Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Cooking Vocab: How You Know You're In Trouble

     Cooking has an extremely extensive vocabulary, one which I'm not motivated to learn in its entirety. In fact, there are certain words that let me know if a recipe is likely to be a colossal pain in the ass. Words that indicate the slightest error will result in a gut-wrenching nightmare. Those specific words that indicate a recipe is likely to be, as they would call it in the Old West, "Highfalutin." I find recipes with many of these words are often meant to impress, and that impression often costs more than I am willing to spend. This list is by no means comprehensive:

Aioli: I use aioli on my BLT's all the time. IT'S CALLED MAYONNAISE. Yes, I know that aioli can be more than that, but slapping an "aioli" on a recipe makes it sound freakishly pretentious. "Please, try my fried baloney sandwich with honeyed kohlrabi aioli."

Best Ever: These words indicate a recipe that will be made in a slow cooker and is not, in fact, the best ever.


Deglaze: Not a terribly time consuming or difficult process, but if done with wine, is a great chance to set your stove on fire.

Emulsification: Pretentious. You're just mixing stuff that doesn't want to be mixed. Like salad dressing. Or hollandaise sauce. Or your family. Just call it mixing. Nobody is impressed.

Foam: Foam should be in your beer. Period.

Gremolata: While gremolatas are usually nothing more than lemon peel and some chopped herbs, something about the word and it's placement in a recipe strike me as needlessly pompous. "Chicken with Gremolata." What's wrong with "Herbed Chicken?"

Slider: My good friend Rachael Ray is horrifically guilty of using this term. It seems any small sandwich is a "slider." Please take this simple quiz before applying "slider" to your small sandwich. Is your small sandwich actually a hamburger you bought from White Castle? No? Then it's just a small sandwich. Knock it off.

     That's enough for now. Join me next time when I actually post about something useful! Good times!

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