Culinary Terms E-F



Any of a variety of vessels or containers used for cooking, service or storage that are made of low-fired clays that are slightly porous and are usually glazed; they tend not to conduct heat well, but once hot, they will retain the heat.

Eclair (ay-clahr)

An oblong, finger-shaped French pastry made with choux dough, filled with pastry cream and topped with icing or glaze.


The ovoid, hard-shelled reproductive body produced by a bird, consisting principally of a yolk and albumen; it is a good source of protein, iron, sulfur and vitamins A, B, D and E, but also relatively high in cholesterol.

Egg, Quail

A small egg with speckled brown shell and a rich flavor.

Egg Custard

A dessert made with eggs, sugar and vanilla, usually baked in individual molds or cups.


A rich beverage made of eggs, cream or milk, sugar, spices and spirits (usually rum, brandy or whiskey).


A member of the nightshade family, its fruit is used like a vegetable; the fruit has a dense, khaki-colored flesh with a rather bland but sometimes bitter flavor that absorbs other flavors during cooking; also known as a guinea squash.

Egg Roll

A deep-fried Chinese pastry made from a thin flour and water dough wrapper folded around a savory filling of vegetables and sometimes meat.

Egg Roll Skins

Wafer-thin sheets of dough made from flour, eggs and salt and used to wrap fillings; available in squares or circles and used in Chinese and other Asian cuisines.

Sur La Table_Brand_88x31_WhiteBackground
Egg Separator

A small cuplike vessel with a slot running midway around the perimeter; the egg white slides through the slot, leaving the yolk in the cup.

Egg Slicer

A utensil with a hinged upper portion tautly strung with stainless steel wires and a base with an oval depression with slats that correspond to the wires; an egg is placed in the base and the top portion is brought down, cutting the egg into even slices.

Egg Substitute

A liquid product usually made of egg white, food starch, corn oil, skim milk powder, artifical coloring and other additives; it does not contain cholesterol and is generally used like real eggs.

Egg Wash

A mixture of beaten eggs (whole eggs, yolks or whites) and a liquid, usually milk or water, used to coat doughs before baking to add sheen.

Eggs Benedict

A brunch dish consisting of an English muffin topped with ham or Canadian bacon, a poached egg and hollandaise sauce.


A protein found in connective tissues, particularly ligaments and tendons, that does not dissolve when cooked; it often appears as the white or silver covering on meats known as silverskin.

Elephant Garlic

A member of the leek family; the very large cloves have a white outer layer, a pinkish-white interior and mild garlicky flavor.

Empanadas (ehm-pah-NAH-dah)

Deep-fried turnovers of various sizes, usually filled with meat, vegetables or a sweet filling; they are part of many South and Central American cuisines.


The process by which generally unmixable liquids, such as oil and water, are forced into a uniform distribution.


1. A uniform mixture of two unmixable liquids, often temporary.
2. A flavoring oil, such as those from citrus fruits, mixed into water with the aid of emulsifiers.

Enchilada (en-chuh-LAH-dah)

A Mexican dish consisting of a soft corn tortilla wrapped around fish, shellfish, poultry, meat or cheese and topped with a tomato-based salsa, cheese, guacamole and/or sour cream; enchiladas are also served stacked, topped with a fried egg.

Endive (ehn-deeve)

A plant with curly dark green leaves and a slightly bitter flavor; also known as curly endive and imprecisely known as chicory.


The largest part of a cereal grain and a source of protein and carbohydrates (starch); the part used primarily in milled products.

English Cucumber

A long, virtually seedles cucumber with a mild flavor and dark green skin; also known as a hothouse cucumber.

English Muffin

A thin, round bread made with yeast dough and baked on a griddle, usually split and toasted for service.


To thicken or enhance a sauce by adding butter, egg yolks or cream just before service.

Entree (ahng-tray)

1. In the United States, the main dish of a meal and often consisting of meat, poultry, fish or shellfish accompanied by a starch and/or vegetable.
2. In many European countries, the first course.

Escargot (ays-skahr-go)

French for snail.

Escoffier, Auguste

A chef known for refining and defining French cuisine and dining during the late 19th century; he operated dining rooms for the finest hotels in Europe, including the Savoy and the Carlton in London and the Place Vendome in Paris, and authored several culinary texts, including Ma Cuisine (1934) and a treatise for professional chefs, Le Guide Culinaire (1903).

Espagnole, Sauce (ess-spah-noyl)

A French leading sauce made of brown stock, mirepoix and tomatoes and thickened by brown roux; it is often used to produce a demiglaze; also known as brown sauce and Spanish sauce.

Espresso (ess-PRESS-o)

An Italian coffee-brewing method in which hot water is forced through finely ground and packed coffee (usually very dark roasted beans) under high pressure; the resulting beverage is thick, strong, rich and smooth, not bitter or acidic.

Espresso Powder

A powder made from dried roasted espresso beans; it is used to give a rich coffee flavor and aroma to pastries, desserts and confections.

Essential Oils

The volatile oils that give plants their distinctive fragrances; these oils, usually composed of esters, can be extracted or distilled from some flowers, leaves, seeds, resins or roots and used as aromatics and flavorings in cooking and the production of alcoholic beverages.

Ethnic Cuisine

The cuisine of a group of people having a common cultural heritage, as opposed to the cuisine of a group of people bound together by geography or political factors.


The process by which heated water molecules move faster and faster until the water turns to gas (steam) and vaporizes; evaporation is responsible for the drying of foods during cooking.


1. Concentrated mixtures of ethyl alcohol and flavoring oils such as vanilla, lemon and almond.
2. Concentrated flavors obtained by distilling, steeping and/or pressing foods.
3. Sugars derived from malt during the mashing process in brewing and distillation.
4. Nonvolatile and nonsoluble substances in wine such as acids, tannins and pigments; to the tester, they indicate the presence of elements that add flavor and character.

Extra Lean

A food-labeling term approved by the FDA to describe meat, poultry, game, fish or shellfish that contains less than 5 g. of fat, less than 2 g. of saturated fat and less than 95 mg of cholesterol per serving or per 100 g.


The holes found in some cheeses; they are formed by gases released during aging.


To cut a large item into smaller portions; often refers to the butchering of fish or shellfish.

Fajitas (fah-HEE-tuhs)

A Mexican-American dish consisting of strips of skirt steak marinated in lime juice, oil, garlic and red pepper, and then grilled; the diner wraps the meat in a flour tortilla and garnishes it with items such as grilled onions and peppers, guacamole, pico de gallo, refried beans, sour cream and salso; chicken, pork, fish and shellfish (usually shrimp) can be substituted.


The layer of fat that runs along a hog’s back just below the skin and above the eye muscle; usually available unsmoked and unsalted; used for lard and lardons and to prepare charcuterie items.


1. A general term used to describe a class of organic nutrients that includes the lipid family of compounds: triglycerides (fats and oils), phospholipids and sterols.

2. Nutrients composed of glycerol and 3 units of fatty acid; they occur naturally in animals and some plants and are used principally in the body to store energy from food eaten in excess of need (1 g. of fat delivers 2.25 times the calories delivered by 1 g. of carbohydrates of protein).
3. Lipids that are solid at room temperature.
4. A general term for butter, lard, shortening, oil and margarine used as cooking media or ingredients.

Fava Bean (FAH-vuh)

A large, flat, kidney-shaped bean with a tough pale green skin when fresh that turns brown when dried; the skin is usually removed before cooking; the interior is light green when fresh and cream colored when dried; available fresh, dried or canned and used in Mediterranean and Middle Eastern cuisines; also known as broad bean.

Fennel, Florence

A perennial plant with a broad, bulbous root, white to pale green celerylike stalks and bright green, feathery foliage; it has a flavor similar to but sweeter and more delicate than that of anise; the root is cooked like a vegetable, the foliage is used as a garnish or flavor enhancer and the stalks are used in salads or cooked; also known as finocchio and sweet fennel and known as finocchio and sweet fennel and known imprecisely as sweet anise.


1. The process by which yeast converts sugars to alcohol and carbon dioxide; this process is fundamental to the making of leavened breads, beers, wines and spirits.
2. The period that yeast bread dough is left to rise.
3. The process of souring milk with certain bacteria to create a specific dairy product.

Feta (FEH-tah)

1. A soft Greek cheese made from ewe’s milk (or occasionally goat’s milk) and pickled in brine; it has a white color, a crumbly texture, and a salty, sour, tangy flavor.
2. A soft, white, flaky American feta-style cheese made from cow’s milk and stored in brine.

Fettuccine Alfredo (feht-tuh-CHEE-nee)

An Italian dish of fettuccine mixed with a rich sauce of butter, cream and Parmesan and sprinkled with black pepper.

Fiasco (vee-ASK-co)

The hand-blown, round-bottomed bottle with a woven straw covering associated with Chianti; these bottles are now rarely used because of their expense.


Also known as dietary fiber; indigestible carbohydrates found in grains, fruits and vegetables; fiber aids digestion.


A variety of oblong or pear-shaped fruits that grow in warm climates; generally, they have a thick, soft skin that is green, yellow, orange or purple, a tannish-purple flesh, a sweet flavor, and many tiny edible seeds; available fresh or dried.

Fig Leaves

The dark green leaves of the fig tree; they are used in Mediterranean cuisines to wrap fish or poultry for grilling.

File Powder (fih-LAY; FEE lay)

The ground leaves of the sassafras tree; used in Cajun and Creole cuisines as a seasoning and thickener.

Filet Mignon (fee-lay me-NYON)

A fabricated cut of the short end of the tenderloin found in the beef short loin and sirloin primals; it is cut from the center of the tenderloin and is lean, very tender, flavorful and larger than a tournedo; also known as a beef filet.

Fillet (FILL-eh)

1. To fabricate a boneless cut of fish.
2. The side of a fish removed intact, boneless or semiboneless, with or without skin.

Finger Foods

Small portions of foods or small foods comfortably eaten in one bite; usually served as hors d’ oeuvre.


Any of a variety of small, long, thin potatoes.


To add butter to a sauce nearing completion to impart shine, flavor and richness.

Fish Sauce

A thin, dark brown liquid made from anchovy extract and salt; used as a flavoring, it has a very salty flavor and a strong, pungent aroma.

Fish Veloute

A veloute sauce made from fish stock.


1. To separate pieces of food into small slivers.
2. A small sliver.

Flambe (flahm-bay)

Foods served flaming; the flame is produced by igniting the brandy, rum or other alcoholic beverage poured on or incorporated into the item; also known as flamed.

Flan (flahn)

1. A shallow, open-faced French tart, usually filled with fruit or custard.
2. A custard baked over a layer of caramelized sugar and inverted for service.
3. Spanish for creme caramel.

Flank Steak

A fabricated cut of the beef primal flank; this tough, somewhat stringy cut is very flavorful.

Flan Tin

A tart pan with a removable bottom.


Describes food that has been frozen very rapidly using metal plates, extremely low temperatures or chemical solutions.

Flatbread; Flat bread

A category of thin breads that may or may not be leavened, with textures ranging from chewy to crisp; these products tend to be more common in regional or ethnic cuisines.


Fish with asymmetrical, compressed bodies that swim in a horizontal position and have both eyes on the top of the head; include sole, flounder and halibut.

Flauta (FLAUW-tah)

A Mexican dish consisting of a corn tortilla rolled around a savory filled and deep-fried; often garnished with guacamole, sour cream and salsa.


A naturally occurring pigment that predominates in red, purple and white vegetables such as cauliflower, red cabbage and beets.


1. To add seasonings or other ingredients to a food or beverage to improve, change or add to the taste.
2. The distinctive taste of a food or beverage.
3. A quality of something that affects the sense of taste.


1. When referring to fruits and vegetables, it is typically the edible area under the skin or other outer covering; also known as the pulp.
2. The muscles, fat and related tissues of an animal.

Fleuron (fluh-rawng)

A crescent-shaped piece of puff pastry used as a garnish.


V. 1. To pour a shot of distilled spirits on top of a finished drink or coffee without stirring or mixing it in.
2. To pour or place a garnish on top of a food without stirring or mixing it in.
3.A scoop of ice cream in a carbonated beverage, such as root beer.

Florentine (FLOOR-en-teen)

A very thin, crisp cookie or candy made with honey, sugar, nuts and candied fruit; the underside of the cooled confection is usually coated with chocolate.


One of the closely clustered small flowers that comprise a composite flower or curd.


A powdery substance of varying degrees of fineness made by milling grains such as wheat, corn or rye.

Flowers, Edible

Flowers used as an ingredient (e.g., squash blossoms), a flavoring (e.g., pansies, nasturtiums, violas, roses and chive flowers) or an edible garnish (e.g., borage, lovage, lavender, chamomile, citrus, peach, plum and mimosa).


1. To make a decorative pattern on the raised edge of a pie crust.
2. To carve grooves, slashes or other decorative markings into vegetables and fruits.
3. A stemmed glass with an elongated, V-shaped bowl; used for sparkling wines.
4. A thin, slightly sweet, flute-shaped cookie served with ice cream, pudding or the like.
5. A long, thin loaf of French bread.

Foamed Milk

Milk that is heated and frothed with air and steam generated by an espresso machine; it will be slightly cooler than steamed milk.


The process of whipping eggs to incorporate air.

Focaccia (foh-CAH-chee-ah)

Italian flat bread leavened with yeast and flavored with olive oil and herbs; traditionally made with potato flour.

Foguete (fo-gha-tay)

Portuguese pastries consisting of a deep-fried pastry tube filled with pineapple, cashews and raisins flavored with rosewater, often dipped in a sweet syrup and dusted with confectioners’ sugar.

Foie Gras (fwah grah)

The enlarged liver of a duck or goose (the birds are methodically fattened through force-feeding of a corn-based diet); it has two smooth, rounded lobes with a putty color and an extremely high fat content.


1. To incorporate light, airy ingredients into heavier ingredients by gently moving them from the bottom up over the top in a circular motion.
2. A measurement of the strength of vanilla extract.

Fond (fahn)

1. French for stock.
2. French for bottom and used to describe the concentrated juices, drippings and bits of food left in pans after foods are roasted or sauteed; they are used to flavor sauces made directly in the pans in which the foods were cooked.

Fondant (FAHN-dant)

A sweet, thick, opaque sugar paste commonly used for glazing pastries or making candies.

Fondue (fahn-DOO)

1. Traditionally, a hot dish of melted cheeses into which diners dip pieces of bread or other foods to be coated and consumed.
2. A hot preparation of other melted foods, such as chocolate, into which diners dip pieces of food to be coated and consumed.

Fontina, American

An American Fontina-style cheese made from whole cow’s milk.

Food Danger Zone

The temperature range of 40-140 degrees F, which is most favorable for bacterial growth; also known as the temperature danger zone.

Food Mill

A tool used to strain and puree foods simultaneously; it consists of a hopper with a hand-crank mechanism that forces the food through a perforated disk; most models have interchangeable disks with various-sized holes.

Food Processor

An appliance used to puree, chop, grate, slice and shred foods; it consists of a bowl that sits atop a motorized driveshaft; an S-shaped blade on the bottom of the bowl processes food that can be fed into the bowl through an opening or tube on top; some models can be fitted as a juicer and/or pasta maker.


A mixture of ground cooked or raw meats, fish, shellfish, poultry, vegetables and/or fruits combined with a binder, seasoned and emulsified with fat; it is the primary ingredient in charcuterie items such as pates, terrines, galantines and sausages; there are three principal styles: basic, countrystyle and mousseline.

Formaggio (fohr-MAH-jee-oh)

Italian for cheese.


The bakeshop term for a recipe.

Fortified Wine

A wine that has had its alcohol content enhanced with brandy or rectified alcohol to create a distinctively new product such as port, sherry, Madeira or Marsala.


A tasting term for an agreeable floral, fruity, vegetal, herbal or spicy aroma or bouquet.

Framboise (frahm-bwahz)

1. French for raspberry.
2. A brandy made in France’s Alsace region from wild raspberries. 3. A raspberry lambic beer.


A sweet almond and egg filling cooked inside pastry.

Frappe (fra-PAY)

1. Fruit juice or other flavored liquid frozen to a slushy consistency; it can be sweet or savory and served as a drink, appetizer or dessert.
2. French for very cold when used as a wine term.
3. A liqueur served over shaved ice.
4. Italian for milk shake.

Free-Range Chickens

Chickens allowed to move freely and forage for foods; as opposed to chickens raised in coops.

Freezer Burn

The surface dehydration and discoloration of food that result from moisture loss at below-freezing temperatures.

French, To

1. To cut meat or vegetables into long, slender strips.
2. To remove the meat from the end of a chop or rib, thereby exposing the bone; also known as frenched.

French Buttercream

A rich, creamy frosting made by whipping whole eggs or egg yolks into a thick foam with hot sugar syrup, then beating in softened butter and flavorings.

French Dressing

Classically, a vinaigrette dressing made from oil, vinegar, salt and pepper. In the United States the term also refers to a commercially prepared dressing that is creamy, tartly sweet and red-orange in color.


A roast, rack or chop of meat, especially lamb, from which the excess fat has been removed, leaving the eye muscle intact, and all meat and connective tissue have been removed from the rib bone.

French Toast

A breakfast dish of bread dipped in egg and milk, sauteed in butter, sometimes garnished with fruit, and served with syrup or confectioners’ sugar.


Describes a food that has been frozen while still fresh.

Fricassee (FRIHK-uh-see)

A white stew in which the meat is cooked in fat without browning before the liquid is added.

Fried Rice

A Chinese and Chinese-American dish of cold cooked rice seasoned with soy sauce and fried; egg, meat, shellfish, poultry and/or vegetable garnishes are usually added.


A fluted paper ornament slipped over protruding bones as a decoration; typically used on a crown roast of pork or lamb, lamb chop and leg of lamb.

Frisee (free-zay)

A variety of endive with yellowish-green curly leaves; also known as chicoree frisee.

Frittata (free-tah-ta)

An open-faced omelet of Spanish-Italian heritage.


A small, sweet or savory, deep-fried cake made by either combining chopped foods with a thick batter or dipping the food into the batter.

Fromage (froh-MAJH)

French for cheese.

From Scratch; Scratch

To make an item, usually baked goods, from the raw ingredients, without using a mix or processed convenience products (other than items such as baking powder).


Also known as icing, a sweet decorative coating used as a filling between the layers or as a coating over the top and sides of a cake.


Foam; a formation of tiny bubbles.


The edible organ that develops from the ovary of a flowering plant and contains one or more seeds (pips or pits).


A Christmas cake made with candied fruit, dried fruit and nuts bound with a relatively small amount of a dense, spicy batter.

Fruit Salad

A salad of various fresh, frozen and/or canned fruits; the natural fruit juices used for the dressing are sometimes flavored with a sweet liqueur and lemon juice.


1. A cheese-tasting term for the sweet, appealing flavor or aroma of a cheese, usually a monastery cheese or a firm mountain cheese.
2. A wine-tasting term for a wine with a pleasing aroma reminiscent of fresh, ripe fruit but not necessarily of grapes.


A dry-heat cooking method in which foods are cooked in hot fat; includes sauteing and stir-frying, pan-frying and deep-frying.

Fuji Apple

A medium-sized apple with a yellow, orange and red-streaked skin, a crisp, white flesh, and a sweet flavor.

Fumet (fyoo-maht)

A concentrated stock usually made from fish bones and/or shellfish shells and vegetables; used for sauces and soups.


A large group of plants ranging from single-celled organisms to giant mushrooms; the most common are molds and yeasts.


A conical-shaped tool with a short, straight tube at the tip; used to transfer liquids into a narrow-mouthed container; some are equipped with strainers in the bottom to clear the liquid of small particles.

Funnel Cake

A deep-fried Pennsylvania Dutch pastry made by pouring batter through a funnel into hot fat with a spiral motion; the fried dough is served with confectioners’ sugar or honey.

Fusilli (foo-SEEL-lee)

Italian for twists and used to describe long, spiral-shaped pasta; usually served with thick sauces.

Fusilli Bucati (foo-SEEL-ee boo-cah-tee)

Italian for twists with a hole and used to describe long spirals of pasta tubes.

Fusion Cuisine

A style of cooking that draws on elements from European and Asian cuisines; generally, the application of Asian preparation techniques to European or American ingredients; also known as East meets West.