Food Prep Terms

Lea 2008

When we moved to Texas we found that when cooking with Lance and Kristin, or when Larry and I were in the church kitchen with other cooks, that sometimes the prep terms we each used meant something different to one or more of us. It became common practice for us to say, “Show me how you want it.” Meanwhile, Lance went exploring on the internet and put together this list of terms, which has helped us to better understand what we should mean, when using these particular terms.  I thought I would share with those of you that have more than one cook in your own kitchen, or, you’re just not certain what those recipe directions actually mean.



Beat:  To mix vigorously to change it into a different item
Blend: To mix ingredients (such as sugar and butter) to a smooth texture
Bread: Coat with a flour batter, or eggs and flour, prior to cooking
Chiffonade: Make thin ribbons of leafy foods by rolling them, then slicing across the end
Chop: Cut into square pieces; size is usually stated; if not, use ½ inch square
Cube: Slice or chop into bite sizes
Dice:  Cut into pieces ¼ inch square
Dredge:  Coat with flour, usually seasoned, prior to frying
Essence: The thin outer peel of a citrus fruit containing the essential oils
Fillet:  To produce a boneless cut of meat or fish (a fillet)
Fold: Gentle mixing of beaten egg whites into a batter
Grate: Produce a coarse “grind” or fine “mince”, using a grater
Grind:  Produce a fine-to-coarse powder, using a mill, coffee grinder, or similar device
Julienne:  Slice and cross slice, form long, uniform shapes, like shoestring potatoes
Macerate: “Marinating” of vegetables
Marinate:  Soaking a cut of meat in a liquid or paste to flavor or tenderize
Mince: Chop into pieces 1/8 inch square or smaller
Mix: To combine ingredients
Peel, Pare: To remove the skin or peeling from a fruit or vegetable
Puree:  Produce a thick liquid, usually in a blender or food processor
Slice: Severed from a larger piece; the thickness should be uniform, as requested
Stir: A synonym of “mix” usually applied to a cooking technique
Tenderize: To pound a cut of meat and break-down coarse fibers, or marinading in a tenderizing chemical
Whip: To mix vigorously at high speed, so as to incorporate air
Whisk: Similar to “whipping” by hand, often to emulsify a mixture

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