If you’ve ever been standing in the middle of your kitchen, spatula in hand, mid-drip, wondering about a certain cooking term, well, I’ve got your answer.
“The New Food Lover’s Companion“ by Sharon Tyler Herbst and Ron Herbst (Amazon affiliate link) is an excellent compendium of any term that has ever existed in the world of cooking. You’ll know if you’re roasting or baking, the difference between a cleaver and a chef’s knife, about what is monkey bread and what is challah.
Coming in at a whopping 830 pages, this chef’s dictionary covers a myriad of cooking terms, but even better, it will give you LOTS of ideas along with the definitions. I bought this book while making a stop at Stonewall Kitchen’s headquarters in Maine, and I was reading it in the car, battling motion sickness, because I didn’t want to put it down!
Here are some examples of terms from the book:
Brigade System: An organizational system for professional kitchens instituted by Georges Auguste Escoffier toward the end of the 19th century. Escoffier established separate kitchen stations, each responsible for a certain part of the menu. This system proved so effective that a semblance of it is still in place in many of today’s professional kitchens … (the definition goes on, but the Brigade System is where the terms chef de cuisine, sous chef, chefs de partie, etc. come from).
Short: A culinary term used to describe a non-yeast pastry or cookie dough with a high proportion of fat to flour. The baked goods made from short doughs are tender, rich, crumbly, and crisp.
Loin: Depending on the animal, the loin comes from the area on both sides of the backbone extending from the shoulder to the leg (for pork) or from the rib to the leg (in beef, lamb, and veal). Beef loin is divided into short loin and sirloin. In general, the loin is a tender cut that can be butchered into chops, steaks, and roasts.
There are also great charts on measurements and conversions and on cuts of meat. I was reading through this book for hours (yes, for pleasure) and it’s taken residence in my kitchen where I’ll flip through it while I’m waiting for something to cook. Yes, I love this book!
I just wanted to share it with you all. And please let me know what books on cooking (cookbook or otherwise) that you enjoy dipping into regularly.
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