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ACIDULATED WATER: Vinegar, lemon, juice or wine added to water to keep vegetables or fruits from darkening.

AUBERGINE: Purple, vaguely egg shaped vegetable. In the US called eggplant. Another (Indian) word for eggplant or aubergine is brinjal.

AL DENTE: Italian term meaning cooked until barely tender, but not soft, used in reference to pasta or vegetables.

ALLSPICE: Allspice is the dried, unripe berry of a small tree. It is available ground or in seed form, & used in a variety of dishes such as pickles, casseroles, cakes & puddings. Also known as Jamaica Pepper.

AU JUS: French term used in reference to meat meaning "served in natural juices."


BASTE: To moisten with marinade or with pan juices during broiling or roasting.

BATTER: A flour-liquid mixture that is thin enough to pour.

BERMUDA ONION: A sweet onion also called Spanish onion. 

BISCUITS: In the UK, same as US cookies, small sweet cakes usually for dessert.  In the US, a type of non-yeast bread made of flour, milk, and shortening, usually served with breakfast - small, and similar to what much of the world refers to as scones.

BISQUE: A thick cream soup usually containing seafood.

BLANCH: To immerse food in boiling water for a short time.

BLIND BAKE: To bake pastry or pie shell before it's filled.

BRAISE: To prepare food by browning, then cooking slowly in a small amount of liquid in the coven or in a covered pan on the stove top.

BROCCOLRABI: A green bitter vegetable unless harvested young. Looks like broccoli but has skinnier stalks. The leaves, stems and florets are eaten. Really good sautéed with garlic and olive oil and served over pasta.


CABANOSI: A salami type sausage popular in Southern Europe.

CAPSICUM: Another name for red/green/yellow bell peppers.

CARMELIZE: Cooking sugar and water together will result in them turning a golden brown, or caramelizing. 

CASTOR SUGAR: Somewhat finer than US granulated sugar. Similar to US superfine sugar.

CHINESE PARSLEY: Also called cilantro and coriander.

CIDER: A drink (almost) always made from pressed apples, to many people but not all it is alcoholic. In the US usage is typically that 'cider' is not alcoholic and 'hard cider' is.

CILANTRO: The leaf of the coriander plant. Also called Chinese/Thai/Mexican parsley, and green coriander.

CLOTTED CREAM: Traditionally served with tea and scones; a 55% (min) milk fat product made by heating shallow pans of milk to about 82 degrees C, holding them at this temperature for about an hour and then skimming off the yellow wrinkled cream crust that forms.

COCKLES: Clams or donax. (Any of various bivalve molluscs having a shell closed by two muscles at opposite ends).

COCONUT MILK: [India/Malaysia/Thailand/Vietnam] Known as narialka ka dooth in India, Santen in Indonesia and Malaysia. Best made from fresh coconuts: Grate the flesh of 1 coconut into a bowl, pour on 600 ml/1 pint/2-1/2 cups boiling water, then leave to stand for about 30 minutes. Squeeze the flesh, then strain before using. This quantity will make a thick coconut milk, add more or less water as required. Desiccated (shredded) coconut can be used instead of fresh coconut: Use 350g/12 oz./4 cups to 600 ml/1 pint/2-1/2 cups boiling water. Use freshly made coconut milk within 24 hours. Canned coconut milk is also available.

COMPOTE: A dessert of fresh or dried fruit cooked in syrup, usually with spices and citrus zest. 

CONFECTIONERS SUGAR: Same as powdered sugar or in the UK, icing sugar.

CORDIAL: In the US, a synonym for liqueur in UK, NZ, Australia, a thick syrup (which may or may not contain real fruit) which is diluted to give a non-alcoholic fruit drink.

CORNMEAL: Ground corn (maize).

CORN FLOUR: Cornstarch. Used to thicken sauces etc.

COUGETTE: A long, green squash, in the US called zucchini. 

COUSCOUS: It is the separated grain of the wheat plant. When dried and milled, it becomes semolina flour, which is what pasta is made out of. However, as a grain, it makes a terrific rice substitute that has the advantage of being more flavorful (nutty with an interesting texture as long as it is not over cooked) as well as about five times quicker to make than rice.

CREME FRAICHE: Pasteurized cream to which a lactic bacteria culture has been added. Used in French cooking, it is thick and slightly acidic without actually being sour.


DEGLAZE: During sautéing there are small brown bits that are created that are often used in making a sauce more flavorful. This term refers to adding water or wine to a pan to dissolve these bits and bringing to a boil. 

DESSICATED COCONUT: Dried coconut shreds, similar to US coconut shreds. In the US, coconut is usually sold sweetened, this is not so common in other countries.

DEVIL: To mix with spicy or hot seasonings. 

DICE: To cut into small cubes no larger than 1/2 inch. 

DIGESTIVE BISCUITS: Almost the same as US graham crackers. 

DREDGE: To prepare food for sautéing or searing by lightly coating with cornmeal, flour or dry crumbs.

DRIPPINGS: Meat fat and juices that drip into the  pan during roasting. 



EN PAPILLOTE: French for "in a paper casing." Refers to a food in a parchment or foil wrapped. 

ESCARGOT: It is the common name for the land gastropod mollusk. The edible snails of France have a single shell that is tan and white, and 1 to 2 inches diameter. This is what you see for sale at the gourmet food market for some outrageous price.

ESSENCE/EXTRACT: While the words may be used interchangeably US-UK all essences are extracts, but extracts are not all essences. A stock is a water extract of food. Other solvents (edible) may be oil, ethyl alcohol, as in wine or whiskey, or water. Wine and beer are vegetable or fruit stocks. A common oil extract is of cayenne pepper, used in Asian cooking (yulada). Oils and water essences are becoming popular as sauce substitutes. A common water essence is vegetable stock. A broth is more concentrated, as in beef broth, or bouillon. Beef tea is shin beef cubes and water sealed in a jar and cooked in a water bath for 12-24 hours. Most common are alcohol extracts, like vanilla. Not possible to have a water extract of vanilla (natural bean) but vanillin (chemical synth) is water solution. There are also emulsions lemon pulp and lemon oil and purees (often made with sugar) Oils, such as orange or lemon rind (zest) oil, may be extracted by storing in sugar in seal ed container. Distilled oils are not extracts or essences. Attar of rose (for perfume) is lard extracted rose petal oil.


FARINA: Cream of wheat.

FAVA/BROAD BEANS: Favas as a green vegetable are popular in Europe. In Britain and Holland they are called 'broad beans' and grown as a summer crop, planted in early spring. In Italy they are planted in fall and harvested in January, and also planted in January and eaten in April and May. They come in various sizes, but in general they are large and flat.

FEIJOA: A waxy green fruit about 3" long. Although it is not a guava you may know it as a Pineapple Guava. Feijoa sellowiana is an evergreen shrub, growing to 10-16 ft. It thrives in subtropical regions but is hardy & once established will tolerate moderate frosts. They are either eaten raw (with or without the skin) or made into jellies, sauces & chutneys.

FILBERTS: Also called hazelnuts.

FIVE SPICE: It is a blend of star anise, cinnamon, cloves, fennel & Szechwan pepper. It is used in Chinese cooking.

FLAKE: To separate into flaky pieces with fingers or fork. Usually used in reference to cooked fish.

FLAMEPROOF: Cookware that can be used directly on a burner or under a broiler without damage.

FLUTE: To seal and make an attractive edge on a pie by pinching the dough all around the rim.

Fry: To cook in fat in a skillet. Food must be turned to brown and fry on all sides.


GALANGA: Used in Thai cooking, galanga is a rhizome similar to ginger in many ways. Tom ka gai (chicken in coconut milk soup) uses galanga, chicken, green chilies, lemon grass and lime juice as well as coconut milk.

GARBANZO: Also called chickpeas.

GIBLETS: Edible internal organs of poultry and game including the liver, heart and gizzard.

GLAZE: Give food a shiny coating of sauce before serving (by brushing with beaten egg, milk, syrup or melted preserves.

GREEN ONIONS: Same as spring onions or scallions, also called green shallots (an inaccurate but occasionally used description for spring onions).

GRILL: In the UK, the same as US broiler; in the US, a device for cooking food over a charcoal or gas fire.

GRITS: Usually a breakfast item in the US Southern region. Made from the kernel of corn. When corn has been soaked in lye and the casing has been removed it becomes Hominy. The lye is rinsed out very well and the corn is left to harden. Then the swollen hominy is ground up to the texture of tiny pellets. When boiled with water, milk and butter it becomes a cereal similar to cream of wheat. It's used as a side dish for a good old fashioned Southern breakfast. Sometimes you can make it with cheese and garlic for a casserole.


HABANERO: Similar to Scotch bonnet pepper. Very Hot!!!!

HALF AND HALF: A mixture of half cream and half whole milk.

HARD ROLLS: A sandwich type of roll that is a little crusty on the outside and soft on the inside. Can be made with poppy seeds or sesame seeds or plain. Often called a Kaiser roll.

HARISSA: Harissa is a paste of chilies and garlic used to enhance North African food (and is fairly popular in other parts of the Mideast, though it is probably of Berber origin). It is fairly similar to the Indonesian sauce called sambal olek.

HEAVY CREAM: Same as whipping cream or UK double cream.

HING: Also known as asafoetida, and devil's dung. A light brown resin sometimes used as a substitute for garlic and onions, or in its own right and not as a substitute for anything, it can be found in Indian groceries. Claimed properties: laxative, aphrodisiac, colic cure. A required ingredient in the Indian Tadkaa - the small amount of oil used to roast mustard seeds and similar other ingredients before adding them to the main dish.

HUNDREDS AND THOUSANDS: Also known as sprinkles or as nonpareils: small round balls of multicolored sugar used as toppings on cakes and desserts.


INCORPORATE: To combine or blend thoroughly.

INFUSE: To brew in hot water or other liquids to extract flavor.


JULIENNE: To cut into very thin strips. 



KEY LIME: Fruit, about the size of golf balls, and round. The fruits are pale yellow green, the juice is yellow and very tart, more so than standard limes. Grow in Florida, the Keys and other tropical places in the Caribbean. Used in Key Lime Pie, with egg yolks and condensed milk and in a Sunset Key with amaretto.

KOSHER SALT: A coarse crystal salt used in cooking. 


LADYFINGERS: Little finger shaped sponge cakes, used iN among other things, a popular Italian dessert called Tiramisu.

LEAVEN: To cause dough or batter to rise by use of a leavening agent, such as baking powder, baking soda or yeast which releases gases during preparation and baking.

LEMONADE: In the US, a drink made of lemon juice, sugar and water; in the UK, a carbonated drink that doesn't necessarily contain anything closer to a lemon than a bit of citric acid.



MALANGA: The word used in the Spanish speaking parts of the Caribbean for Taro root (or a close relative of Taro.) It is prepared by either boiling and mashing like potatoes, or slicing and frying into chips. It is also used in soups as a thickening agent.

MARROW: In the US summer squash. Also `vegetable marrow´.

MASA HARINA: Masa is a paste made by soaking maize in lime and then grinding it up. Masa harina is the flour made by drying and powdering masa. It is used in mexican cooking for items such as corn tortillas. The literal meaning is "dough flour".

MARSCAPONE: A soft Italian cheese (similar to cream cheese). An important ingredient in Tiramisu.

MELON: Family of fruits. All have a thick, hard, inedible rind, sweet meat, and lots of seeds. Common examples: watermelon, cantaloupe.

MINCE: To chop into fine pieces, much finer than chopping.

MIRIN: Sweetened sake (Japanese rice wine).

MIXED SPICE: It is a classic mixture generally containing caraway, allspice, coriander, cumin, nutmeg & ginger, although cinnamon & other spices can be added. It is used with fruit & in cakes. (In America ~Pumpkin Pie Spice~ is very similar).



NON-REACTIVE COOKWARE: made of glass, stainless steel, and other materials that do not react with acidic ingredients.

NUTELLA: A thick smooth paste made from chocolate and hazelnuts. Can be spread on plain biscuits, bread, toast, pancakes, or just eaten from the jar.



OSSO BUCCO: Italian for "hollow bone". An Italian dish of  braised veal shanks, prized for the flavor imparted by the marrow bones.

OVENPROOF: Cookware that can withstand oven heat.


PAVLOVA: A dessert (invented in NZ, not Australia :-) The main ingredients are sugar and egg white. A pavlova has crisp meringue outside and soft marshmallow inside, and has approximately the dimensions of a deep dessert cake. Commonly pavlovas are topped with whipped cream and fresh fruit, especially kiwifruit, passion fruit or strawberries.

POLENTA: Same as corn meal, also a thick porridge made from cornmeal. Also known as cornmeal, mush or mamaliga.

POUTINE: French fries with cheese curds and gravy.



REHYDRATE: To reintroduce moisture to dried food, usually by soaking briefly in hot or  cold liquid.

ROCKY MOUNTAIN OYSTERS: The name for prepared lamb or cattle testicles (breaded and deep fried).

ROUX: A cooked mixture of flour and a fat used as a thickener in a sauce or soup.



SACHET: A small pouch or bag used to contain herbs.

SAMBAL ULEK (SAMBAL OELEK): Used as an accompaniment and in cooking. Made by crushing fresh red chilies with a little salt: Remove the seeds from the chilies, chop finely, then crush with salt using a pestle and mortar. Three chilies will make about 1 tablespoon sambal ulek (also available redy-prepared in small jars from Oriental stores and some delicatessens).

SCRAPPLE: Scrapple is boiled, ground leftover pieces of pig, together with cornmeal and spices, usually  served with a spicy tomato catsup.

SELTZER: Plain soda water.

SHALLOTS: Not green/spring onion - mall pointed members of the onion family that grow in clusters something like garlic and have a mild, oniony taste.

SINGLE CREAM: In the U.S., light cream.

SPANISH ONION: Also called Bermuda onion.  Large and not as "hot" as standard onions.  This nomenclature may vary in some regions. Often used to mean "Red Spanish Onion" which is not so much red as purple.

SQUASH: A family of vegetables.  All but two have a thick, hard, usually inedible rind, rich tasting meat, and lots of seeds. A well known if not wide-spread example is the pumpkin. There are also things called summer squashes, which have edible rinds, milder meats, and usually fewer seeds.  An example of this type is the zucchini or courgette.

SWEAT: Consists of putting buttered parchment paper on top of vegetables in a pan, covering the pan with a lid, and letting them cook until softened.



TAHINI PASTE: - Made from crushed sesame seeds, used in Middle Eastern dishes such as Sesame Noodles, Hummus and Baba Ghanoush.

TAMARI: It is a type of soy sauce, usually used in Japanese food. You can easily substitute with Chinese Light Soy or regular Japanese soy sauce. 

TANGELO: Cross of a tangerine and a pomelo. Larger than a mandarin and a little smaller than an average size orange. Skin color is a bright tangerine and they mature during the late mandarin season. Mandarins, Tangerines or Oranges may be used instead.

TERASI: Terasi (Malaysia) also known as BLACAN/BALACHAN (Malaysia), KAPI (Thailand) and NGAPI (Burma). A kind of pungent shrimp paste, used in very small quantities. Depending on the recipe in which it is used, it can be crushed with spices to make a paste which is then sautéed in oil. Alternatively, it may be grilled (broiled) or fried first, then added to other ingredients.

TRANSLUCENT: Cooking until clear or transparent.


UNSALTED BUTTER: Butter without the 1.5 - 2% added salt that normal butter has. Often recommended for cooking. Many people prefer the taste of unsalted butter. In areas with high quality dairy products the use of unsalted butter where it is called for may not be so important, since the salt is not so likely to be covering the taste of a low quality product.



VEGEMITE/MARMITE: Not the same thing, but similar enough to not deserve separate entries. A thick brown paste made mostly from yeast extract, most commonly spread thinly on toast or sandwiches. The taste is mostly salt plus yeast. Despite the occasional rumor, neither contains any meat.



WEIGHT: To top prepared food with a heavy object to squeeze out liquid or to make it conform to the shape of a mold. WHISK: Used to beat ingredients until combined.



ZEST: It is the colored rind of citrus fruit and is normally grated or cut into thin slivers. It is used to flavor foods and beverages.

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Foodborne illness often shows itself as flu-like symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, diarrhea or fever, so many people may not recognize that the illness is caused by bacteria or other pathogens on food. The onset of symptoms may not occur for two or more days after the contaminated food was eaten. Thousands of types of bacteria are naturally present in our environment, but not all bacteria cause disease in humans. For example, some bacteria are used beneficially in making cheese and yogurt.

Bacteria that cause disease are called "pathogens." When certain pathogens enter the food supply, they can cause foodborne illness. Only a few types cause millions of cases of foodborne illness each year. Most cases of foodborne illness can be prevented. Proper cooking or processing of food destroys bacteria. Age and physical condition place some persons at higher risk than others, no matter what type of bacteria is implicated. Infants, pregnant women, the elderly and people with compromised immune systems are at greatest risk from any pathogen. Some persons may become ill after ingesting only a few harmful bacteria; others may remain symptom free after ingesting thousands. The following factors make controlling foodborne pathogens particularly challenging.

Consumers do not always take time to wash hands and utensils or thaw meats properly. Emerging pathogens demand even greater food safety vigilance than what was required in previous generations.

The food supply has become global with many different countries supplying food products to the U.S. More food is prepared and consumed away from home. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) estimates that consumers spend 43 cents of every food dollar eating out. Also, an increasing amount of food prepared away from the home is then taken home for consumption, thus creating new opportunities for mishandling. Adding to the challenge, microorganisms continue to adapt and evolve, often increasing their degree of virulence. For example, in 1990, the U.S. Public Health Service identified E.coli O157:H7, Salmonella, Listeria monocytogenes and Campylobacter jejuni as the four most serious foodborne pathogens in the United States because of the severity and estimated number of illnesses they cause. Of these, Campylobacter, Listeria and E.coli O157:H7 were unrecognized as sources of foodborne disease 20 years ago. At the same time, bacteria already recognized as sources of foodborne illness have found new modes of transmission.

While many illnesses from E.coli O157:H7 occur from eating undercooked ground beef, these bacteria have also been traced to other foods, such as salami, raw milk, lettuce and unpasteurized apple cider. Salmonella enteritidis, which once only contaminated the outside of egg shells, is now found inside many eggs, making uncooked eggs no longer safe to eat.

Campylobacter jejuni: These bacteria are the most common cause of diarrhea. Sources: raw and undercooked meat and poultry, raw milk and untreated water. Symptoms: fever, headache and muscle pain followed by diarrhea (sometimes bloody), abdominal pain and nausea that appear two to five days after eating; may last seven to 10 days.

Listeria monocytogenes: This organism causes listeriosis, a serious disease for pregnant women, newborns and adults with a weakened immune system. Sources: soil and water. It has been found in cheese; raw milk; improperly processed ice cream; raw and undercooked meat; poultry and seafood; and raw, leafy vegetables. Symptoms: fever, chills, headache, backache, sometimes abdominal pain and diarrhea that appear 12 hours to three weeks after eating contaminated food. Later more serious illness may develop in at-risk patients (meningitis or spontaneous abortion in pregnant women); sometimes just fatigue.

E.coli O157:H7: This bacterium can produce a deadly toxin. Sources: meat, especially undercooked or raw hamburger, raw milk, unpasteurized apple juice or cider, uncooked fruits and vegetables, contaminated water, or person to person contact. Symptoms: diarrhea or bloody diarrhea, abdominal cramps, nausea, and malaise; can begin two to five days after food is eaten, lasting about eight days. Some, especially the very young, have developed Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome (HUS) that causes acute kidney failure. A similar illness, thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura (TTP), may occur in older adults.

Salmonella: This group of organisms is the second most common cause of foodborne illness. It is responsible for millions of cases of foodborne illness a year. Sources: raw and uncooked poultry and meat, raw milk and dairy products, seafood, fruits and vegetables, improper handling of food. Symptoms: stomach pain, diarrhea, nausea, chills, fever and headache usually appear eight to 72 hours after eating; may last one to two days.


Bacteria may be present on products when you purchase them, such as raw meat, poultry, seafood, eggs or produce. Foods, including safely cooked, ready-to-eat foods, can become cross-contaminated with bacteria transferred from raw products, meat juices or other contaminated products or from poor personal hygiene.


Preserve the Evidence: If a portion of the suspect food is available, wrap it securely, mark "Danger" and refrigerate it. Save all the packaging materials, such as cans or cartons. Write down the food type, the date and time consumed and when the onset of symptoms occurred. Save any identical unopened products. Seek Treatment as Necessary: If the victim is in an "at risk" group, or if symptoms persist or are severe (such as bloody diarrhea, excessive nausea and vomiting or high temperature), seek medical care immediately.

Contact Proper Authorities: Call the local health department if the suspect food was served at a large gathering, from a restaurant or other food service facility or if it is a commercial product. Call the USDA Meat and Poultry Hotline at 1-800-535-4555 if the suspect food is a USDA-inspected product and you have all the packaging.


Clean: Wash hands and surface often. Bacteria can spread throughout the kitchen and get on to cutting boards, knives, sponges and counter tops. Wash hands in hot soapy water before preparing food and after using the bathroom, changing diapers and handling pets. For best results, consumers should use warm water to moisten their hands and then apply soap and rub their hands together for 20 seconds before rinsing thoroughly. Wash cutting boards, knives, utensils and counter tops in hot soapy water after preparing each food item and before going on to the next one. Use plastic or other nonporous cutting boards. Cutting boards should be run through the dishwasher — or washed often in hot soapy water — after use. Consider using paper towels to clean up kitchen surfaces. Or, if using cloth towels, consumers should wash them often in the hot cycle of the washing machine.


Don't cross-contaminate. Cross-contamination is how bacteria spread from one food product to another. This is especially true for raw meat, poultry and seafood. Keep these foods and their juices away from ready-to-eat foods. Separate raw meat, poultry and seafood from other food in the grocery cart. Store raw meat, poultry and seafood on the bottom shelf of the refrigerator so juices don't drip onto other foods.

If possible, use one cutting board for raw meat products and another for salads and other foods that are ready to be eaten. Always wash cutting boards, knives and other utensils with hot soapy water after they come in contact with raw meat, poultry and seafood. Never place cooked food on a plate that previously held raw meat, poultry or seafood.


Cook to proper temperatures. Foods are properly cooked when they are heated for a long enough time and at a high enough temperature to kill the harmful bacteria that causes foodborne illness. Use a meat thermometer, which measures the internal temperature of cooked meat and poultry, to make sure that the meat is cooked all the way through.

Cook roasts and steaks to a least 145 ºF. Whole poultry should be cooked to 180 ºF for doneness. Cook ground meat, where bacteria can spread during grinding, to at least 160 ºF. Information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) links eating undercooked, pink ground beef with a higher risk of illness. If a thermometer is not available, do not eat ground beef that is still pink inside.
Cook eggs until the yolk and white are firm, not runny. Don't use recipes in which eggs remain raw or only partially cooked.

Cook fish until it is opaque and flakes easily with a fork.

Make sure there are no cold spots in food (where bacteria can survive) when cooking in a microwave oven. For best results, cover food, stir and rotate for even cooking. If there is no turntable, rotate the dish by hand once or twice during cooking.

Bring sauces and gravy to a boil when reheating. Heat other leftovers thoroughly to 165 ºF. Chill

Refrigerate promptly. Bacteria multiply rapidly between 40 ºF and 140 ºF. Refrigerate foods quickly because cold temperatures keep most harmful bacteria from growing and multiplying. Public health officials recommend setting the refrigerator at 34 to 38 ºF and the freezer unit at 0 ºF and occasionally checking these temperatures with an appliance thermometer. Refrigerate or freeze perishables, prepared food and leftovers within two hours.

Never defrost (or marinate) food on the kitchen counter. Use the refrigerator, cold running water or the microwave.

Divide large amounts of leftovers into small, shallow containers for quick cooling in the refrigerator.

With poultry and other stuffed meats, remove the stuffing and refrigerate it in a separate container.

Don't pack the refrigerator. Cool air must circulate to keep food safe.