mistercomedy

mistercomedy
Location
Minneapolis, Minnesota,
Birthday
March 30
Bio
Michael Dane is America's favorite middle-aged, Jewish, bisexual social satirist. Or, at least one of them. Often referring to himself in the third person, he used to do standup comedy on the road, but now he just writes down funny things. His book of food humor, called "Does This Taste Funny? A Half-Baked Look at Food and Foodies," is available at Amazon.com

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APRIL 24, 2012 4:14PM

you can look it up...

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Learning to cook requires learning a new language as well. It seems like there are dozens of terms for even the simplest kitchen tasks, and a lot of the words aren’t even in English! As I started to cook more, I gathered more recipes online, and had to look up more words online.

I’m always a little nervous using Wikipedia because it’s ‘community edited,’ which means anybody can change an entry. I hear it’s better now, but I was always worried that I would try some technique from Wikipedia for making short ribs and accidentally create a crude explosive device.

I knew I had to stop relying on the internet when I read this entry for the word ‘julienne’:

 

ju·li·enne   [joo-lee-en; Fr. zhy-lyen] adjective (of food, especially vegetables) cut into the shape of sixties actress Julie Newmar (derived from ‘Julie N.’)

 

Of course by now, I’ve mastered quite a few bits of cooking jargon, which I try to subtly drop into the conversation. Some people are less impressed than others –

 The Girlfriend: What’s for dinner tonight, sweetie?

Me: Well, I blanched some haricots verts to go with the braised turkey, and right now I’m working on a remoulade.

The Girlfriend: So, did you say we’re having turkey?

There’s no reason to memorize every arcane food word or phrase, but you should probably learn a handful of basic terms. Now, some of these refer to fairly advanced techniques or complicated dishes, so I thought it would be helpful if I simplified, or entirely made up, some definitions for the novice cook.

 

A COOK’S LEXICON

Note: Some definitions may not be ‘technically’ correct or accurate, and certain foods mentioned may not, in fact, exist.

Antipasto: small, unsatisfying portions of food served before the meal, typically at tedious group events, designed to distract people from how long it’s taking to get their main course

Aspic: a jellied meat stock, initially created as a prank that got out of hand…since it is a jellied meat stock, it is not meant for actual consumption

Bard: to tie fat around meat before cooking, in order to increase the amount of fat…also, to recite Shakespearean monologues while cooking

Broiler: the part of an oven, typically on the bottom, that is impossible to clean…most often used to test the smoke alarm in my apartment

Brûlée: from the French for ‘burnt,’ first used to illustrate that everything sounds more appetizing in French

Burgoo: a spicy stew, sometimes called ‘roadkill soup,’ popular in areas where people would willingly eat something called ‘roadkill soup’

Caul fat: the fatty membrane surrounding an animal’s internal organs, used in dishes that require a fatty organ-covering membrane

Free range chicken: any chicken that is allowed to roam outside of a cage before being slaughtered; these ‘special chickens’ are able to run errands, get library cards or take night classes…they can frequently be found taunting traditionally ‘caged’ chickens

Mandolin: a device used for cutting food into uniformly sized slices; often confused with ‘mandolin,’ a device used for creating bluegrass music; the first mandolins actually were used for both purposes

Mince: to finely chop something while watching ‘Sex and the City’

Parboil: a combination of the words ‘partially’ and ‘boil’… related words include ‘almosteam’ and ‘sortapoach.’

Proof (see also Prove): in baking, the process of illustrating, through logic and deductive reasoning, that you should make cookies more often

Reduce: when referring to liquid in a pan or skillet, the step immediately before ‘burn’

Salamander: a kitchen tool used by chefs to aid in browning meat; more frequently, a double entendre employed by chefs, as in, “Waitress, have you seen my salamander?”

Sauerkraut: A generally unhappy marriage of cabbage and bacteria, from the same people who brought us World War II

Scotch egg: the result of taking a hardboiled egg, wrapping it in sausage, coating it with bread crumbs, and then deep-frying; a technique designed to make something bad out of something healthy (see also ‘Scotch broccoli’)

Tofu: a tasteless, oddly-textured substance that allows vegetarians to believe that they don’t miss real hot dogs

Yam: Apparently not the same as a sweet potato; best to avoid both just to be sure.

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Gosh, I haven't had a good laugh like this in a long time. I especially love this:
Free range chicken: any chicken that is allowed to roam outside of a cage before being slaughtered; these ‘special chickens’ are able to run errands, get library cards or take night classes…they can frequently be found taunting traditionally ‘caged’ chickens.

I grew up on a farm and occasionally a chicken would escape the chicken coop, and, I swear, strut about in full sight of the poor clucks inside, gracefully picking under its wings with its beak. I think that means something in chicken language.
I don't know where you get the funny symbols, but "brule" needs an accent. Also, I think, an extra e at the end, as in "brulee," at least if you mean Creme Brulee. The local gourmet supermarket, Fresh Market, used to sell creme brulee where they didn't do the final step of torching the top. I (and I'd imagine other customers) pointed out that if they didn't torch the top, their creme brulee wasn't brulee because, as you point out, brulee means burned. So the bakery started keeping a little blowtorch around just for that dessert.

Are cooking mandolins double-strung, so you get thin slices alternating with thick slices? That would be cool. Maybe we should go into business selling electronic tuners for cooking mandolins and, if we want to push it, picks. Mandolins not only work for bluegrass, they also work fantastic for the Godfather theme.
Very funny post. No to Tofu, Scotch egg, caul fat, Brule, and aspic. Yuck!/r
Love them free range chickens!! HERE CHICKEEE CHICKEE!! :D
Thanks for this marvelous dictionary. Interesting Julie Newmar reference.
Wow I really am looking up to you cause I learn or rather relearn many of these things mentioned.
........(¯`v´¯) (¯`v´¯)
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............... *•.¸.•* ♥⋆★•❥ Thanx & Smiles (ツ) & ♥ L☼√Ξ ☼ ♥
⋆───★•❥ ☼ .¸¸.•*`*•.♥ (ˆ◡ˆ) ♥⋯ ❤ ⋯ ★(ˆ◡ˆ) ♥⋯ ❤ ⋯ ★
La Nortena
I especially love this:
Free range chicken: any chicken that is allowed to roam outside of a cage before being slaughtered; these ‘special chickens’ are able to run errands, get library cards or take night classes…they can frequently be found taunting traditionally ‘caged’ chickens.