19 Fancy Foodie Terms Defined (You're Not Alone)

Wherein we finally understand amuse-bouche

Fancy cooking terms have slowly infiltrated our favorite restaurant menus. We know we want the duck confit, but we’re not 100 percent sure what, exactly, confit means. So in case you’ve been wondering--because we have--here are 19 fancy foodie terms finally explained. And yes, we will get to the bottom of confit once and for all.

Meat or poultry (often duck) that is cooked and stored in its own fat.
How to say it: con-fee

Finely chopped raw meat or fish.
How to say it: tar-tar

Literally meaning “amuse the mouth,” it’s a small sampling of food served before a meal to whet the palate.
How to say it: uh-muse boosh

To slice into very thin strips
How to say it: shi-fuh-nod

Sous vide
A cooking method that consists of sealing food in an airtight plastic bag and placing it in a water bath for a long period of time.
How to say it: sue-veed

The base for many sauces, made by combining butter and flour over heat into a paste.
How to say it: rue

A mixture used to season soups and stews made with diced carrots, onions, celery and herbs that have been sautéed in butter or oil.
How to say it: meer-pwah

A thick sauce made from puréed and strained fruits or vegetables.
How to say it: coo-lee

A chilled sauce of fresh or dried fruit cooked in a syrup.
How to say it: com-pote

The blending together of two liquids that don’t typically go together, like water and fat. Mayonnaise is a common emulsion.
How to say it: Exactly how you think it's pronounced

In Japanse, omakase means “I’ll leave it up to you,” meaning you’re putting your dining experience (usually at sushi restaurants) in the hands of the chef, who decides your menu.
How to say it: oh-muh-kah-say

Herbs de Provence
A specific blend of herbs native to the south of France, which typically includes rosemary, basil, sage and others.
How to say it: erb day pro-vahnce

An Italian garnish of minced garlic, parsley, lemon rind and shredded basil.
How to say it: gre-moh-la-duh

Soaking foods in liquid so that they take on the liquid’s flavor.
How to say it: mass-er-ate

A rich brown sauce made from reduced veal and beef stock.
How to say it: demee-glahss

En papillote
A method of cooking in sealed parchment paper.
How to say it: on pop-ee-ote

This is when a halved wheel of cheese is heated and brought tableside by a waiter, who scrapes the gooey cheese directly onto your plate. (Try not to drool.)
How to say it: rack let

A French method of cooking where foods are lightly floured and then fried or sautéed in butter.
How to say it: moon yere

Mise en place
A term that refers to all the ingredients and tools necessary to prepare a certain recipe.
How to say it: meez on plahss

sarah stiefvater
Sarah Stiefvater

Wellness Director

Sarah Stiefvater is PureWow's Wellness Director. She's been at PureWow for ten years, and in that time has written and edited stories across all categories, but currently focuses...
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