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Good Cooking's Food & Cooking Dictionary

(A) Definitions

Achiote, The seed of the annatto tree, pounded into a powder and mixed with garlic, vinegar and spices. It's used in Southwestern, Mexican and Caribbean Cuisines.

Aerate, To incorporate air to make ingredients lighter. Sifting flour is an example of the process. Whipped butter is another. Air is whipped in, thus making the butter lighter and increase in volume.

Aging, Keeping meats and a or cheese in a controlled environment for a specific amount of time in a controlled and ventilated atmosphere to permit natural flavoring and tenderizing.

Al dente, "To the tooth," in Italian. Pasta is cooked just to a firm and chewy texture.

Albaricoque, Spanish for Apricot.

Allemande, In French Cooking it means in the German style. Sauce Allemande is made from veal stock, cream, egg yolks and lemon juice.

Allium cepa, The Latin name for onions.

Annuals, Plants that grow from seeds and complete their lifecycle in less than 12 months.

Apfel, German for Apple.

Aromatics, Seasonings to enhance the flavor and aroma usually herbs and spices and some vegetables.

Artischocken, German for Artichoke.

Aspartame, An artificial sweetener known as Nutra-Sweet.

Asperge, French for Asparagus.

Aspic, A transparent meat flavored jelly/Jell-O that is firm when cold. Used to flavor and add moisture to pate, charcuterie and cold food preparations.

Aubergine , French for Eggplant.

Au Jus, This is the natural pan drippings or juice that comes from a roasting pan after deglazing.

Azuki Beans, Small red beans frequently used in Japanese Cooking.

Special thanks to my late mother Julia Rauscher Vyhnanek for her food knowledge which was the source for many of the definitions. She was a retired school teacher who was a real "Foodie"! If it were not for her, I many not have become a Chef.