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Food Definitions - Vintage Culinary Terms

For catering in cities stewards, chefs and cooks, with training and experience, are in demand. The formulas and methods they use are somewhat exclusive and traditional. Chefs are professional cooks and for the most part foreigners.

France is the home of the culinary art and French is the language of the menu. This is why so many culinary terms are expressed in French. Still it is doubtful today that American cookery is second to that of any other nationality.

But the cuisine of the large restaurant or café is not well suited to the requirements of the average family. In the genuine American home, as it is found in suburban districts and in numerous smaller cities and towns throughout the land.

With these brief explanations, our vintage culinary terms are placed before you, with the hope that it will be deemed worthy of its title..

Common Definitions of Terms Used in Cookery

A la Creole
Cooked with tomatoes, onions, and peppers.
A la Printanière
A soup or stew served with young spring vegetables.
Aspic
A savory jelly for meats, fish, vegetables and salads. Frequently used as garnish.
Au Gratin
Cooked with browned crumbs and usually with grated cheese.
Bain-marie
A vessel containing hot water in which other vessels containing foods are placed to keep hot without further cooking. Literally a double boiler on a large scale.
Béchamel
A rich white sauce made with stock, milk or cream.
Bisque
A thick white sauce or soup generally made from shellfish.
Blanch
To whiten by scalding.
Bouillon
A meat broth.
Bombe
Molded ices having the outside one variety and the centre another.
Bouquet en Herbes
A bunch of various flavoring herbs, used for soups or stews.
Braise
To cook in a closely covered stew pan with vegetables; having a gentle heat, that neither flavor nor juices are lost by evaporation.
Canape
A finger strip of bread or toast spread with a savory compound, usually either fish or egg, daintily garnished and served as an appetizer before lunch or dinner.
Croustades
Small pieces of bread fried or toasted. Used as a garnish for minced or hashed meat.
En Brochette
Small portions of meat, such as chicken livers, cooked with bacon on a skewer.
Entree
A savory made dish served as a course itself, or between heavier courses, at dinner.
Farci
Stuffed
Fondue
Cheese and eggs cooked together.
Frappe
Half frozen.
Glace
Glazed over. In savory dishes with meat stock, boiled down to a glaze; in sweet cookery, iced or brushed over with white of egg.
Hors-d'oeuvres
Small dishes served during the first course of a dinner.
Jardinière
Mixed vegetables.
Lard
To insert strips of fat pork or bacon in meats deficient in fat, with a larding needle.
Macédoine
A mixture of vegetables or fruits.
Marinate
To make savory in a mixture of seasonings; oil and vinegar, or oil and lemon juice.
Meringue
White of egg and sugar beaten together.
Mousse
May be savory or sweet. A light, frothy mixture thickened with gelatin, whipped with a whisk till spongy in texture and then packed in ice and salt for three or four hours.
Mulligatawny
A rich soup flavored with curry.
Pate
A small pastry shell usually made from puff paste. May contain either a sweet or savory filling.
Purée
Meats, vegetables, fish, etc., cooked in liquid till tender, and then passed through a sieve.
Roux
A cooked mixture of butter and flour for thickening soups, sauces and gravies.
Salmi
A rich stew of game, half roasted and then cut up and cooked in a sauce.
Sauté
To cook till brown in a shallow pan with a little fat.
Soufflé
Puffed up and made light by use of well beaten eggs. May be savory or sweet.
Vol-au-vent
A very light case of puff paste in which savories or sweets may be served.

The Rumford Complete Cookbook 1908
By LILY HAXWORTH WALLACE
Gold Medalist
Graduate of National Training School of Cookery London, Eng.

Sources Include:

  • The Culinary Handbook By Charles Fellows: The Most Complete and Serviceable Reference Book to Things Culinary Ever Published, Second Edition, Copyright 1904 by Charles Fellows, Published by The Hotel Monthly, Chicago
  • Stewards Manual, 1904: History of Its Foundation, Aims and Purposes ... By Stewards association of New York city
  • The Boston Cooking-school Cook Book By Fannie Merritt Farmer (Boston:Little, Brown, and Company) 1912
  • Arm & Hammer Soda Book of Valuable Recipes By Church & Dwight Co (1900)
  • The Encyclopedia Americana, Volume 3, edited by Frederick Converse Beach, George Edwin Rines, New York: The Americana Company 1904
  • Washburn-Crosby's Gold Medal Cook Book, c1910, Washburn-Crosby Co., Minneapolis
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Vintage Recipes, Cooking Processes, and Culinary Terms