General Culinary Information and Glossary

Common Abbreviations

t, tsp
= Teaspoon
T, TB, Tbl, Tbsp = Tablespoon
C, c = Cup
oz = Ounce
pt = Pint
qt = Quart
Gal = Gallon
lb = Pound
g = Gram
kg = Kilogram
mL, ml = Milliliter
L, l = Liter

Measurement Equivalents
= Less than 1/8 Teaspoon
3 Teaspoons = 1 Tablespoon
2 Tablespoons = 1 Fluid Ounce
4 Tablespoons = 1/4 Cup
5 Tablespoons + 1 Teaspoon = 1/3 Cup
12 Tablespoons = 3/4 Cup
16 Tablespoons = 1 Cup
1 Pony = 1 Fluid Ounce
1 Jigger = 1-1/2 Fluid Ounces
1 Cup = 8 Fluid Ounces
2 Cups = 1 Pint or 16 Fluid Ounces
2 Pints = 1 Quart or 32 Fluid Ounces
4 Quarts = 1 Gallon or 128 Fluid Ounces

Food Quantities
8 tablespoons butter = 1 stick
4 tablespoons butter = 1/2 stick
4 sticks butter = 1 pound
1 pound granulated sugar = 2 cups
1 pound brown sugar = 2 1/4 cups packed
1 cup heavy whipping cream = 2 cups whipped cream
1 large onion = 1 cup chopped
3 medium apples or bananas = 1 pound
4 ounces nuts = 2/3 cups chopped
1 cup uncooked rice = 4 cups cooked
1 large tomato = 3/4 cup chopped
3 to 4 tomatoes = 1 pound
1 pound all-purpose flour = 4 cups sifted
8 ounces chocolate chips = 1 cup

al dente:

Pasta that is cooked until tender but slightly firm to the bite.

To brush or spoon pan drippings or other fat or liquid over food, to keep the surface moist and to add flavor.

To partially cook vegetables by parboiling.

To brown meat, then cook slowly in a small amount of liquid. Used to tenderize tougher cuts of meat.

Cake pan:
Round baking pan with straight sides.

To melt sugar without scorching, until it turns golden brown and develops characteristic flavor.
To cook onions and other vegetables until sweet and golden.

Cream (as in butter and sugar):
A baking technique involving combining butter or margarine and sugar together together to a fluffy consistency.
Done by thoroughly beating butter in a bowl, then gradually adding sugar until mixture is fluffy and creamy.

Cut in (for pastry dough):
To distribute solid fat into dry ingredients with a pastry blender (or two table
knives, scissors fashion) until particles are pea size.

A very small amount, less than 1/8 teaspoon.

To pour a small amount of liquid into a hot pan in which something has been fried, to clean the pan bottom, especially as for gravy.

To finely chop.

Dredge (as in flour):
To thoroughly coat in flour.

Egg wash:
Brushing the top of a baked item, such as bread, lightly with a beaten egg.

To gently combine two ingredients, using a bottom-to-top motion with the spoon or scraper.

A thick sauce, usually made from pan drippings and other liquid, plus flour.
Sauce: food topping (may or may not be cooked) made from any ingredients on hand, including butter, flour and milk, or even eggs.

To cut vegetables in finger-length, narrow strips approximately the size of match sticks of various lengths.

Another bread-making term, refers to the folding and working motion used to make the dough elastic in consistency.

Kosher foods conform to strict Jewish biblical laws pertaining to the type of food eaten, the kinds of foods combined in one meal, and how an animal is killed.

A baking term used to refer to the shells made from egg white and flavoring, and filled with a sweet filling, or to the egg whites on a pie, and browned in the oven.

To cut or chop into very fine pieces.

A term for margarine often found in older cookbooks. A stick of oleo is a stick of margarine.

To boil vegetables until partially cooked.

Pie pan:
Round baking pan with slanted sides.

Small, inexact amounts that basically add up to "to taste."

Churned in old world tradition, Plugrá has a touch more butterfat and less moisture, which makes it richer, creamier and more flavorful than traditional American butter. The world’s greatest chefs use Plugrá in place of ordinary butter. With
Plugrá European Style Butter cakes rise higher, pastries are lighter and fluffier, and sauces are smoother.

To cook food gently in a liquid at or just below its boiling point. Meats are normally poached in stock, eggs in lightly salted water, fruit in light sugar syrup.

Punch down:
A term used in working with yeast-risen products. After letting the dough rise, one flattens it forcefully in the bowl before turning it out onto a floured board.

To rub food through a strainer, blender or a food processor, to a smooth mixture.

To decrease quantity and concentrate flavor of a liquid by rapid boiling in an uncovered pan.

In bread-making, to let the dough sit a few minutes before kneading more.

In bread-making, to leave the dough in a warm place and allow to double in volume.

Rolling boil:
When substance is boiling sufficiently that stirring with a spoon does not cause it to stop boiling.

Melted fat and flour, cooked until bubbly to remove the raw starchy taste of flour; used to thicken soups and sauces.

Royal icing:
A hard icing used for decorating purposes. This icing becomes solid quickly. It is often used on cookies. The icing, once hard, does not soften.

To quickly brown vegetables or meat in a small amount of fat.

Scald (as in milk):
To heat milk just to the point that steam is rising from it, but not to boiling.

These terms are sometimes used interchangably. Technically, a spatula is used to turn food in a pan, such as pancakes. A scraper is a flat, flexible piece of rubber attached to a handle. These are useful for scraping food down the
sides of a pan or bowl.

To quickly brown the outside of meat at a high temperature.

To cook in liquid close to the boiling point (bubbles form slowly and burst before
reaching surface).

Simple syrup:
A syrup that results from cooking water and sugar together until boiling.

Soft ball/soft crack; hard ball/hard crack:
These are candy-making terms that denote what a ball of the candy does when
placed in a cup of cold water. A good candy thermometer will have these stages noted on it.

"Spin a thread":
A candy-making term that explains the thread that appears between the spoon and candy when the spoon is lifted and turned.

To secure wings or legs close to poultry with skewers or string.