The Cooking Techniques Quiz


By: Staff

6 Min Quiz

Image: Shutterstock

About This Quiz

Are you destined for "Top Chef" or more suited for "Worst Cooks in America?"

Some people eat to live, while others live to eat. If you fall into the latter category, it's likely that you view cooking as an art, not as a chore. Perhaps you're a cooking novice, but have binged every episode of "Iron Chef." Or maybe, you're pulling a "Julie & Julia" and are in the midst of cooking every recipe in "Mastering the Art of French Cooking." It's possible that you fall somewhere in between interest and obsession, and are simply interested in making a perfect filet mignon.

If you want to know how far along you are in the world of cooking techniques and lingo, take this quiz to find out!

Do you know the subtle difference between baking and roasting? What about the different ways to cure meat? Do you know what a honing steel is and how you use it? 

If you're sure you know the ingredients of a mirepoix (as opposed to a sofrito), and can list the steps needed to properly bread a chicken cutlet, you'll pass this quiz with the ease of a Granton blade cutting through a raw potato. On your mark, get set, bake! 

What is the technique for removing the browned bits from a pan to flavor sauces, soups and gravies?

This is deglazing the pan, and the resulting liquid is the delicious base for making a pan sauce or gravy. When it's served on its own, it's known as "jus."


The soaking of a fruit in a liquid so it penetrates the fruit is called:

Common ingredients used to macerate fruit include juices, sugar, liquor and syrups. It changes the texture and taste of the food. Herbs can also be macerated.


Which of these cooking methods does not involve hot oil or fat?

Boiling is cooking food in boiling water or a water-based liquid such as milk or stock. You often cook potatoes this way if you'd like to mash them. You also boil pasta to cook it.


What is a roux?

Roux (pronounced "roo") is a thickener for sauces and soups that combines equal parts flour and fat, usually butter. It's the most common way of thickening gravies and stews. In fact, it's often the base of lots of dishes.


Which of these foods might you poach in white wine?

You can definitely poach fish in white wine, although you'd want to poach eggs in water and most poultry in some type of stock. Poaching means to cook in liquid, but not fat, so it's generally a healthier way to prepare food.


What is the technique called when you plunge food into ice water as soon you remove it from cooking liquid?

This technique is called shocking. It immediately stops the cooking process. It is most often used after blanching something, which means the item is cooked very quickly in boiling water, and then shocked in an ice bath. This technique is used to remove the skins of tomatoes before canning them.


True or false: Sweating and steaming are same method of cooking.

Sweating is to cook a food over gentle heat, covered or partly covered, until it releases liquid into the pan. This technique is often used when making a mirepoix. Steaming is to cook in steam by suspending foods in a covered pot over boiling water.


True or false: There is no difference between blanching and parboiling.

Parboiling is partially boiling food then finishing the cooking later. For instance, you might parboil potatoes before roasting them. In blanching, the food is cooked briefly in boiling water, then removed and plunged into ice water to stop the cooking process.


What do you call it when something is cooked and preserved in its own fat?

Confit, a specialty of Gascony, France, is derived from an ancient method of preserving meat (usually goose, duck or pork) in which the meat is salted and slowly cooked in its own rendered fat. However, it originally meant foods that were cooked and preserved in sugar and sugar syrup.


When sauteing, which of the following do you need?

When sauteing, you need a small amount of oil or other fat in a skillet or saute pan. You then cook the food over high heat. This is a relatively quick method of cooking, and is normally used for things that have been cut into small or thin pieces.


What direction does the heat source come from when you broil foods?

Food is cooked directly below the primary heat source when it broiled. This is a quick method of cooking or finishing a dish. It can be used to brown and melt cheese on tuna melt sandwiches, for instance.


What is the boiling point of water?

The temperature at which water boils is 212 degrees Fahrenheit (100 degrees Celsius.) This measurement only holds true at sea level. If you're boiling water at roughly 6500 feet in altitude, it actually boils at 200 degrees Fahrenheit, instead. This means that recipes made at sea level need to be adjusted for higher altitude cooking.


Combination cooking uses what two cooking techniques?

Combination cooking uses both dry and moist cooking techniques. Braising is an example of this combination method.


True or false: Searing meat before cooking it seals in the moisture, resulting in a juicier finished dish.

This is false. Searing does, however, give meat dishes added depth and flavor by caramelizing the surface of the meat. Surprisingly, meat loses more juice when it's seared first.


To bard a roast means to do what to it?

To bard a roast means to tie fat, such as bacon or fatback, around it to prevent it from drying out while it cooks. It is often used on lean meats.


What three vegetables make up mirepoix?

Mirepoix is a combination of chopped carrots, celery and onions used to flavor stocks, sauces, soups and other foods. It's considered an 'aromatic.'


In what cooking method do you first brown food (usually meat or vegetables) in fat, then cook it in a small amount of liquid over low heat for a long time?

Braising is ideal for tough cuts of meat because the long, slow cooking develops flavor and tenderizes the food by gently breaking down its fibers.


What is the difference between roasting and baking?

These are essentially identical dry heat cooking methods. However, roasting generally refers to things that have a fixed structure (like vegetables or a chicken,) whereas baking typically refers to breads, pastries and other dishes where the structure of the initial product (dough, batter or custard) changes with heat.


True or false: Ceviche "cooks" fish and seafood in an acidic citrus marinade rather than over heat.

The acid from the citrus juice penetrates the flesh, breaking down the proteins and giving the finished ceviche a texture similar to seafood cooked using heat. It is technically cured, not cooked.


What are the specs of a julienne cut?

A julienne, also known as a matchstick cut, is 1/8 inch by 1/8 inch by 2 inches. The technique is often used with carrots, celery and potatoes.


What type of knife should you use to dice carrots?

A sharp chef's knife is the best knife to dice carrots (and many other vegetables.) It's important to keep your knife sharp to minimize risk of injury; the more dull it is, the more force you use when cutting, the more likely you are to slip and cut yourself (with force.)


What purpose do the oval-shaped depressions on a Granton blade serve?

The depressions on a Granton blade help keep food, like raw potatoes, from sticking to the blade as you are slicing. It also makes cleaner cuts because of how it moves through food.


What is a honing steel used for?

A steel is a long, thin, round rod made of high-carbon steel used to keep a fine edge on sharp knives. Cutting can bend the edge of knife, so the honing steel undoes some of the damage caused by regular use.


True or false: A brine is a strong solution of water and salt used for pickling, preserving and tenderizing foods.

Brining is an age-old process that has recently regained popularity. The trick is the right balance of salt in the brine; too little and it won't do any good, too much and the food will taste salty.


Which of the following is the correct order for breading a food such as a chicken breast?

To coat food with bread, crackers or other crumbs, the food is first dipped in flour, then in a liquid (beaten eggs, milk, beer, etc.,) and finally in the crumbs, which may be seasoned with salt, pepper and various herbs.


True or false: Clarified butter has a higher smoke point than regular butter.

Because the milk solids that make butter burn are removed in clarified butter, it has a higher smoke point than regular butter. This means it can be used to cook foods at higher temperatures (with no risk of setting off your smoke alarm.)


True or false: To flambe means to ignite a sauce or other liquid so that it flames.

French for "flamed" or "flaming," this dramatic food presentation is achieved when liquor is added to a food that is warmed and ignited just before serving.


True or false: You can deglaze a hot pan by adding water, stock or wine.

The liquids remove the browned food bits from the bottom of the pan, which can be used to make a flavorful pan sauce or gravy. If you serve it without seasoning it more, it's called a "jus."


What does it mean to cure a meat?

Meat can be cured in one of three ways: packing in salt, coating in sugar or smoking. All of these methods preserve perishable proteins like meat and impart different flavors. There are other ways of preserving meat, but they aren't considered "curing."


If you like your pasta prepared al dente, how do you like it?

Al dente is Italian phrase meaning "to the tooth." It's used to describe pasta that is cooked only until it offers a slight resistance when bitten into, or is firm when you bite it.


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