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Glossary of Cooking Terms

A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

M, N & O

Mallet - A tool usually made of sturdy hard wood with a metal-reinforced striking surface; used to flatten thin cuts of meat or poultry and for cracking the shells of cooked crabs and lobsters.

Marinade - (n.) A seasoned liquid, usually containing an acid, in which foods such as meat or vegetables are steeped before cooking. The food absorbs the flavor and, in some cases, becomes tenderized because of the acid. When marinating with an acid ingredient (such as vinegar) it is important to use a non-reactive container such as glass or stainless steel.

Mash - to mix, press or otherwise make food into a soft, pulpy mass.

Measuring cups - Special cups for measuring dry or liquid ingredients. Dry measuring cups come in graduated sizes usually ranging from 1/8 cup to 2 cups or more. They are generally made of plastic or metal and have flat bottoms and flat edges. Dry ingredients should be sifted into the cup, then leveled off with the straight edge of a knife. Brown sugar and shortening should be packed tightly into the cup before being leveled off. Foods such as coconut, nuts and chocolate chips should be leveled off with your fingers. Heavy-duty heat-resistant glass cups with lips and handles are best for measuring liquids. These are usually marked in cups and fluid ounces and come in sizes ranging from 1 cup to 4 cups. Liquid measurements should be read at eye level. Measurement conversion tables here.

Measuring spoons - Similar to measuring cups, measuring spoons are used to measure smaller, more precise amounts of dry goods.

Meeting - When pre-cooked materials are put together, usually with some additional seasoning, and cooked together, usually by simple boiling, the process is called meeting. Of two quantities of things, it is the thing of the smaller quantity which is said to meet the other, for example Shrimp Cakes Meet Celery Cabbage.

Mince -To chop into extremely fine pieces of 1/8-inch or less.

Mix - Combining ingredients by stirring with a circular motion round the bowl or pan. This is a more gentle movement than beating and is not used for adding air to the mixture.

Mortar and pestle - A two-piece device used to crush and grind garlic,Mortar & Pestle herbs and other ingredients by hand. Food is placed in the bowl-shaped mortar and pounded with the hand-held pestle. Marble sets provide stable weight and an unpolished bowl gives a better grinding surface. Hardwood, porcelain and ceramic models are also available.

Nonreactive - Describes cooking and serving utensils which do not react with acids or brine to discolor food or form toxic substances. Nonreactive materials include flameproof glass, stainless steel, enameled steel and enameled iron.

Offal - Variety meats, including organs (brains, heart, kidneys, lights or lungs, tripe, tongue), head meat, tail and feet. Offal are usually prized more than simple lean meat by the Chinese.


A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

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Last Modified: 11/28/11.