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Culinary Glossary

Glossary of terms used in my posts and recipes, plus some that are just good to know.

A
Andouille
(aan-DOO-ee, ahn-DWEE, ohn-doo-yuh) – A spicy, smoked sausage of French origin made of pork chitterlings and tripe. It’s used often in Cajun cooking, especially in dishes such as jambalaya and gumbo.
B
Bouillon Cube
(bool-yahn) – Dehydrated stock or broth formed into a small cube. It usually contains dehydrated meat stock, vegetables, salt, spices, and MSG among other things. There are also vegetarian varieties.
C
Chop
To cut into small, uneven pieces.
Cube
To cut into cubes.
D
Dice
To cut into uniform pieces or cubes approximately 1/16 inch to 1/2 inch in size.
H
Holy Trinity
A term used in Cajun and Creole cuisine to refer to a base of celery, bell peppers, and onions used in gumbo, jambalaya, and other dishes.
M
Mince
To cut or chop into very fine, uneven pieces approximately 1/16 inch or smaller.
Mise en Place
(MEEZ ahn Plahs) – A French term referring to having everything in place before beginning to cook as a way to avoid chaos in the kitchen. All ingredients for a dish are made ready. Vegetables and fruits are peeled and cut. Ingredients are measured and prepared. Cookware, mixing bowls, etc. are in place and ready to use.
Molcajete
(mohl-kah-HEH-teh) A pre-Hispanic type of mortar and pestle in use for, at least, a thousand years. It is made of basalt and found, historically, in Mesoamerica amongst the Aztec and Mayan cultures. It is still in use today and is commonly used to grind spices and make salsas.
P
Pope
A term used in Cajun and Creole cuisine referring to garlic when added to the “holy trinity” base of celery, bell peppers, and onions.
R
Roux
(roo) – A mixture of flour and fat used as a base for sauces. Typically, the mixture consists of equal weights of flour and fat. The fat is melted and the flour is added to it. It is then cooked and stirred until it reaches the desired color for the gravy or sauce to be prepared. The color can be anywhere from blonde to dark chocolate, depending on the requirements of the dish. Once the color is achieved, other ingredients for the sauce, such as stock, flavorings, and spices, are added to it.
S
SOS
An acronym for “Shit on a Shingle.” A colloquial term, reportedly coined by US servicemen during World War II to describe chipped beef gravy on toast. Today, it is also used to describe ground or chipped beef gravy on biscuits, even though biscuits are not very shingle-like. While it may sound like a derogatory term, SOS is generally well-loved by service members and civilians alike. It is considered a comfort food and for many veterans it brings back good memories of their military service. It is commonly served with eggs and grits for breakfast. Although, it can be served at any meal.