10 words cooking

10 Interesting Words Related to Food/Cooking!

Hi! I’m Mr Joshua, a teacher at Lil’ but Mighty. We know that the English language borrows words from other languages – German, French, Italian and Greek, just to name a few. But there are few categories of words in English that borrow more from the other languages than the world of food and cooking. Since so much of the culture of fine cuisine originates from France, we still borrow many French words when we describe food and cooking techniques.

Here are 10 words that are used in food and cooking. Are you familiar with any of them?


1. AerateAerate

Origin: Latin
Meaning: (verb) introduce air into (a material)
Sentence example: Whipped cream is made by aerating the cream with a whisk or mixer.


2. ButterflyButterfly

Origin: English
Meaning: (verb) to split (a piece of meat or fish) almost in two and spread it out flat
Sentence example: To make pork chops, you will take a piece of pork loin and butterfly it to make it thinner.


3. DevilDevil

Origin: Old Latin/English
Meaning: (verb) to cook with a lot of hot and spicy condiments and seasonings
Sentence example: To make deviled eggs, you would need to devil the egg yolks before returning the mixture into the egg whites.


4. JulienneJulienne

Origin: French
Meaning: (verb) to cut (food) into short, thin strips
Sentence example: One of the first things Kiera learnt at culinary school was how to julienne a carrot. She spent hours slicing hundreds of carrots to master the technique.


5. LeavenLeaven

Origin: Old French/Latin
Meaning: (noun) a substance (usually yeast) that is used in dough to make it rise
Sentence example: For the traditional Jewish festival, you must ensure that the bread served is unleavened.


6. MacerateMacerate

Origin: Latin
Meaning: (verb) to soften or become softened by soaking in a liquid
Sentence example: You will need to macerate the cherries in a sugar syrup in order to make the filling for the pie.


7. PercolatePercolate

Origin: Latin
Meaning: (verb) (of a liquid or gas) to filter gradually through a porous surface or substance
Sentence example: The hot water needs to percolate through the ground coffee beans and the filter in order to become the aromatic beverage we know as coffee.


8. RenderRender

Origin: Old French/Latin
Meaning: (verb) to melt down fat in order to clarify it
Sentence example: The cook needs to properly render the strip of fat on this steak before it is edible.


9. Sous VideSous Vide

Origin: French
Meaning: (verb) to cook something in a vacuum at a precise temperate
Sentence example: One of the best ways to prepare a steak is to sear it in a hot pan before sealing it in a bag and cooking it sous vide at 54 degrees celsius.


10. TemperTemper

Origin: Old French/Latin
Meaning: (verb) to stabilise an ingredient so that it does not change in any way while being combined with another ingredient at a completely different temperature.
Sentence example: We need to temper the chocolate so that it does not melt when we place it on the hot cake.


So the next time you look at a recipe whether in a book or online, you may come across some of these words and even encounter others not mentioned in the list. Do take note that such words are often specific to food or cooking and may not be used in your daily interactions or even for your school work. However, it is still good to pick up new vocabulary – who knows, the topic for your writing or oral communication may be food- related and being able to pepper your essay or conversation with one or two of these terms may even impress your examiner! Besides, learning a language means embracing different aspects of it, and what better way to learn it than via food and cooking. Till my next post, have fun!


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Mr. Joshua

Mr Joshua believes that learning does not happen in a vacuum and strives to bring the real world into the classroom. He enjoys telling stories and works hard to ensure his classroom is a welcoming environment in which all students are comfortable to share their thoughts and ideas – It’s fine to make mistakes as long as we learn from them. Mr Joshua has a passion for English Literature and encourages his students to read widely and write earnestly.

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