Culinary Terms

The list of culinary terms is as long as the Mississippi River. Many of us have seen them while reading a recipe. Sometimes we’re not sure exactly what they mean. For instance, the terms chop, dice and mince…what is the difference between them? They all mean you’re going to make a larger object end up in smaller pieces. So how do I know if I’m following the recipe correctly?

The recipes that are most fun to read and figure out are those written by a cook who has their own terms for certain food ingredients. This happens often with older recipes from your relatives. My Grandma Null’s dumpling recipe calls for a stick of Oleo. Say what? When I was younger, I thought Oleo referred to shortening. Nope, shortening is Crisco. Oleo is butter. Let’s just say as a young newlywed my first attempt at those dumplings were not a success! The moral of this story: It is important to have a basic list of terms in your culinary tool belt.

This is not a complete list but some of the general terms I hope will be helpful in your culinary pursuits.


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