.

Cheese Wire

A long, thin wire with handles at each end used to cut a round of cheese into wedges.

Chef’s Knife

An all-purpose knife used for chopping, slicing and mincing; its tapering blade is 8-14″ long.

Chemical Leavening Agents

Chemicals added to batters and doughs to assist leavening through the production of carbon dioxide released as the result of chemical reactions between acids and bases.

Chemise; En Chemise (she-meez; ahn she-meez)

1. The cloth towel used by servers to wipe the neck of a wine bottle after each pouring.
2. The cloth towel used to pat dry a bottle of wine or sparkling wine after it is removed from an ice bucket; it is placed around the bottle.

Chenin Blanc (sheh-nan-blahn)

1. A white wine grape grown predominantly in California, France’s Loire Valley and South Africa; also known as Steen. 2. A white wine made from this grape; it can range from clean, crisp and fruity to rich, sweet and honeyed.

Cherries Jubilee

A dessert made by topping vanilla ice cream with dark, pitted cherries that were sauteed with sugar and Kirsch or brandy; the cherry mixture is often flamed table side.

Cherry, Sour

Any of a variety of cherries with a skin and flesh color varying from light to dark red and an acidic, tart flavor; they are usually cooked with sugar and used as a pie or pastry filling; also known as a tart cherry.

Cherry, Sweet

Any of a variety of cherries that are spherical to heart shaped, with a skin and flesh color varying from pale yellow to dark red, a juicy flesh and a sweet flavor; they are eaten fresh, candied or in baked goods.

Cherry Tomato

1. A small spherical tomato with a bright red or yellow skin; the yellow-skinned variety has a less acidic and blander flavor than the red-skinned variety.
2. An imprecisely used term for any of several varieties of small, spherical tomatoes.

Chess Pie

A dessert from the American South consisting of a flaky pie shell filled with a sweet custard made from sugar, eggs, butter and small amounts of vinegar and cornmeal or flour; when baked, the filling becomes dense and translucent, with a thin, crisp, crusty top.


The nut of the sweet chestnut tree; edible when cooked, it has a dark brown outer shell, a bitter inner skin, and a high starch content; it is used in savory and sweet dishes.

Chestnut Pan

A shallow frying pan with a perforated bottom used to roast chestnuts; designed to permit some contact between the food and the heat source (usually a flame).

Chevre (SHEHV-ruh)

1. French for goat.
2. Any French goat’s milk cheese; usually pure white with a tart flavor, their textures can range from soft, moist and creamy to dry, firm and crumbly and their shapes from small to medium-sized cones, cylinders, disks or pyramids left ungarnished or covered with black ash, leaves, herbs, or pepper.

Chianti (k’yahn-tee)

A red wine made in Tuscany, Italy, principally from Sangiovese grapes mixed with small amounts of Canaiolo grapes and the white Malvasia grapes; the young wines are refreshing and tart, and the older wines aged in wooden casks are richer and more complex.

Chicken A La King

An American dish of diced chicken (or turkey) in a cream sauce with pimientos, mushrooms, green peppers and sometimes sherry.

Chicken Tetrazzini (teh-trah-ZEE-nee)

An Italian dish consisting of spaghetti and julienne of chicken bound with a sherry and Parmesan sauce, topped with bread crumbs and/or Parmesan and baked; originally made with swan; turkey can be substituted for the chicken.

Chickpea; Chick-pea

A somewhat spherical, irregular-shaped, pealike seed of a plant native to the Mediterranean region; it has a buff color, a firm texture, and a nutty flavor; used in Mediterranean and Middle Eastern cuisines in soups, stews and salads, it is also roasted and eaten as a snack; also known as ceci and garbanzo bean.
Chiffonade (chef-fon-nahd)

V. To finely slice or shred leafy vegetables or herbs. N. Finely cut leafy vegetables or herbs often used as a garnish or bedding.

Chile Oil

A vegetable oil in which hot red chiles have been steeped to impart flavor and color; used as a cooking medium and flavoring in Asian cuisines.

Chile Rellenos (CHEE-leh rreh-YEH-nohs)

A Mexican dish of mild roasted chiles stuffed with cheese, dipped in an egg batter and fried.

China Cap

A conical metal strainer with a perforated metal body; used for straining stocks and sauces and, with a pestle, to puree soft foods.

Chinois (sheen-WAH)

A conical metal strainer with a very fine mesh; it is used for straining stocks and sauces.

Chipotle (chih-POHT-lay)

A dried, smoked jalapeno; this medium-sized chile has a dull tan to dark brown color with a wrinkled skin and a smoky, slightly sweet, relatively mild flavor with undertones of tobacco and chocolate.


An herb and member of the onion family, with long, slender, hollow, green stems and purple flowers; the stems have a mild, onionlike flavor and are generally fresh, although dried, chopped chives are available.


A naturally occuring pigment that predominates in green vegetables such as cabbage.

Chocolate-making process

The process by which chocolate is made; typically
(1) large pods containing cocoa beans are harvested from the tropical cacao tree;
(2) the beans are scraped out of the pods and allowed to ferment;
(3) the fermented beans are dried in the sun and then packed and shipped to manufacturers;
(4) at the factory, the beans are blended and roasted to create the desired flavors and aromas;
(5) they are crushed and the shells are removed;
(6) the cleaned cocoa kernels, known as nibs, are milled into a thick paste, known as chocolate liquor or mass, which is distributed as unsweetened chocolate;
(7) the chocolate mass may be refined further by pressing it to remove the cocoa butter, leaving dry cocoa powder;
(8) cocoa butter, sugar, milk solids, vanilla and other flavorings can be added to the chocolate mass to produce various types of chocolate: bittersweet, semisweet or milk;
(9) after the flavorings are added, the mixture is blended and milled until smooth;
(10) some manufacturers refine the blended chocolate further through conching, which results in a velvetlike texture and added stability;
(11) the finished chocolate is poured into molds to harden, then wrapped and shipped to purchasers.


A fatty substance found in foods derived from animal products and in the human body; it has been linked to heart disease.


A cut of meat, including part of the rib. 2. To cut an item into small pieces where uniformity of size and shape is neither feasible nor necessary.

Chorizo (chor-EE-zoh; chor-EE-soh)

1. A Mexican sausage made from pork, seasoned with garlic and powdered chiles; usually cooked without the casing.
2. A Spanish sausage made from smoked pork, seasoned with garlic and powdered chiles; it is usually cooked without the casing.

Choux Pastry

See Eclair Paste.


A hearty soup made from fish, shellfish and/or vegetables, usually containing milk and potatoes and often thickened with roux.


From the Hindi chatni, it is a condiment made from fruit, vinegar, sugar and spices; its texture can range from smooth to chunky and its flavor from mild to hot.

Ciabatta (ch’yah-BAH-tah)

Italian for slipper and used to describe a slipper-shaped loaf of bread.


Mildly fermented apple juice; nonalcoholic, apple juice may also be labeled cider.

Cider Vinegar

A vinegar made by fermenting pure apple juice into hard cider and then exposing it to the air; clear, it has a pale brown color and a strong, somewhat harsh flavor.

Cilantro (thee-LAHN-troh)

The dark green, lacy leaves of the cilantro plant; used as an herb, they have a sharp, tangy, fresh flavor and aroma and are used fresh in Mexican, South American and Asian cuisines; also known as Chinese parsley.


Fruits characterized by a thick rind, most of which is a bitter white pith with a thin exterior layer of colored skin (zest); their flesh is segmented and juicy and varies from bitter to tart to sweet.

Clam Chowder, Manhattan

A clam chowder made with tomatoes.

Clam Chowder, New England

A clam chowder made with cream or milk; also known as Boston clam chowder.

Clam Knife

A small knife used to open clams; it has a rigid blade and a round tip.


A large group of bi-valve mollusks found in coastal saltwaters worldwide; they have hard or soft, beige, gray, blue or brown shells and juicy, often chewy, pinkish-tan to gray meat with a mild to sweet flavor.


1. The process of transforming a broth into a clear consomme by trapping impurities with a clearmeat consisting of the egg white protein albumen, ground meat, an acidic product, mirepoix and other ingredients.
2. The clearmeat used to clarify a broth.

Clarified Butter

Purified butterfat; the butter is melted and the water and milk solids are removed.

Classic Cuisine

A late 19th and early 20th-century refinement and simplification of French grande cuisine. Classic (or classical) cuisine relies on the thorough exploration of culinary principles and techniques, and emphasizes the refined preparation and presentation of superb ingredients.


A mixture of egg whites, ground meat, an acidic product and other ingredients; used to clarify a broth.


1. A spice that is the dried, unopened flower bud of a tropical evergreen tree; it has a reddish-brown color, a nail shape and an extremely pungent, sweet, astringent flavor; available whole or powdered.
2. A segment of a bulb, such as garlic.


The irreversible transformation of proteins from a liquid or semiliquid state to a drier, solid state; usually accomplished through the application of heat.

Coarsely Chop

To cut food into small pieces, about 3/16 inch square.

Coat A Spoon

A technique used to determine if a mixture such as a custard is done; it is done if the mixture clings to a spoon when held aloft and a line drawn across it does not disappear.


A deep-dish fruit tart with a rich, sweet, biscuit-type dough covering the fruit.

Cobb Salad

A salad of chopped chicken or turkey, tomatoes, avocado, bacon, hard-boiled eggs, scallions, Cheddar and lettuce dressed with a vinaigrette and garnished with a blue cheese.

Cocoa Butter

The fat found in cocoa beans and used in fine chocolates.

Cocoa Nibs

Roasted, shelled cocoa bean kernels.

Coconut Cream

1. A coconut-flavored liquid made like coconut milk but with less water; it is creamier and thicker than coconut milk.
2. The thick fatty portion that separates and rises to the top of canned or frozen coconut milk. Do not substitute cream of coconut for true coconut cream.

Coconut Milk

A coconut-flavored liquid made by pouring boiling water over shredded coconut; may be sweetened or unsweetened. Do not substitute cream of coconut for coconut milk.

Coconut Water

The thin, slightly opaque liquid contained within a fresh coconut.

Coffee Grinder

A machine that grinds roasted coffee beans before brewing; it can be electric or manual, with the fineness of the grind

Cognac (kohn-yahk)

A brandy distilled from wines made from Folle Blanche, Saint-Emilion and Colombard grapes grown within France’s Charente and Charente-Martime departments; it is distilled in a two-step process and aged in Limousin oak barrels, sometimes for as long as 50-55 years.

Cointreau (KWAHN-troh)

A clear, colorless, orange-flavored French liqueur.

Cojita (ko HEE-ta)

An aged, hard, salty Mexican cow’s-milk cheese; similar to feta, although not soaked in brine.


A bowl-shaped utensil with many perforations and usually short legs; it is used to drain liquids from solids.

Cold Cuts

Thin slices of various meats, such as ham, roast beef, salami and turkey, and sometimes cheeses, sliced and served cold, usually for a sandwich or salad.

Cold Pressed

A method of extracting oil from olives without the use of heat; usually the first pressing.


A water-insoluble protein found in connective tissues such as skin, ligaments, tendons and cartilage; it yields gelatin when cooked with moist heat.

Combination Cooking Methods

Cooking Methods, principally braising and stewing, that employ both dry-heat and moist-heat procedures.

Common Meringue

A mixture of stiffly beaten egg whites and granulated sugar; depending on its intended use, it may be soft (made with equal parts egg white and sugar) or hard (made with at least twice as much sugar as egg white).

Composed Salad

A salad prepared by arranging each of the ingredients (the base, body, garnish and dressing) on individual plates in an artistic fashion.


Fresh or dried fruit cooked in a sugar syrup.

Compound Butter

A mixture of softened whole butter and flavorings used as sauce or to flavor and color other sauces; also known as beurre compose.

Concassee (kon-kaas-SAY)

Peeled, seeded and diced tomatoes.


To remove moisture from a food, principally by boiling, drying or freeze-drying. The resulting product; it can be dry or syrupy and usually has a rich, very full flavor and is used as a flavoring or is rehydrated.


A medium-sized to large gastropod mollusk found in the Caribbean Sea and off Florida; it has a peachy-pink spiral shell and a lean, smooth, and very firm, chewy flesh with a sweet-smoky flavor.


Traditionally, any item added to a dish for flavor, including herbs, spices and vinegars; now also refers to cooked or prepared flavorings or accompaniments such as relishes, prepared mustards, ketchup, bottled sauces and pickles; unlike seasonings, condiments are typically added to a dish by the diner.


The transfer of heat from one item to another through direct contact.


A general term for any kind of candy or other sweet preparation.

Confectioners’ Sugar

Refined sugar ground into a fine, white, easily dissolved powder; also known as powdered sugar and 10X sugar.

Confit (kohn-FEE)

A method of preserving meats, especially poultry, associated with southwestern France; the meat is cooked in its own fat and stored in a pot covered with the same fat.


To change from a liquid to a solid state; to become set, firm or rigid, usually by chilling.

Connective Tissues

Tissues found throughout an animal’s body that hold together and support other tissues such as muscles.


A spread for baked goods made from fruits, nuts and sugar cooked until thick.

Consomme (kwang-soh-may)

1. A rich stock or broth that has been clarified with a clearmeat.
2. French for soup and used to describe a clear, thin, flavorful broth.


In the food safety context, to render an object or environment impure or unsuitable by contact or mixture with unclean or unwanted matter.

Continental Breakfast

A breakfast of bread (toast, croissants, pastries or the like) and a beverage (coffee, tea, milk or juice).

Convection Oven

An oven in which the heat is circulated by an interior fan.


The art, practice or work of cooking.

Cookie Press; Cookie Gun

A tool consisting of a hollow tube fitted at one end with a decorative template or nozzle and at the other with a trigger for forcing soft cookie dough through the template to create the desired shape.


The transfer of energy from a heat source to a food; this energy alters the food’s molecular structure, changing its texture, flavor, aroma and appearance.


Any of a large variety of vessels and containers used on the stove top or in an oven to cook food or store it; they can be made of metal, glass, ceramics or the like and incude pots, pans, hotel pans and molds.


To allow a food to sit until it is no longer warm to the touch.

Cooling Rack

A flat grid of closely spaced metal wires resting on small feet; used for cooling baked goods by allowing air to circulate around the food.

Copper Bowl

A round-bottomed, unlined copper bowl available in various sizes and usually used for whisking egg whites.

Coq au vin (kohk oh VAHN)

A French dish of chicken, mushrooms, onions and bacon or salt pork cooked in red wine.

Coquilles Saint Jacques (koh-kee-san zhahk)

A French dish of scallops in a creamy wine sauce (sauce Mornay), topped with bread crumbs or cheese and browned; usually served in a scallop shell.

Cordon Bleu (kor-dohn-BLUH)

A French dish consisting of thin boneless chicken breasts or veal scallops sandwiched around a thin slice of prosciutto or other ham and an emmenthal-style cheese, then breaded and sauteed.


To remove the central seeded area from a fruit. The center part of pomes (fruits from the family Rosaceae such as apples, pears and quince); sometimes tough and woody, it contains the fruit’s small seeds (called pips).

Coriander (KOR-ee-an-der)

The tiny yellow-tan ridged seeds of the cilantro plant; used as a spice, they have a flavor reminiscent of lemon, sage and caraway.


A bottle stopper carved from this material or formed from such bark granules bound with an adhesive.


A restaurant’s charge for opening, cooling (if necessary) and pouring a bottle of wine brought by a customer to the restaurant for his or her use.


A wine-tasting term for an unpleasant earthy or moldy aroma and/or flavor caused by a flawed cork.

Corn Bread Dressing

A poultry stuffing made with crumbled corn bread, sausage, onions, celery and herbs.

Cornichon (KOR-nih-shohn; kor-nee-SHOHN)

French for a tiny pickled gherkin cucumber; it is the traditional accompaniment to a meat pate.

Corn Oil

A pale yellow oil obtained from corn endosperms; it is odorless, almost flavorless and high in polyunsaturated fats and has a high smoke point; a good medium for frying and also used in baking, dressings and to make margarine.


A dense, very fine, powdery flour made from ground endosperm and used as a thickening agent; also known as corn flour (especially in Great Britain).

Corn Syrup

A thick, sweet syrup derived from cornstarch and composed of dextrose and glucose; available as clear (light) or brown (dark), which has caramel flavor and color added.

Correct Seasonings

1. To taste a food just before service and add seasonings, especially salt and freshly ground black pepper, if necessary. 2. To reduce a strong flavor by adding a liquid.


A firm but chewy confection made with cooked apricots, gelatin and nuts.

Cottage Cheese

A soft, fresh cheese made from skimmed cow’s milk or reconstituted skimmed or nonfat dry cow’s milk powders; it has a white color, a moist, large grain texture and a mild, slightly tart flavor; it cannot contain more than 80% moisture; available flavored or unflavored in three forms: small curd, medium curd and large curd; also known as curd cheese.

Cottonseed Oil

A thick, colorless oil obtained from the seeds of the cotton plant; it is usually blended with other oils to make highly refined products sold as vegetable or cooking oil.

Coulant (koo-LAHN)

French for flowing and used to describe Brie, Camembert and other soft cheeses, the interiors of which ooze from the rind at the appropriate temperature.

Coulis (koo-lee)

1. A sauce made from a puree of vegetables or fruit; it may be hot or cold.
2. Traditionally, thickened meat juices used as a sauce.

Country Gravy

A gravy made from pan drippings, flour and milk; consistency can vary from thick to thin.


A plastic conical tube with a screw-on cover or nut; the conical piece is placed inside a pastry bag and a pastry tip is attached to the bag with the nut; used to allow pastry tips to be changed during decorating without emptying the pastry bag.

Court Bouillon (kort boo-yon)

Water simmered with vegetables, seasonings and an acidic product such as vinegar or wine; used for simmering or poaching fish, shellfish or vegetables.

Couscous (KOOS-koos)

Small, spherical bits of semolina dough that are rolled, dampened and coated with a finer wheat flour; a staple of the North African diet.

Covered-Dish Supper; Covered-Dish Social

A social event for which prepared foods are brought and shared with other guests; also known as a potluck supper.


Any of a large variety of crustaceans found in freshwaters and saltwaters worldwide; generally, they have a flat, round body with 10 legs, the front 2 being pinchers, and a pink-tinged white flesh with a sweet, succulent flavor; significant varieties include the blue, dungeness, king, snow and stone crabs.

Crab, Claw Meat

A market form of the blue crab; it consists of the brownish claw meat.

Crab, Lump Meat

A market form of the blue crab; it consists of whole, relatively large chunks of meat from the large body muscles.

Crab, Soft-Shell

A blue crab harvested within 6 hours after molting; it has a soft, pliable, brownish-green shell and an average market width of 3.5 in.; once cooked, the entire crab is eaten; it has a crunchy texture and a mild flavor; available fresh or frozen.

Crab Cake

A mixture of lump crabmeat, bread crumbs, milk, egg, scallions and seasonings formed into small cakes and fried.

Crab Louis (LOO-ee)

A cold dish of crabmeat on a shredded lettuce bed, dressed with mayonnaise, chiles, cream, scallions, green pepper, lemon juice and seasonings and garnished with tomatoes and hard-boiled eggs.

Cracked Wheat

The whole wheat berry broken into coarse, medium or fine particles.

Cracklings; Cracklin’s

The crisp pork rind after the fat has been rendered.

Cranberry; Craneberry

A small red berry of a plant with low, trailing vines that grows in American bogs; it has a tart flavor and is used for sauces, preserves, beverages and baked goods; also known as American cranberry, bounceberry and bearberry.


Any of several freshwater crustaceans found in North America; generally, they resemble small lobsters, with a brilliant red shell when cooked.


A component of milk with a milkfat content of at least 18%; it has a slight yellow to ivory color, is more viscous and richer tasting than milk, and can be whipped to a foam; it rises to the top of raw milk; as a commercial product, it must be pasteurized or ultrapasteurized and may be homogenized.

Cream, Heavy Whipping

Cream with a milkfat content of 36-40%; pasteurized but rarely homogenized; it is used for thickening and enriching sauces and making ice cream; can be whipped to a foam and used as a dessert topping or folded into custards or mousses for flavor and lightness.

Cream, Light

Cream with a milkfat content of 18-30% and typically used for coffee, baked goods and soups; also known as breakfast cream, coffee cream and table cream.

Cream Cheese

A fresh, soft, mild, white cheese made from cow’s cream or a mixture of cow’s cream and milk; used for baking, dips, dressings, confections and spreading on bread products; it must contain 33% milkfat and not more than 55% moisture and is available, sometimes flavored, in various-sized blocks or whipped.

Cream Filling

A pie filling made of flavored pastry cream thickened with cornstarch.

Cream Horn

A small pastry made by wrapping thin strips of puff pastry around a cone-shaped metal form and baking; the baked horn is then removed from the form and filled with whipped cream or custard.


A mixing method in which softened fat and sugar are combined vigorously to incorporate air; used for making some quick breads, cookies and high-fat cakes.

Cream Of Coconut

A canned commercial product consisting of thick, sweetened coconut-flavored liquid; used for baking and in beverages.

Cream Of Tartar

Tartaric acid; a fine white powder derived from an acid found on the inside of wine barrels after fermentation; it is used to give volume and stability to beaten egg whites and to prevent sugar from crystallizing when making candy or frosting.

Cream Puff

A small round shell made from choux pastry and filled with custard or whipped cream; served alone or as part of another dessert.

font color=”#008000″ size=”+1″>Cream Sauce

A sauce made by adding cream to a bechamel sauce.

Creme Brulee (broo-lay)

French for burned cream and used to describe a rich custard topped with a crust of caramelized sugar.

Creme Fraiche (krehm fraysh)

A cultured cream product with a tart, tangy flavor similar to sour cream but thinner and richer; used in French cooking.

Creole Cooking

A cuisine combining elements of French, Spanish and African cuisines and native to New Orleans, Louisiana; it is characterized by the use of butter, cream, green peppers, onions, celery, file powder and tomatoes.

Creole Sauce

An American sauce consisting of onions, green and red peppers, celery, tomatoes and tomato paste, flavored with bay leaves.

Crepe (krayp)

A thin, delicate, unleavened griddle cake made with a very thin egg batter cooked in a very hot saute pan; used in sweet and savory preparations.

Crepe Pan

A low pan with a heavy bottom, sloping sides and a smooth surface; it is sized by diameter of the crepe made: 5-6 in. for dessert crepes and 6-7 in. for entree crepes.

Crepes Suzette (kraypz sue-zeht)

A dessert consisting of sweet crepes sauteed in orange butter, then flamed with an orange liquor or brandy.

Crimini (kree-MEE-nee)

Italian for various common store mushrooms.


1. To pinch or press together the edges of pastry dough using fingers, a fork or other utensil; the decorative edge seals the dough.,br.2. To cut gashes along both sides of a fresh fish; the fish is then soaked in ice water to firm the flesh and help the skin crisp when cooked.


A hand tool with two crimping disks axle-set flush against either side of a cutting wheel; it can press, crimp and cut dough simultaneously; used for ravioli, empanadas, turnovers and other pastry doughs; also known as a doughspur.


To refresh vegetables such as carrots or celery by soaking them in ice water or baked goods such as crackers by heating them. Adj. A description of produce that is firm and fresh and not soft or wilted or a baked good that is hard and brittle and not soft.


An electrical appliance that simmers food slowly for extended periods of time in a covered glass or ceramic pot.

Croissant (kwah-SAHN; kwah-SAHNT)

A rich, buttery, crescent-shaped roll made with flaky yeast dough.

Croissant Dough

A rolled-in or laminated dough made with yeast and large quantities of butter; used for making croissants and other pastries.

Crookneck Squash

A summer squash with a long slender neck and bulbous body, a pale to deep yellow skin with a smooth to bumpy texture, a creamy yellow flesh, and a mild, delicate flavor; also known as yellow squash.

Croquette (kroh-keht)

A food such as salmon or potatoes that has been pureed and/or bound with a thick sauce, formed into small shapes, breaded and deep-fried.

Crostini (kroh-STEE-nee)

1. Italian for little toasts and used to describe small, thin slices of toasted bread, usually brushed with olive oil.
2. Canapes of thin toasted bread with a savory topping.
3. Croutons used for soups or salads.

Croute, En (awn KROOT)

A food wrapped in pastry and baked.

Crouton (KROO-tawn)

1. A small piece of bread, often seasoned, that has been toasted, grilled or fried; it is used as a garnish for soups or salads.
2. A small piece of aspic, usually in a decorative shape, used to garnish a cold dish.

Crown Roast

1. A fabricated cut of the lamb primal rack; it is formed by tying the ribs in a circle; after roasting, the tips can be decorated with paper frills and the hollow center section filled with a stuffing.
2. A fabricated cut of the pork primal loin; similar to the lamb cut.

Crudites (krew-dee-TAY)

Raw vegetables usually served as hors d’ oeuvres accompanied by a dipping sauce.

Cruller (KRUHL-uhr)

A Dutch doughnut-type pastry made from a twisted strip of deep-fried dough topped with sugar or sugar glaze.


The texture of a food, especially breads or baked goods.


A tasting term for a food that has a tendency to fall apart or break into small pieces.


A small, thin, round, yeast-leavened British batter bread cooked on a griddle or stove top, similar to an English muffin.


1. To reduce a food to its finest form; it is often done with a mortar and pestle.
2. To smash an ingredient such as garlic or ginger with the side of a knife or cleaver to release their flavors or facilitate cooking.


1. The hardened outer layer of a food such as a bread or a casserole.
2. A pie or tart shell.


One of the principal classes of shellfish; they are characterized by a hard outer shell and jointed appendages; includes crabs, lobsters and shrimp.


The process of forming sugar crystals.

Crystallized Fruits

Small fruits or segments of larger ones soaked in a thick sugar syrup heated to 220-224 degrees F, drained and dried; sugar crystals are left on the fruits.

Cubanelle Pepper

A long, tapered sweet pepper with a yellow or red color.

Cuisine (kwih-ZEEN)

1. French for the art of cookery.
2. French for kitchen.


Of or relating to a kitchen or the activity of cooking.


Used to describe any dairy product made from milk inoculated with certain bacteria or molds to achieve flavor, aroma and texture characteristics in the final product.


The separation of milk or egg mixtures into liquid and solid components; generally caused by excessive heat, overcooking or the presence of acids.


Any of several methods of processing foods, particularly meats and fish, to retard spoiling.


Dried Zante grapes; seedless, they resemble very small, dark raisins and are used in baked goods and for snacking.


Any liquid thickened by the coagulation of egg proteins; its consistency depends on the ratio of eggs to liquid and the type of liquid used; it can be baked in the oven in a bain marie, or on the stove top.

Cut In

A technique for combining solid fat with dry ingredients until the mixture resembles small crumbs; it is done with a pastry fork, pastry blender, two knives, fingers, a food processor or an electric mixer.


A relatively thick, boneless slice of meat.

Cutting and Folding

The process of repeatedly moving a spatula or spoon vertically through a mixture, lifting the ingredients and turning the ingredients over to achieve a uniform disbursement; often used in the context of adding beaten egg whites; also known as folding.

Daiquiri (dak-ree)

A cocktail traditionally made of rum, lime juice and sugar; sometimes pureed fruit are blended into the mix.

Dairy Products

Include cow’s milk and foods produced from cow’s milk such as butter, yogurt, sour cream and cheese; sometimes other milks and products made from them are included (e.g., goat’s milk cheese).


A plant with bright green jagged-edged leaves that have a slightly bitter, tangy flavor and are used in salads or cooked like spinach.

Danish Pastry

A breakfast pastry made with a sweet, buttery, flaky yeast dough filled with fruit, nuts or cheese and sometimes glazed.

Dark Beer

A full-bodied, deep-colored and creamy-tasting beer usually produced by adding roasted barley to the mash during the initial brewing stages.

Dark Meat

The leg and thigh flesh of a chicken or turkey; it has a dark grayish-brown color when cooked and more connective tissue and fat than light meat; the darker color is the result of the increased myoglobin content in these frequently used muscles; other birds, such as duck or goose, are all dark meat.


A traditional measure of volume; it refers to a small amount of a seasoning that is added to a dish by a quick, downward stroke of the hand and is approximately 1/16 or 1/8 teaspoon.


The fruit of a palm tree native to the Middle East and Mediterranean region; most varieties are long and ovoid (some are more spherical) with a thin, papery skin that is green and becomes yellow, golden brown, black or mahogany red when ripe; it has an extremely sweet flesh with a light brown color, a chewy texture and a single, long, narrow seed; eaten fresh or dried.

Daube (doab)

A French dish consisting of beef, red wine, vegetables and seasoning braised in a daubiere.


To remove the bones from a cut of meat, fish or poultry.


The glass container into which wine is decanted before serving; it usually has a stopper and a capacity of 750 or 1500 ml.


A sweet or savory pie made in a deep pie dish or a shallow casserole and having only a top crust.


A dry-heat cooking method that uses convection to transfer heat to a food submerged in hot fat; foods to be deep-fried are usually first coated in batter or breading.


To swirl or stir a liquid (usually wine or stock) in a pan to dissolve cooked food particles remaining on the bottom; the resulting mixture often becomes the base for a sauce.


To skim the fat from the top of a liquid such as a sauce or stock.


To remove or lose water.

Demi-Glace (deh-me-glass)

French for half-glaze and used to describe a mixture of half brown stock and half brown sauce reduced by half.

Demi-Sec (deh-mee-seck)

French for half dry; applied to sparkling wines or Champagne, it indicates a relatively sweet wine with 3.5-5% sugar.


The compactness of a substance; the degree of opacity of any translucent medium.


The sediment a wine forms during bottle aging; sometimes referred to as a crust.


The last course of a meal; a sweet preparation, fruit or cheese is usually served.

Dessert Wine

A sweet wine served with dessert or after a meal; it includes those whose grapes were affected by the noble rot, wines made from dried or partially dried grapes and fortified wines.


The process of removing a shrimp’s digestive tract.

Developing Dough

Mixing a dough to make it smoother; the dough is developed when it pulls away from the sides of the bowl.

Deviled Eggs

Hard-boiled eggs whose yolks are removed from the white, mashed, seasoned and bound with mayonnaise; the mixture is then returned to the white using a pastry tube or spoon.

Devil’s Food Cake

A very rich, moist chocolate cake leavened with baking soda, which gives the cake a reddish-brown color.


Any of a variety of blackberries grown on trailing vines; the berry is smaller than an ordinary blackberry and has fewer and larger drupelets.

Diable, Sauce (dee-AHB-luh)

A French compound sauce made from a demi-glaze flavored with shallots, white wine, vinegar, herbs, dry mustard, black pepper and cayenne and garnished with parsley.

Diagonal Slicing

A cutting method in which the food is sliced at an angle of approximately 60 degrees.


1. To cut food into cubes.
2. The cubes of cut food.

Dietary Fiber

Carbohydrates such as cellulose, lignin, and pectin that are resistant to digestion but nutritionally significant because they add bulk to the diet by absorbing large amounts of water and facilitate elimination by producing large stools; also known as roughage.

Dijon (deh-zjohn)

A French prepared mustard made in the Dijon region from black or brown mustard seeds blended with salt, spices and white wine verjuice; it has a clean, sharp, medium-hot flavor, a yellow-gray color and a creamy texture.


To reduce a mixture’s strength or flavor by adding a liquid, usually water.


A thick creamy sauce or condiment to accompany raw vegetables, crackers, processed snack foods such as potato chips or the like, especially as an hors d’ oeuvre; usually made with a mayonnaise, sour cream or cream cheese base and flavorings.

Dirty Rice

A Cajun dish of rice cooked with chicken livers or gizzards and onions and flavored with bacon fat.


To divide two bones (with flesh attached) at their joint.

Distilled White Vinegar

A vinegar made from a grain alcohol mixture; clear and colorless, it has a rather harsh, biting flavor.


Pricking small holes in an unbaked dough or crust to allow steam to escape and to prevent the dough from rising when baked.

Double-Acting Baking Powder

A chemical leavening agent that releases carbon dioxide gas when moistened and again when heated.

Double Crust

A pie, cobbler or other pastry prepared with both a top and bottom layer of dough.

Double-Frying Process

A moist-heat cooking method in which a food is first deep-fried at one temperature and then deep-fried again at a higher temperature, causing the food to puff up.


A mixture of flour and other ingredients used in baking and often stiff enough to cut into shapes; it has a low moisture content and gluten forms the continuous medium into which other ingredients are embedded; it generally has less fat, sugar and liquid than a batter.

Dough Cutter; Dough Scaper

A thin, rectangular piece of unsharpened stainless steel topped with a wooden or plastic handle; used to cut portions of dough, to clean wooden worktables; and to lift or move foods; also known as a bench scraper.

Dough Divider

A stainless steel tool composed of several cutting wheels attached to metal bars on an expandable, accordian-like frame; used to cut several evenly sized strips of dough at once; also known as a Danish cutter or an expandable pastry cutter.

Doughnut; Donut

A small round or ring-shaped cake of sweet, leavened dough that is deep-fried, often coated with glaze, sugar or frosting and sometimes filled.


1. To allow a liquid to withdraw from, pour out of or pour off an item, sometimes with the use of a strainer or colander.
2. To blot fat from a food. A device facilitating or channeling the withdrawing liquid.


Coating a food with flour or finely ground crumbs; usually done prior to sauteing or frying or as the first step of the standarized breading procedure.


1. To prepare game, foul or fish for cooking by eviscerating, plucking, trussing, cleaning, scaling and so on.
2. To add a vinaigrette or other salad dressing to a salad.
3. To set and decorate a table or room for a festive occasion.,br>4. To add an unexpected touch to a dish or meal.

Dried Fruit

Fruit from which most of the moisture has been removed through a natural or artificial dehydration process. Dried fruit usually has 4-5 times the calories by weight as fresh fruit and can be stored for 1 year.

Dried Milk; Dry Milk Powder

A product made from whole milk from which the water has been extracted, leaving the milkfat and milk solids in a dried, powdery form.

Dried Milk, Nonfat; Dry Milk Powder, Nonfat

A product made from skim milk from which the water has been extracted, leaving the milk solids in a dried, powdery form.

Drip Pan

A shallow pan used in a smoker to catch dripping fat or basting runoff.


The melted fat and juices released when meat is roasted; used as a flavoring, a sauce, a gravy base or a cooking medium; also known as pan drippings.


To pour a liquid in a very fine stream over a food or plate.

Drop Cookie

A cookie made by dropping spoonfuls of soft dough onto a baking sheet.


1. A tasting term for an alcoholic beverage, except Champagne or sparkling wine, that retains very little if any detectable sugar.
2. A Champagne or sparkling wine that is medium sweet.

Dry Aging

The process of storing meat under specific temperature and humidity conditions for up to 6 weeks to increase tenderness and flavor; it is the start of the natural decomposition process and can result in significant moisture loss.

Dry Curing

A method of curing meat or fish by packing it in salt and seasonings.

Dry-Heat Cooking Methods

Cooking methods, principally broiling, grilling, roasting and baking, sauteing, pan-frying and deep-frying, that use air or fat to transfer heat through conduction and convection; dry-heat cooking methods allow surface sugars to caramelize.

Dry Ice

The proprietary name of a form of crystallized carbon dioxide used as a coolant; it passes directly from a solid to a gas, absorbing a great deal of energy.

Duchess Potatoes; (duh-shees)

A puree of cooked potatoes, butter and egg yolks, seasoned with salt, pepper and nutmeg; it can be eaten as is or used to prepare several classic potato dishes.


One of the principal kinds of poultry recognized by the USDA; any of several varieties of domesticated webfooted swimming birds used for food; it has a high percentage and a rich flavor; significant varieties include the Long Island duck and muscovy duck.


A young duck.

Du Jour (doo-zhoor)

French for of the day and used to introduce a menu item that is a special for a particualr day, such as a soup.


1. A dessert made by covering a piece of fruit or fruit mixture with sweet dough and baking.
2. A dessert consisting of a small mound of sweet dough poached in a sweet sauce, usually served with cream.


1. To coat a food or utensil lightly with a powdery substance such as flour or confectioners’ sugar.
2. The smallest size of broken tea leaves or tea particles; generally used in tea bags.

Dusting Flour

Flour sprinkled on a workbench or other surface to prevent dough from sticking to the surface when being rolled or formed.