Just like all other activities, cooking has its own lingo. There are so many different cooking terms out there that describe different ways to cut or measure things, and then there are abbreviations for all of those terms! Sometimes cooking lingo can be a little bit confusing for beginners, but never fear, this post will explain all of those terms that make you go “Huh?” when reading your next recipe.
These are some of the most common abbreviations found in any type of recipe. Most of you have probably learned some of these in elementary school, but a quick refresher never hurts!
Sometimes recipes call for a pinch of this or dash of that, and it can be hard to know exactly what that is. Here is a little better explanation of some measurement terms from Byron’s Dutch Oven.
1 hint= half a drop
1 smidgen= 1/16 teaspoon or less
1 pinch= 1/8 teaspoon or less
1 dash= 1/4 teaspoon or less
juice of 1 lemon= 2-3 tablespoons
juice of 1 orange= about 1/2 cup
Now here comes the fun stuff! Here are some cooking terms that appear in many recipes. Hopefully these explanations will help you out the next time you are in the kitchen. All of these definitions are from Epicuirous, a great place to get new recipes or have any cooking-related questions you have answered!
Al Dente- a term seen in many pasta recipes. Normally recipes call for noodles to be cooked “al dente.” This means it is cooked until is gives a slight resistance when bitten, which means it is not too soft or overcooked.
Beat- means to stir rapidly in a circular motion, and normally when a recipe says to beat something it means with an electric mixer.
Brown- to cook quickly over high heat, making the outside of the food turn a brown color. Brown is commonly used when talking about cooking ground beef.
Saute- to cook quickly in a small amount of oil in a skillet or saute pan over direct heat. It is very common to saute vegetables, like onions to cook them up before adding them to a dish.
Mince- to cut food into very small pieces. Vegetables and meet are common things that are minced.
Dice- to cut food into tiny cubes. Vegetables and fruit are diced in some recipes.
Garnish- an edible decoration to the main dish. They should be appealing to the eye and compliment the flavor of the dish. For example, parsley is a common garnish on pasta dishes.
Grease- to rub the surface of the pan with grease or shortening to avoid food from sticking to it. People commonly use non-stick cooking spray, like Pam, to grease a pan.
I hope the explanations of cooking lingo helps you out next time you are in the kitchen! If you have any questions about different cooking terms that I didn’t get to, please feel free to ask me, and I will help you out! I am going to leave you with some recipes I tried this week and fell in love with!
The first is a scrambled egg recipe from Paula Deen, a food network star. I tried Paula’s trick of adding sour cream to my scrambled eggs, and it made a huge difference! My eggs were a lot fluffier. I spiced her recipe up by adding ham and mozzarella cheese to my eggs.
Another recipe I made was a homemade queso. I got this recipe from the Dainty Chef! I just ate the queso with chips, but I plan on making it next time I make a mexican dish and adding it to a taco for some gooey-cheesy goodness!