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Cooking definitions and terms beginning with


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Angel Food Cake - a light, airy cake made without egg yolks or other fats; its structure is based on the air whipped into the egg whites; traditionally baked in a tube pan.

Angelica - a sweet herb used to flavor a variety of liqueurs and drinks. Candied, it is used in baking, especially fruit cakes.

Anise - a small annual member of the parsley family native to the eastern Mediterranean region; has bright green leaves with a mild licorice flavor that are sometimes used as an herb or in salads.

Antipasto - assorted hors d’oeuvres, Italian style. Often included are ripe black olives, green stuffed olives, garlic sausage slices, salted anchovy curled on a sliced tomato, cooked dried beans in a vinaigrette dressing, prosciutto (thinly sliced fat ham) with cantaloupe.

Aperitif - a cooked, usually sweet, wine, taken before a meal to stimulate the appetite.

Appetizer - a small serving of food or beverage served before or as the first course of a meal.

Apple - a pome fruit with generally firm flesh, which can range in flavor from sweet to tart, encased in a thin skin, which can range in color from yellow to green to red; apples can be eaten out of hand, cooked or used for juice and are grown in temperate regions worldwide and available all year, particularly in the fall.

Apple Butter - a very thick preserve of cooked apples.

Apricot - a small stone fruit with a thin, velvety, pale yellow to deep burnt orange skin, a meaty golden cream to bright orange flesh and an almond-shaped pit; it is highly perishable, with a peak season during June and July; the pit's kernel is used to flavor alcoholic beverages and confection.

Aqua Vitae - Latin, “water of life,” used to describe clear distilled liquors and brandies.

Arborio Rice - an ovoid, short-grain rice with a hard core, white color and mild flavor; it becomes creamy when cooked and is used for risotto.

Areca Nut - Betel nut, East India pepper plant. It is chewed in Asia to aid digestion.

Aroma - describes flavor and fragrance, both closely related.

Arrack/Arak/Raki - strong liquor distilled in North Africa and in Arab lands. It is drunk in very small portions.

Arrowroot - A flour used to thicken clear liquids because it does not cloud.

Artichoke - the large flowerhead of a plant of the thistle family; has tough gray-green petal-shaped leaves with soft flesh (which is eaten) underneath, a furry choke (that is discarded) and a tender center (called the heart which is also eaten); also known as globe artichoke.

Arugula - a leaf vegetable with dark green, spiky, dandelion-like leaves and a strong, spicy, peppery flavor; used in salads; also known as rocket, rugula, and rucola.

Asian Pear - there are so many varieties of Asian pear that no one description can apply to them all. Generally though this fruit is round with speckled tan skin and has a crisp, firm, grainy white texture similar to that of a pear, an apple or at times, a water chestnut. The taste is a cross between an apple and a pear - has a slight perfume quality. Native to China and Japan, Asian pears are also grown in many states in the U.S. They may be eaten raw or cooked.

Asparagus - a member of the lily family with an erect stalk and small, scale-like leaves along the stalk, capped by a ruffle of small leaves; a young stalk is tender with a slightly pungent, bitter flavor, an apple green color and a purple-tinged tip; becomes tougher as it ages.

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