How well do you know cooking terms and techniques?

By: Staff Writer
Image: shutterstock

About This Quiz

Cooking is a time-honored tradition, fun and beneficial, and that's why there's a whole dictionary of terms, methods and tools. If you think you're kitchen-savvy, then now is the time to really test what you know. We'll explore some common and not so common terms that you need in the kitchen.

How do you season a cast iron skillet?

To season cast iron, you use a light layer of vegetable oil then bake it upside down for an hour. This can be performed monthly.

What is roux?

Roux is a thickening agent for sauces, and it's made from one part fat and one part flour.

What is the meaning of "mise en place" in the kitchen?

Mise en place means "put in its proper place," and it's a chef's term for gathering and prepping all necessary ingredients before starting to cook.

What is a kitchen unitasker?

A unitasker is a specialized kitchen tool that is only meant for one thing, like a strawberry huller or corn kernel remover.

Stainless steel cookware​ is which of the following?

Stainless steel is a non-reactive material, making it safe for cooking acidic foods, such as tomato sauce.

Which of these is true about aluminum cookware​?

Aluminum cookware is conductive, for fewer hotspots. However, it's also reactive, making it bad for acidic food.

What does it mean to pare?

Paring means removing the thin outer layer of fruits or vegetables. This can be done with a paring knife.

What is a bain marie?

The bain marie is a water bath used when baking custards and cheesecakes. This is used to help control temperature.

What is the technique of bruising?

Bruising herbs brings out the flavor. But be gentle. It's not like you're giving someone a black eye.

Which of these knives will NOT be in your kitchen arsenal?

Yes, your sous chef will have a knife, but there's no such thing as a sous knife. Maybe there should be!

What is julienne?

Julienne-cut vegetables are cut thin, like matchsticks. If you're not good at the julienne method, there are slicers you can buy to do it for you.

What is chiffonade?

Chiffonade is a type of cut, similar to julienne, but it involves leafy ingredients like basil, cut into little ribbons. This is sometimes used as a garnish.

How often should you oil your wooden cutting board?

It's recommended that you oil your cutting board once a month -- more often if it seems dry. This conditions the wood and keeps it in good working order.

What can you NOT clean with white vinegar in the kitchen?

The vinegar is too acidic for granite, but it can be used for virtually every other part of the kitchen with success.

What is an important seasoning, after salt and spices?

Salt is the most important seasoning in any dish and spices are great, but sometimes a dish needs some sparkle. Acids such as citrus or vinegar are important elements of many dishes.

What is a finishing oil?

Extra virgin olive oil is a finishing oil, and that means you don't cook with it. Use it after cooking, such as on top of a salad or drizzled over soup.

How long does raw ground meat stay good in the fridge?

Raw ground meat will stay good in the fridge for two days, but you can freeze it for up to four months.

How can you test whether an egg has gone bad?

The water method tells you if an egg has gone bad. Drop it in cold water -- if it floats, it goes in the trash.

What is a baton?

Baton is a shape. A French fry or a carrot stick is a baton. This is a finger-friendly food shape.

What is a cloche?

The dome-shaped bread baker gives the bread a nice crust while still retaining the moisture. This is not to be mistaken for the glass cloche that you put over plants.

What is a fool?

A fool is any dessert that involves a stewed fruit mixed with custard, whipped cream or pudding. And if you are eating it, you ain't no fool.

Is it safe to eat seafood or chicken that is opaque?

Opaque chicken or seafood is not translucent anymore. This is safe to eat if the internal temperature is appropriate - 165 degrees in the case of chicken.

What is a tagine?

This cone-shaped casserole dish is used in Moroccan cooking. It is usually an earthenware pot.

Which of these should not be cleaned with soap?

Some agree and some don't, but generally, you don't want to use soap on cast iron. If there are bits stuck to the pan, you can scrub them with salt and a paper towel.

Approximately how long can you keep yogurt in the fridge?

Unopened yogurt will keep in the fridge for around two weeks. Otherwise, it turns into cheese! Not really, but it's no good.

Which of these is a poor flavor combination?

There are some flavor combos that work for pretty much anything, but vanilla, garlic and turmeric is not one of those combos. Seriously, don't do it.

How many hours of daily sunlight do indoor herbs require?

When growing indoor herbs, they need a lot of sunlight. Aim for at least 4 to 6 hours a day.

What does one stick of butter convert to?

One stick of butter converts to 8 tablespoons or 4 ounces. But if you're Julia Child, maybe you're not counting.

What is a bouquet garni?

A bouquet garni consists of herbs that are tied together and added to the pot while cooking, to add flavor. Discard the bouquet garni before serving!

What is a cocotte?

A cocotte is a covered dish or casserole. Food can be both cooked and served in the cocotte.

What is en croute?

When you cook en croute, you're cooking the ingredients in a pastry crust. Think chicken pot pie or beef Wellington.

What is a fluted pan?

A fluted pan has a shape that the cake or pie will then resemble. The decorative ridges and designs in your pie pan or Bundt pan are flutes.

What is parboiling?

You parboil ingredients in order to begin the cooking process, to prepare them for further cooking later in the recipe. You can also parboil to remove unwanted flavors or salt.

What is hard crack in the candy-making process?

Hard crack refers to the stage in the candy-making process when the sugar has turned to syrup and can be made into lollipops, at 300 to 320 degrees F. Continue heating to more than 320 degrees to make caramel.

How can you fix an over-salted dish?

Conventional wisdom held that a raw potato would soak up excess salt from an oversalted dish. However, this isn't true. The potato will soak up some of the liquid, including its salty flavor, but the remaining liquid will still have the same proportion of salt. To reduce salty flavor, add more water or other ingredients to dilute the salt.

About HowStuffWorks Play

How much do you know about dinosaurs? What is an octane rating? And how do you use a proper noun? Lucky for you, HowStuffWorks Play is here to help. Our award-winning website offers reliable, easy-to-understand explanations about how the world works. From fun quizzes that bring joy to your day, to compelling photography and fascinating lists, HowStuffWorks Play offers something for everyone. Sometimes we explain how stuff works, other times, we ask you, but we’re always exploring in the name of fun! Because learning is fun, so stick with us!

Explore More Quizzes