Top ten terms every good foodie should know

barded meat

If you are a  foodie / epicurean nerd like me, you might think you know it all. But do you? Take this quiz and find out.

If you know all of them already, then congratulations! You are like a foodie encyclopedia. If not perhaps you will acquire some new knowledge that will take you that bit closer to becoming a foodie guru.

Barding (as featured in the main image above)
Barding is a technique to prep meats for roasting. It is intended to maintain the moisture within the cut of meat. To bard is to wrap the meat in a layer of fat before cooking – usually pork, most often pork fatback and also bacon are commonly used.

A castrated rooster. Why castrate a rooster? The resulting lack of sex hormones means that the flesh tastes less gamey and is generally more moist and tender than a “regular” hen or rooster.

The word “fond” is actually french for “bottom.” In culinary terms, fond is the word for those little roasted bits at the bottom of a pan after cooking (typically meat). The fond is often deglazed to make gravy.

When vegetables such as beans, peppers or potatoes are cut into long thin strips, they are described as being “frenched.” To “french” meat is to separate a portion of the meat from the bone, such as a chop or a rib, by cutting the meat from the end of the bone. The purpose of the cut is to enhance the meat or vegetable’s ability to cook evenly.

A class of mollusks, including snails or slugs, which can pull it’s body back into its own shell.

To macerate is to soften or break into pieces using a liquid. For example strawberries are often macerated in balsamic vinegar. Or often fresh fruit is sprinkled with sugar and then the natural juices and sugar form a light syrup in which the fruit macerates. This is actually not only for taste, but it also makes it easier to digest.

Mise en Place
Traditionally used in professional kitchens, this term is now becoming more commonplace in home kitchens. French for “putting in place”, it means setting up the kitchen by organizing and arranging ingredients. For example, washing and chopping all the ingredients and having them at the ready for the start of cooking. It allows the chef, or the home cook, to cook without having to stop during the process – an important element in recipes and preparations which are time sensitive.

Mirepoix is a uniformly chopped mixture of celery, onions and carrots which form the base of a wide variety of dishes. The mirepoix is sauteed in butter or oil as the base for soups, stews and sauces. I had been doing this for years before I knew it had a fancy French name, ha ha 🙂  

Is Japanese for “I will leave it to you.” It is used to describe multi-course meals where the chef completely decides what to serve the diner. It can be used in all types of restaurants, but is most often seen in sushi restaurants.

A mixture of flour (or cornstarch) and liquid used to thicken sauces, gravy and stews. It is different than a roux in that a slurry does not need to be cooked before it is added.

Bonus 11th word… the most delicious, and 5th flavor, that the palate recognizes…

Often called the 5th flavor (the other 4 being salt, sweet, bitter, sour), umami comes from the presence of glutamate. Glutamate is in most living things and when it breaks down, for example when items are cooked, the glutamate molecule breaks apart creating L-glutimate. Think aged parmesan cheese, dried mushrooms, fermented soy (miso)…

About Joanna Hutchins

Joanna Hutchins is a culinary travel blogger based in Shanghai, China.. In 2009, Joanna founded Accidental Epicurean, a culinary travel blog focused on Asia. Joanna is also a contributor to CNNGo, Look East magazine, SE Asia Globe and Two magazine.