Cooking Glossary


Á la  (au, aux): With or dressed in a certain style.

Á la Allemande: In German style.

Á la Americaine: In American style.

Á la Bearnaise: In Swiss style.

Absinthe: A distilled and highly alcoholic (usually 68 to 80 percent) anise-flavored spirit derived from herbs including the flowers and leaves of the medicinal plant Artemisia absinthium, also called Grand Wormwood or Absinth Wormwood. Absinthe is typically green or clear and is often referred to as 'The Green Fairy'. Although it is sometimes mistakenly called a liqueur, absinthe is not bottled with added sugar and is therefore classified as a spirit. It is barred from the United States and many European countries because it is considered very injurious substance. Besides being extremely intoxicating, it overstimulates the heart and the stomach if taken in even comparatively small quantities.

Acidulated Water: Vinegar, lemon, juice or wine added to water to keep vegetables or fruits from darkening.

Aging: The time required to develop the character of wine and many distilled spirits. Aging is usually done in wooden casks. The type and condition of the cask depends on the formula for the spirit or wine being produced. no further aging occurs after bottling.

Allergy: A condition of heightened sensitivity to a substance such as food.

<>Alcoholic Beverages: Beverages made by allowing yeast to ferment the starch or the sugar in a certain kind of food, thus producing acid and alcohol. Grains and fruits are usually used for this purpose. In some cases, the fermentation is allowed to continue long enough to use up all the starch or sugar in the material selected, and in this event the resulting beverages are sour and contain a great deal of alcohol. In others, the fermentation is stopped before all the sugar or starch is utilized, and then the beverage is sweet and contains less alcohol. The higher the percentage of alcohol a beverage contains, the more intoxicating it is and the more quickly will a state of intoxication be reached by drinking it.

Al Dente:
Italian term meaning cooked until barely tender, but not soft, used in reference to pasta or vegetables.

Allspice: Allspice is the dried, unripe berry of a small tree. It is available ground or in seed form, & used in a variety of dishes such as pickles, casseroles, cakes & puddings. Also known as Jamaica Pepper.

Apéritif or Aperitif: A "before the meal"  drink to improve the appetite. It is often served with something small to eat, like finger food, pistachios, chips, crackers, cheeses or peanuts. Most of the fortified wines that also contain herbs and botanicals are considered as apéritifs (e.g.. Vermouth. Fortified wines without additives, such as port or sherry are not apéritifs., but the dry versions are often served as such. Cocktails and some medium-dry table wines also fall into the apéritif category.

Appetizer: A small serving of food or beverage served before, or as the first course of a meal.

Armagnac: A fine French brandy. Full bodied and drier than cognac. Armagnac is one of two rivals for cognac wine recognition as the finest producer of eau de vie (brandy) in the world. Its name comes from the Armagnac region of France where it originates. Armagnac has been making brandy for around 200 years longer than Cognac.

Aromatic Wine: Fortified wine that has been flavored with herbs, roots, bark or other plant parts.

Aubergine: Purple, vaguely egg shaped vegetable. In the US called eggplant. Another (Indian) word for eggplant or aubergine is brinjal.

Au Gratin: With a cheese topping, with crust or with browned crumbs.

Au Jus: French term used in reference to meat meaning "served in natural juices."  

Cooking Glossary