Culinary Terms W-X



A very thin, crisp cookie or cracker; it can be sweet or savory.


A thin, crisp, light cake with a honeycomb surface; it is baked in a waffle iron and served with sweet or savory toppings.

Waldorf Salad

A salad of apples, celery and sometimes walnuts in a mayonnaise dressing.

Walnut Oil

An oil obtained by pressing walnuts; it is high in polyunsaturated fatty acids, has a nutty flavor and aroma and is used in salad dressings, sauces and baked goods.

Wasabi (wah-SAH-bee)

The root of an Asian plant similar to horseradish; it is ground and, when mixed with water, becomes a green-colored condiment with a sharp, pungent, fiery flavor used in Japanese cuisines.


A glaze applied to dough before baking; a commonly used wash is made with whole egg and water.

Water, Artesian Well

Water obtained from an underground source; the water rises to the surface under pressure.

Water Bath

See Bain Marie

Water, Bottled

Any water, usually a still or sparkling natural water, that is bottled and sold; generally consumed as an alternative to a soft drink or other nonalcoholic beverage.

Water, Carbonated

Water that has absorbed carbon dioxide; the carbon dioxide produces an effervescence and increases mouth feel.

Water, Distilled

Water that has had all the minerals and impurities removed through distillation; generally used for pharmaceutical purposes.


1. A category of melons native to Africa; they are characterized by a very thick rind, a very juicy granular flesh with seeds generally disbursed throughout the flesh and a sweet flavor.
2. A large to very large ovoid to spherical melon with green striped or pale to dark green rind and a pink to red flesh; a seedless variety is available; also known as a red watermelon.

Wax Bean

A yellow version of the green bean; it has a slightly waxier pod.

Waxy Potatoes

Those with a low starch content and thin skin; they are best for boiling.

Waxy Starch

The starch portion of a waxy corn; sometimes used as a food additive to thicken puddings and sauces; also known as amioca.


The mass or heaviness of a substance; weight measurements are commonly expressed as grams, ounces and pounds.


A cereal grass grown worldwide; there are three principal varieties: durum, hard and soft; in many climates, there can be as many as three planting cycles per year; crops are sometimes identified by the planting season as winter, spring or summer wheat.

Wheat Berry

The whole, unprocessed wheat kernel; it cosists of the bran, germ and endosperm.

Wheat Germ

The embryo of the wheat berry; it is very oily and rich in vitamins, proteins and minerals, has a nutty flavor and is generally used as a nutritional supplement.


A dense, grained stone used to sharpen or hone a knife blade.


The liquid portion of coagulated milk (curds are the semisolid portion); used for whey cheese, processed foods and principally livestock feed.


A mixing method in which foods are vigorously beaten to incorporate air; a whisk or an electric mixer with its whip attachment is used.


A utensil consisting of several wire loops joined at a handle; the loops generally create a round or teardrop-shaped outline and range in sizes from 8 to 18 in.; used to incorporate air into foods such as eggs, cream or sauces; also known as a whip.


1. An alcoholic beverage distilled from a fermented mash of grains such as corn, rye and barley; whiskys vary depending on factors such as the type and processing of the grain and water as well as the length and type of aging process.
2. The American, English and Irish spelling for this spirit; used to identify these countries’ products; in Scotland and Canada it is spelled whisky.

White Chocolate

A candy made from cocoa butter, sugar, milk solids and flavorings; because it contains no chocolate liquor it is usually labeled white confectionary bar or coating; it can be eaten as a candy or used in confections and pastries.

White Stock

A light-colored stock made from chicken, veal, beef or fish bones simmered in water with vegetables and seasonings.


A thin mixture or slurry of flour and cold water used like cornstarch for thickening.

White Wine Sauce

1. A French compound sauce made from a veloute flavored with a fish fumet or chicken stock and white wine and beaten with butter until emulsified.
2. A French sauce made from a fish fumet or chicken stock and white wine reduced to a glaze and beaten with butter; also known as sauce vin blanc.

Whole Butter

Butter that is not clarified, whipped or reduced in fat content; it may be salted or unsalted.

Whole Wheat

A flour that is either milled from the entire hulled kernel or has had some of the components restored after milling.

Wild Rice

The grain of a reedlike aquatic plant unrelated to rice; grown in the United States and Canada, the grains are long, slender and black, with a distinctive earthy, nutty flavor; available in three grades: giant, fancy and select.


The fermented juice of a fruit, typically freshly gathered ripe grapes.


An evergreen plant with small red berries that produce a pungent oil used in jellies or to flavor candies and medicines; also known as checkerberry and teaberry.

Winter Melon

A large muskmelon with a pale green rind, a white flesh and a flavor reminiscent of zucchini; used in Asian cuisines in sweet and savory dishes.

Wire Mesh Strainer

A tool with a mesh bowl, sometimes reinforced with narrow crossbands and a handle; available in various sizes and thicknesses of mesh; it is used to strain liquids from solids or to sift dry ingredients; also known as a strainer.


1. The forked bone found between the neck and breast of a chicken or turkey.
2. The cut of chicken containing the wishbone.


Cookware with a rounded bottom and curved sides that diffuses heat and makes it easy to toss or stir contents; it usually has a domed lid and two handles, although a single long-handled version is available; used originally in Asian cuisines.

Won Ton (WAHN tahn)

A small Chinese dumpling made from a thin dough filled with a mixture of finely minced meats, poultry, fish, shellfish and/or vegetables; it can be steamed, fried or boiled and eaten as dumplings, in soups and as appetizers.

Won Ton Skins

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

Won Ton Soup

A Chinese soup consisting of chicken broth garnished with won tons, green onions, pork or chicken and/or vegetables.

Worcestershire Sauce (WOOS-tuhr-shuhr)

A thin, dark brown sauce developed in India for British colonials and first bottled in Worcester, England; it consists of soy sauce, tamarind, garlic, onions, molasses, lime, anchovies, vinegar and other seasonings.


An American sandwich consisting of a filling and spread rolled in a soft flour tortilla (unlike a classic Mexican tortilla, the one used for a wrap can be flavored with herbs, spices or the like).

Xanthan Gum

A food additive produced from corn syrup; used as a thickener, emulsifier and stabilizer.