Here is a glossary of culinary terms starting with the letter F
Fabrication refers to the process of breaking down or preparing ingredients before cooking or serving. It involves various techniques such as butchering meat, filleting fish, and deconstructing fruits and vegetables. Fabrication is an essential skill for chefs and cooks as it allows them to maximize ingredients’ flavour, presentation, and utilization. It is also important to ensure food safety and proper portioning. Overall, fabrication plays a crucial role in the culinary world, setting the foundation for creating delicious and visually appealing dishes.
Farce is the French word for “stuffing”.
A farce is a finely ground mixture of meat, fish, or vegetables used as a filling or base for various dishes. It is often seasoned with herbs, spices, and other flavourings to enhance its taste. Farce can be used to stuff meats like poultry or fish or be shaped into balls or patties. It adds richness, moisture, and flavour to a dish, making it more delicious and satisfying. Farce is a versatile ingredient commonly used in classic French cuisine, especially in dishes like pâté, terrine, and sausage.
Fattoush (or Fattush or Fatush or Fattoosh or Fattouche)
Fattoush is a Levantine bread salad made from toasted or fried pieces of pita bread combined with mixed greens and other vegetables, such as radishes and tomatoes. Fattoush belongs to the family of dishes known as fattat (plural) or fatta, which use stale flatbread as a base.
Fava beans are a type of legume that is commonly used in Mediterranean and Middle Eastern cuisine. They have a creamy texture and nutty flavour, making them a popular addition to salads, stews, and dips. Fava beans are also known for their nutritional benefits, as they are high in protein, fibre, and various vitamins and minerals. Overall, fava beans are a versatile ingredient that adds a unique taste and texture to various dishes.
Fennel is a crisp, refreshing, mildly anise-flavoured bulb vegetable. Seeds and leaves are both used as spices. It has a sweet-hot flavour, a wide variety of uses. Famous for seasoning pork roasts and fish dishes.
Fermentation is a process that converts sugars into alcohol or organic acids using bacteria or yeast, commonly used in the production of bread, beer, wine, and yogurt.
Feta is a type of cheese that originates from Greece. It is made from sheep’s milk or a combination of sheep’s and goat’s milk. Feta has a tangy and salty taste and a crumbly texture. It is commonly used in Mediterranean cuisine and is a staple ingredient in Greek salad, spanakopita, and moussaka. Feta can be added to salads, sandwiches or used as a topping for pizzas and pasta. It is also delicious when paired with fruits, crackers, or bread. Feta is a versatile and flavourful cheese that enhances the taste of many dishes.
Fillet (or Filet)
Filet is the alternative French spelling of fillet. Fillet is both a noun and a verb.
Fillet refers to the process of cutting meat, poultry, or fish into fillets and removing the bones to obtain the boneless fillets.
A fillet also refers to a boneless piece of meat or fish that has been cut or prepared to remove any bones. It is typically a prime and tender cut, often used in recipes that require a lean and delicate texture. Fillets can be found in various cuts, such as beef tenderloin, salmon fillet, or chicken breast fillet. They are versatile and commonly used in various cooking methods, such as grilling, sautéing, or baking, making them popular for many dishes.
Filo (or phyllo)
Filo (or phyllo) are tissue-thin sheets of flour and water pastry (a very thin unleavened dough) used throughout the Middle East and Balkan cuisines as crisp wrappers for savoury or sweet fillings such as baklava and börek. Filo-based pastries are made by layering many sheets of filo brushed with olive oil; the pastry is then baked. Defrost thoroughly before use. Keep unused sheets covered with a lightly damp towel to prevent them from drying out.
Finely refers to the degree of chopping or mincing an ingredient. When a recipe calls for an ingredient to be finely chopped, it should be cut into very small pieces, but not as small as minced. This is typically done to create a more delicate texture or to ensure that the ingredient is evenly distributed throughout the dish. It’s important to follow the instruction accurately, as the size of the chopped ingredient can affect the overall taste and presentation of the dish.
Fines herbes refer to a blend of fresh herbs commonly used in French cuisine. The term translates to “fine herbs” in English and typically includes a combination of parsley, chives, tarragon, and chervil. It’s a balanced blend of sweet herbs, each of which has an affinity for the other. Buying these herbs premixed avoids the risk of a possible flavour imbalance. This herb blend adds a delicate and aromatic flavour to dishes. It is often used as a finishing touch or garnish. Fines herbes can be added to soups, sauces, omelettes, and other dishes to enhance their taste and presentation. It is a versatile and classic ingredient in French cooking that brings a fresh and vibrant flavour to many recipes.
Finish is to complete the preparation of a dish for consumption. This may entail adjusting the seasoning or the consistency, adding garnish, or mounting a soup or sauce with butter or vinegar before service.
Five Spice Chinese Powder
Five Spice Chinese Powder is a mixture used to season roast meat, poultry, and stir-fry dishes. Ingredients include anise, cinnamon, star anise, cloves, and ginger.
Fish sauce is popular in many Asian cuisines, particularly Thai and Vietnamese cooking. It is made from fermented fish, usually anchovies, and salt, producing a salty and savoury flavour. Fish sauce adds depth and umami to various dishes, including stir-fries, marinades, dipping sauces, and soups. It is commonly compared to soy sauce in terms of flavour, but it has its own distinct taste. Fish sauce is known for its strong aroma, so it is typically used in small quantities to enhance the overall flavour of a dish.
Flake is to gently break food into small, flat pieces, often for combining with other foods. For example, you would flake cooked fish to combine with cooked, mashed potatoes to make fish cakes.
Flambé is the process of adding alcohol such as brandy, cognac, or rum to a hot pan over food while it is cooking to create a burst of flames. The fumes are set alight just before serving, typically for finishing a dish or presentation, and the flame goes out when the alcohol has burnt off.
Flan is a baked custard dessert that is firm and smooth, often served with caramel sauce.
Flank steak is a large, thin, fairly lean, boneless cut of beef from the abdominal muscles or buttocks of the cow. The cut is common in Colombia, known as sobrebarriga, meaning “over the belly.”
Flatbread is a thin, usually unleavened bread, often used as a base for pizzas, wraps, or sandwiches.
Flavour is the sensation felt when food or drink comes in contact with the taste buds. There are four basic tastes; sweet, salty, sour, and bitter. The particular flavour of a dish derives from a combination of these. When one taste overpowers the dish, it is described as such. A skillful cook combines similar or contrasting flavours and produces a harmonious whole. Flavours are enhanced by the finished product’s texture, consistency, colour, and temperature. The flavour of the food can be altered with natural or artificial flavourings, which affect these senses.
Flavouring is an imitation extract made of chemical compounds. Unlike an extract or oil, flavouring often does not contain any of the original food it resembles. Some common imitation flavourings are banana, black walnut, brandy, cherry, chocolate, coconut, maple, pineapple, raspberry, rum, strawberry, and vanilla.
Flour is a milled food made from many cereals, roots, and seeds, although wheat is the most popular—store flour in an airtight container in a cool, dry place. All-purpose flour may be stored for up to 8 months. Bread flour, cake flour, gluten flour, whole wheat flour, and other whole grain flour may be kept for up to 5 months. Refrigerate or freeze the flour in a moisture and vapour-proof container for extended storage. Bring chilled flour to room temperature before using it in baking.
Flour is to coat or dust a food or utensil with flour. Food may be floured before cooking to add texture and improve browning. Baking utensils are floured to prevent sticking.
Florentine is a style of cooking that refers to dishes with spinach and often a creamy sauce.
Flute is to make decorative grooves or impressions in food. Usually refers to pastry such as the edge of a pie crust, pie shell or other pastry, usually in a scalloped pattern.
Fold (or Fold in)
Fold is to mix (rather than stirring) delicate ingredients gently by repeatedly lifting and turning the mixture over itself, preserving its lightness and airy texture. For example, folding whipped cream or beaten egg whites with a heavier mixture without decreasing their volume or releasing air bubbles.
Fond refers to the flavourful brown bits sticking to the pan’s bottom after browning meat or vegetables. This fond is highly prized as it adds depth and richness to sauces, gravies, and stocks. Chefs often deglaze the pan with a liquid such as wine or broth to release the fond and incorporate it into the dish. The fond adds flavour and complexity, resulting in a more delicious and well-rounded dish.
Fondant is a type of icing or frosting with a smooth and creamy texture. It is made by melting sugar and then mixing it with water or other liquid ingredients until it reaches a pliable consistency. Fondant is often used to cover cakes, pastries, and desserts to create a sleek and polished appearance. It can be coloured and flavoured to suit different tastes and is commonly seen in wedding cakes and special occasion desserts. Fondant is known for its versatility and ability to be shaped and moulded into various decorative designs.
Fontina (French: Fontine)
Fontina is a creamy, mild-tasting Italian cheese made from sheep’s or cow’s milk. Although made throughout the year, the best cheese is obtained during the summer when the cows are moved to an altitude of and fed only with rich grass to give it a distinctive aroma. Fontina has PDO (Protected Designation of Origin) status under European law.
Food Colouring (or colour additive)
Food Colouring is a liquid, paste, gel, or powdered edible dye used to tint foods or drinks. Food colouring is used both in commercial food production and in domestic cooking. Due to its safety and general availability, food colouring is also used in various non-food applications, including cosmetics, pharmaceuticals, home craft projects and medical devices.
Food mill (or passatutto or purée sieve or moulinette or mouli légumes or passe-vite)
Food mill is a kitchen utensil used to sieve soft foods and mash cooked food such as potatoes or soups. Using a hand-turned paddle to force food through a strainer plate at the bottom removes skin, seeds, and fibre.
Food processor is an appliance with a closed container and interchangeable blades that can chop, blend, shred, purée, or otherwise process food at high speed. Today, the term almost always refers to an electric-motor-driven appliance. However, some manual devices are also referred to as “food processors.”
Forcemeat is a mixture of ground or minced meat, typically combined with other ingredients such as spices, herbs, vegetables, and sometimes breadcrumbs or rice. This mixture is used as a filling or base for various dishes, such as sausages, pâtés, terrines, and meatballs. Forcemeat is often flavoured and seasoned to enhance the taste and texture of the final dish. It is an essential component in many classic and traditional recipes. It provides the foundation for creating delicious and flavourful dishes in the culinary world.
Frappe is a blended or crushed frozen beverage with ice, syrup, and sometimes coffee or fruit or alcohol. It is a popular drink to enjoy during hot weather or as a refreshing pick-me-up. The blending process creates a frothy texture, creating a smooth and creamy drink. Frappes can be customized with various flavours, syrups, and toppings to suit individual preferences.
Free range are animals bred for consumption that are allowed to roam and feed without confinement. This promotes better quality meats and poultry, primarily because they do not consume their own excrement, as when they are caged. On many farms, the outdoor ranging area is fenced, thereby technically making this an enclosure. However, free-range systems usually offer the opportunity for extensive locomotion and sunlight prevented by indoor housing systems. Free range may apply to meat, eggs or dairy farming.
Frenching (or French)
Frenching refers to the process of removing all fat, meat, and cartilage from the bone in a precise and elegant manner on a rack roast by cutting between the bones with a sharp paring knife, often referring to lamb, beef, or pork rib. It is commonly used in dishes like a rack of lamb, where the bones are exposed for presentation purposes. Frenching enhances the dish’s visual appeal and allows for even cooking and easy handling. The technique typically involves trimming excess fat and meat from the bone, producing a clean and attractive presentation.
Fricassee is a cooking method where meat (usually chicken, fowl or rabbit) is first sautéed and braised with aromatic vegetables, usually with onion, seasoned with herbs, then simmered in a flavourful liquid, usually a white sauce or broth, until cooked and tender. It is a gentle cooking method that results in tender and succulent meat. Fricassee is often used for chicken dishes but can also be applied to other types of meat, such as veal or rabbit. The process involves browning the meat, adding aromatic vegetables, and then slowly cooking it in the liquid until it is cooked through. The result is a delicious dish with a rich and flavorful sauce.
Frill is an elaborate and decorative garnish or embellishment added to a dish for aesthetic purposes. It is often used to enhance the presentation of a dish and make it more visually appealing. Frills can be made from various ingredients, including vegetables, herbs, edible flowers, or even intricate sugar or chocolate decorations. Frill can also be a fluted paper decoration placed over a protruding bone. This type of garnish is classically found on the presentation of a crown roast. Adding frills to a dish can elevate its appearance and make it appear more elegant or sophisticated.
Fritter is a deep-fried food that combines various ingredients such as fruits (apple, banana, pineapple), vegetables, or meat with a batter or dough. The mixture is then dropped into hot oil and cooked until golden and crispy outside. Fritters can be sweet or savoury, depending on the ingredients used. They are often enjoyed as a snack or appetizer and served plain or with sauces and dips. Popular examples of fritters include apple fritters, zucchini fritters, and shrimp fritters.
French for cheese, usually referring to various types and varieties of cheese.
Frost is a decorative coating or glaze applied to finished baked goods, such as cakes, cookies, or pastries. It is typically made from powdered sugar, milk or water and sometimes flavoured with extracts or food colouring. Frosting enhances the baked goods’ appearance, adding sweetness and a smooth, glossy finish. It can be spread, piped, or drizzled onto the desserts, allowing creative and artistic designs. The frosting also helps seal moisture, keeping the baked goods fresh and delicious.
Fry is cooking food in hot fat or oil at a high temperature until it becomes crispy and golden brown.
Fumé is a French term for foods prepared by “smoking.”
Fumet (or Fish stock)
Fumet is a concentrated stock of fish bones and heads, slowly cooked with aromatic vegetables. It is used to poach fish and seafood or to add flavour to sauces. Ready-to-use fumet is available in concentrated powder or cubes.
Fusion cuisine is a style of cooking that combines elements and techniques from different culinary traditions or cuisines.
This is not an exhaustive list, but it covers a variety of culinary terms.
Did we leave any out? What would you add to this list of culinary terms?
If you need more terms or have any other questions, please ask in the comments, and we will update our ever-growing list.
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