A Comprehensive Glossary of Culinary Terms – V

Think you know every culinary term used in your kitchen? Get ready to think again.

Reading a recipe and aren’t sure about some of the ingredients, terms, and recipe techniques included?

Recipes can sometimes be a minefield of terms, jargon and foreign words. Even for the most gifted Chefs, there are terms in a recipe that make them stop and say “huh?”.

Don’t worry, we have compiled an extensive list of common culinary terms to help you out!

Some of the most common are defined here. Take a look at our list to get cooking.

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V


Vandyke

To cut a zig-zag pattern around the circumference of fruit and vegetable halves, usually oranges, tomatoes or lemons to create decorative garnishes for food & dish presentation.

Vegetable Oil Spray

A spray form of various types of oils, combined with an emulsifier and a propellant. Since it dispenses a very fine mist of oil, it provides fewer calories per serving than an application of vegetable oil poured from a bottle; hence it is ideal for low-fat cooking. A two-second spray provides about 1,6 g of fat compared to 4 g found in one teaspoon of butter. A variety of oils are offered commercially in ready-to-use cooking sprays. As an alternative, one may fill a spray bottle with the preferred oil, or apply a thin coating with a brush or piece of wax paper.

Velouté

A type of sauce in which a light stock, such as chicken or fish, is thickened with flour that is cooked and then allowed to turn light brown. A velouté sauce, along with tomato, Hollandaise, Béchamel and espagnole, is one of the sauces of French cuisine that were designated the five “mother sauces”, which was a simplification of the “Sauce Carême”. The term velouté is from the French adjectival form of velour, meaning velvet.

Veal

The flesh of calves between 1-3 months old, in contrast to the beef from older cattle, the pale flesh is a result of not feeding them grains or grasses which darken the flesh. Though veal can be produced from an animal of either sex and any breed, most veal comes from young male dairy cattle. Generally, veal is more expensive than beef from older cattle.

Vermouth

An aromatized wine that has been fortified and flavoured with various botanicals (roots, barks, flowers, seeds, herbs, and spices). Dry vermouth is white and used as an aperitif, as a before-dinner drink or in cocktails in nonsweet drinks, such as a martini. Sweet vermouth is reddish-brown and can be drunk straight or used in sweet mixed drinks. Vermouth often is used as a cooking ingredient.

Venison

A term describing the flesh of deer.

Victual

Any comestible, food, things which can be eaten; an article of food or food provisions for humans; all food is a “victual”.

Vinegar

A sour liquid that is a byproduct of fermentation. Through fermentation, the alcohol from grapes, grains, apples, and other sources is changed to acetic acid to create vinegar. This acid liquid is used for cooking, flavouring and preserving. Among the types are cider vinegar (made from apple juice); distilled white vinegar (usually made from grain alcohol); herb vinegar (flavoured with herbs); and red or white wine vinegar, which also may be flavoured with garlic.

Vitello

The Italian word for “veal”.

Vol-au-Vent

A small hollow case of round puff pastry that is baked and then filled with savoury or sweet ingredients. French for “windblown”, to describe its lightness. Vols-au-vent is typically made by cutting two circles in rolled out puff pastry, cutting a hole in one of them, then stacking the ring-shaped piece on top of the disc-shaped piece. This pastry is usually found filled with savoury ingredients, such as meat or vegetables, but can also have a sweet filling.

Did we leave any out? What would you add to this list of culinary terms? Comment below!
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