Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Tip: How much water do you use to fry French Fries?

"Aunt Sharon, how much water do you use to fry French Fries?" my cousin asked my Mom as she was trying to prepare a meal.  I was much younger than my cousin, but even I knew you used oil not water to fry things.  

We take it for grated that everyone should know the basics when it comes to cooking.  I think fear of looking like a fool for not knowing cooking terms, ingredients, and cooking techniques are a few of the reasons some people don't cook. 

Over the weekend, I received an email from a new cook asking what some of the cooking terms in my cookbook were.   There is no such thing as a silly question.  We all have to start somewhere.  

Today, my cousin is a fabulous cook, but it all began with an honest question and a genuine desire to learn. 

Below, I've made a list of common cooking terms that might be helpful to some who are just getting started in the kitchen.

Cooking Techniques

Sear:  To brown quickly over high heat.

Saute':  To fry lightly and quickly in a little hot oil or butter while being frequently turned over.

Roast:  A dry heat method of cooking meat, poultry, and vegetables in an oven.

Bake:  A dry heat method of baking bread, pies, or cake in the oven.

Steam:  To cook food over boiling water in a covered pan.

Fry:  Pan frying is done in a small amount of oil.  Deep frying is the technique of immersing the food you are cooking in hot oil.

Boil:  To cook in liquid that is bubbling.

Poach:  To gently cook in not quite simmering water or seasoned liquid.

Grill:  To cook on a grill or directly over an open flame.

On Friday, I will be posting my Everyone's Favorite Salad recipe with 
Poppy Seed Dressing


  1. How right you are everyone has to start somewhere. Diane

  2. Thanks for sharing that fantastic information.

  3. The fundamentals are so important! I'm often surprised by comments from family and friends about something I blogged about that I thought was really basic that turned out to be a big surprise to them. I've stopped leaving out information based on the assumption that everyone knows. Wonderful post!

  4. Too funny! I can totally see it though. There was a time when I didn't know ANYTHING about cooking! I wouldn't have known what a sear was when I was in my lower 20's. There are still MANY things that I don't know! Thanks!

  5. Very funny! I'm sure your cousin has a hard time living that one down! I think we've all been there!

  6. I guess I'm one of those that assume everyone knows the basics! Thanks for reminding me that there are people out there that are still very new to cooking. Going to have to make a better effort at explaining certain things. Thanks for the reality check :)

  7. Your right Diane!

    Salsa Verde: Thanks Lia!

    Recipes for Delicious, it is sometimes hard to remember to explain things that are basic. The email was a good reminder for me.

    Debbie Does Dinner Healthy, from your blog you would never know. The good thing about realizing we don't know it all is that people find you accessible.

    Pam, my cousin laughs about it. Her food is something we always look forward to eating when we get together.

    Jenn, your awesome blog is very well done and a new or experienced cook would love your blog!

  8. Linda it's so nice of you to share this info...most food blogs are for experienced cooks...It's good you have a little something for everyone.

  9. Since I teach as well, I have learned to let students and young adults know that I had to learn once too, so we have all been in that boat!

    Your post is great!

  10. Thanks for the information - it's good to review the basics! Here's a question for you - should you broil with the oven door open or closed?

  11. Everyone needs a few reminders occasionally. Thanks, teach.

  12. Love your post! And you are right, sometimes we take it for granted that everyone know what we foodies are talking about.

  13. Your welcome Recipe for Delicious!

    Thanks Bo! I run into a lot of people when I am out doing a book signing that have never cooked before. It always amazes me how many mom's and dad's don't cook for their children.

    Chef E, your right, it is good for us to remember we had to learn too and hopefully we still are learning.

    You are so funny Cathy! I love your comment!

    Thanks Stephen. I know sometimes I have to be reminded.

    Thanks Sage (Rita)! There is a lot of interest in cooking and it is fun for food bloggers help them along in their journey.

  14. You are so right! One should never assume. Thanks for the informative post!

  15. i had heard of poaching.. didnt knew what it meant..

  16. Thanks Julie M.

    Uma, it's fun to learn something new. That is one of the things I love about blogging. We can learn so much from each other!

  17. Hi, Linda. Thanks for visiting my blog. I signed up as a follower in the hopes of winning one of your cookbooks. Would make a nice gift for one of my children.

  18. Great information, especially if you don't come from a cooking family.

  19. This is super helpful, thank you for taking the time to share it :)

  20. Your blog is full of great info., tips, and recipes!
    BTW, thanks for visiting my blog, and "following" too:)

  21. Laughed myself silly over the water and french fries thingie and it reminded me of a frantic call to my mother when I was first married asking "do you put the hot dogs in the water before or after it starts boiling?"

    Great post. Lots of good information!

  22. Thanks Judy! Good luck in my next drawing!

    Thanks Mimi!

    Thank you Grace!

    Thanks Sue, I like your blog too!

    Mags, your hot dog story made me laugh!

  23. Always great to put out there basic cooking terms. Awesome. Thanks.

  24. Nice to know those terms, actually, I myself as a beginner don't know much of the terms. But I'm learning, and my husband could tell LOL! Almost weekend Linda, Have one!

  25. Glad you clarified on the terms!

    And we've certainly have a come a long way in wholesome eating!

    Hope your day's been great!