Christmas Recipes
This dictionary of culinary terms and food glossary makes it easy to find information on specfic foods, dishes, cooking methods, and recipes. Information is listed by keyword.

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Acetic Acidwine or cider, fermented beyond the stage of alcohol. In diluted form, it is vinegar. Also, acetic acid is used in preserving fruits to keep flesh from discoloring, and in freezing.
Achar/Achardpickles and salt relishes used in the cooking of India
AchiraSouth American plant used as arrowroot
Acid Rinsea bath of acidulated water used to prevent discoloration of peeled fruits and vegetables that brown when exposed to air
Acidulated Watercold water with vinegar, lemon or lime juice added.
Acorn Squasha small to medium-sized acorn-shaped winter squash with an orange-streaked dark green fluted shell (orange, yellow and creamy white varieties are also available), pale orange flesh, large seed cavity and a slightly sweet, nutty flavor.
Adea fruit drink made by combining water with sugar, boiling until the sugar dissolves, then adding a citrus juice and ice
Adjustin cooking, the term means the cook must taste before serving, and add seasonings to suit his or her own sense of what the right flavor is
Adoboa Philippine national dish of braised pork, chicken, or fish. Also, a seasoned Mexican sauce made with vinegar and chilies
Aemonoa Japanese salad served with dressing, or the dressing itself
Agar-Agarseaweed used as a thickening agent, as is gelatin
Aiguillettesthin strips of meat or fish
AïoliA strongly flavored garlic mayonnaise from the Provence region of southern France. It's a popular accompaniment for fish, meats and vegetables.
Aji-No-MottoJapanese name for monosodium glutamate, MSG, used by Oriental cooks on occasion to revive a dish that has turned out tasteless.
Akavit/AquavitScandinavian form of distilled alcohol made from grain or potatoes, and flavored with caraway seeds.
à laFrench, literally, “prepared in the style of”.
à la Kingan American dish of diced foods, usually chicken or turkey, in a cream sauce with pimientos, mushrooms, green peppers and sometimes sherry.
à la Maréchalesmall cuts of meat and poultry which are breaded and fried in butter. Green asparagus tips and truffles are usual in the garnish.
à la Modeliterally, “following the fashion”. In the United States, it is food that is served with ice cream; in France it names braised meat smothered in sauce.
à la Nicoisedishes with black olives, tomatoes, garlic, anchovies and dried cherries. Also, a candy of caramelized sugar and browned almonds.
à la Printanierto be cooked or garnished with fresh spring vegetables. Printemps is the French word for spring.
à la Provencalea dish including garlic, olive oil, tomatoes and often black olives.
al DenteItalian for to the tooth; used to describe a food, usually pasta, that is cooked only until it gives a slight resistance when one bites into it; the food is neither soft nor overdone.
Albondigasa Mexican dish of spiced meat balls. Also found in Spanish, Brazilian, and Scottish recipes.
Albumina protein found in egg white, milk, green plants, seeds, and animal blood.
Alea fermented drink; the original term for beer.
Almond Extracta concentrated flavoring made from bitter-almond oil and alcohol, widely used in pastries and baked goods.
All-Purpose Flouris made from a blend of high-gluten hard wheat and low-gluten soft wheat. It's a fine-textured flour milled from the inner part of the wheat kernel and contains neither the germ (the sprouting part) nor the bran (the outer coating). U.S. law requires that all flours not containing wheat germ must have niacin, riboflavin, thiamin and iron added. These flours are labeled "enriched." All-purpose flour comes in two basic forms — bleached and unbleached — that can be used interchangeably. Flour can be bleached either naturally, as it ages, or chemically. Most flour on the market today is presifted, requiring only that it be stirred, then spooned into a measuring cup and leveled off.
Allspicea member of the pimento family and native to tropical regions in the western hemisphere; has leathery leaves, white flowers and small, brown berries, has a flavor reminiscent of a mixture of cinnamon, clove, nutmeg, ginger and pepper; also known as Jamaican pepper.
Allumettescut into matchstick sizes and shapes. Also, a puff pastry used for hors d’oeuvres.
Aluminum Foila thin pliable sheet of aluminum; easily molded, conducts heat well, can withstand temperature extremes and is impervious to odors, moisture and air; used to cover foods for cooking and storage.
Almond Pastea mixture of sugar, almonds, and rose water traditional among Christmas foods in Europe. Used to make marzipan and for decorations.
Amarettoliqueur with the flavor of almonds although it is often made with the kernels of apricot pits. The original liqueur, Amaretto di Saronno, is from Saronno, Italy.
Amandinea dish garnished with sautéed almonds.
American Cheese, Processedany of the group of U.S. cheeses made with emulsifiers to increase smoothness and pasteurized milk to increase storage life; 51% of the final weight must be cheese.
Anadama Breadyeast bread made of cornmeal and white flour with molasses.
Anchovya small fish usually stored in olive oil or salt. Anchovy is sold for flavoring.
Angel Food Cakea light, airy cake made without egg yolks or other fats; its structure is based on the air whipped into the egg whites; traditionally baked in a tube pan.
Angelicaa sweet herb used to flavor a variety of liqueurs and drinks. Candied, it is used in baking, especially fruit cakes.
Anisea small annual member of the parsley family native to the eastern Mediterranean region; has bright green leaves with a mild licorice flavor that are sometimes used as an herb or in salads.
Antipastoassorted hors d’oeuvres, Italian style. Often included are ripe black olives, green stuffed olives, garlic sausage slices, salted anchovy curled on a sliced tomato, cooked dried beans in a vinaigrette dressing, prosciutto (thinly sliced fat ham) with cantaloupe.
Aperitifa cooked, usually sweet, wine, taken before a meal to stimulate the appetite.
Appetizera small serving of food or beverage served before or as the first course of a meal.
Applea pome fruit with generally firm flesh, which can range in flavor from sweet to tart, encased in a thin skin, which can range in color from yellow to green to red; apples can be eaten out of hand, cooked or used for juice and are grown in temperate regions worldwide and available all year, particularly in the fall.
Apple Buttera very thick preserve of cooked apples.
Apricota small stone fruit with a thin, velvety, pale yellow to deep burnt orange skin, a meaty golden cream to bright orange flesh and an almond-shaped pit; it is highly perishable, with a peak season during June and July; the pit's kernel is used to flavor alcoholic beverages and confection.
Aqua VitaeLatin, “water of life,” used to describe clear distilled liquors and brandies.
Arborio Ricean ovoid, short-grain rice with a hard core, white color and mild flavor; it becomes creamy when cooked and is used for risotto.
Areca NutBetel nut, East India pepper plant. It is chewed in Asia to aid digestion.
Aromadescribes flavor and fragrance, both closely related.
Arrack/Arak/Rakistrong liquor distilled in North Africa and in Arab lands. It is drunk in very small portions.
ArrowrootA flour used to thicken clear liquids because it does not cloud.
Artichokethe large flowerhead of a plant of the thistle family; has tough gray-green petal-shaped leaves with soft flesh (which is eaten) underneath, a furry choke (that is discarded) and a tender center (called the heart which is also eaten); also known as globe artichoke.
Arugulaa leaf vegetable with dark green, spiky, dandelion-like leaves and a strong, spicy, peppery flavor; used in salads; also known as rocket, rugula, and rucola.
Asian Pearthere are so many varieties of Asian pear that no one description can apply to them all. Generally though this fruit is round with speckled tan skin and has a crisp, firm, grainy white texture similar to that of a pear, an apple or at times, a water chestnut. The taste is a cross between an apple and a pear
Asparagusa member of the lily family with an erect stalk and small, scale-like leaves along the stalk, capped by a ruffle of small leaves; a young stalk is tender with a slightly pungent, bitter flavor, an apple green color and a purple-tinged tip; becomes tougher as it ages.
Aspica jelly produced from the stock of meat fish, fowl or a liquid held together with gelatin.
Athol Brosea Scottish drink made of whisky, oatmeal, and cream sweetened with honey.
au Gratina French term referring to a dish with a browned topping of bread crumbs and/or grated cheese; also known as gratiné.
au JusFrench term for roasted meats, poultry or game served with their natural, unthickened juices.
au Natureldishes cooked as simply as possible and served with a minimum of accompaniments.
Avocadoa tropical fruit with a single large pit, spherical to pear shape, smooth to rough-textured skin with a green to purplish color and yellow to green flesh with a buttery texture and high unsaturated fat content; generally used like a vegetable and consumed raw; also known as an alligator pear.
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