Words of Interest to Cooks, Diners and Gardeners
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Our Bloomington community has a diverse
and eclectic food vocabulary because of our richly diverse
population and the high interest in food explorations. Send
us your food words and help us to grow!
U - Z
- chocolate liquor or mass, without added sugar or flavorings;
used in baking.
Upside-Down Cake - a cake with fruit placed on the
bottom of the pan, topped by batter. After baking, the cake
is turned upside down and served with the fruit on top.
Vanilla - an essential flavoring that comes from the
pod of a tropical vine, an orchid that climbs, vanilla planifolia.
It is commonly used in the United States as vanilla extract;
it is also sold powdered or by the whole pod. In Europe, the
pod is used to flavor sugar which is then used in baking.
Vanilla Extract - a vanilla-flavored product made by
macerating chopped vanilla beans in a water-alcohol solution
to extract the flavor; its strength is measured in folds.
Vanilla Sugar - sugar flavored by vanilla beans. To
make vanilla sugar, fill a large jar with sugar, break a vanilla
bean in three pieces, press it into the sugar and leave for
Veal - meat from calves slaughtered when younger than
9 months (usually at 8 to 16 weeks); has a lean, light pink
flesh, delicate flavor and tender, firm texture.
Vegetable Oil - a general term describing blends of
different vegetable oils such as corn, safflower, rapeseed,
cottonseed and/or soybean oils; these blends are generally
intended to have little flavor and aroma and to be used as
Venison - meat of deer.
Vent - to allow the circulation or escape of a liquid
Vermicelli - Italian for little worms; used to describe
very thin spaghetti; available in straight rods or twisted
into a cluster.
Vermouth - a white apéritif wine of France,
sweet or dry.
Vichissoise - a cold soup made with leeks, potatoes
Vinaigrette - a cold sauce of oil and vinegar flavored
with parsley, finely chopped onions, and other seasonings;
served with cold meats or vegetables or as a dressing with
Vintage - a word given to the harvest of grapes relating
to the year of the harvest and wine production.
Viticulture - the study of grape growing.
Volume - the measurement typically used to measure
liquids; volume measurements are commonly expressed as liters,
teaspoons, tablespoons, cups, pints, gallons, fluid ounces
Wafer - a thin, sweet biscuit.
Waffle - a light, thin batter cake baked in a special
grill called a waffle iron. Basic batter is the same as for
Warm - to heat a food using a very low temperature
of approximately 105*F to 115*F (40*C to 45*C).
Wash - to apply a liquid to the surface of an object
to remove dirt; often a cleansing agent is added to the liquid;
the process may not kill microorganisms.
Water Chestnut - the fruit of a water plant (genus
Trapa) native to Southeast Asia; has a brownish-black skin,
ivory to tan flesh, crisp texture and slightly sweet, nutty
flavor; used in various Asian cuisines.
Watercress - a green leafy little plant that grows
only in running water, and has peppery leaves prized by epicures
for salads and garnishes.
Wax Bean - a yellow version of the green bean; has
a slightly waxier pod.
Weight - the mass of heaviness of a substance; weight
measurements are commonly expressed as grams (metric) ounces
and pounds (U.S. and Imperial).
Whip - to mix ingredients quickly and vigorously by
hand or using a beater or whisk
Whisk - in cooking, a tool made of wire loops used
for beating. To stir rapidly, to blend ingredients to introduce
air with a whisk.
White Chocolate - a candy made from cocoa butter, sugar,
milk solids and flavoring; because it contains no chocolate
liquor it is usually labeled white confectionary bar or coating;
it can be eaten as a candy or used in confections and pastries.
Wild Rice - the grain of a reed-like aquatic plant
(Zizania aquatica) unrelated to rice; grown in the United
States and Canada. The grains are long, slender and black,
with a distinctive earthy, nutty flavor; available in three
grades: giant (a very long grain and the best quality), fancy
(a medium grain and of lesser quality) and select (a short
Wok - a round bowl-shaped metal cooking utensil of
Chinese origin used for stir-frying and steaming (with rack
inserted) of various foods.
Work - in cooking, this means to knead or mix gently
with the fingers.
XL - bbreviation for extra-large, such as extra-large
Yeast - a microscopic fungus that converts its food
(carbohydrates) into carbon dioxide and alcohol through a
metabolic process known as fermentation; yeast is necessary
for making beer, wine, cheese and some breads.
Yogurt - curdled or cultured milk dish with custard-like
consistency used in main dishes, in sauces and in desserts.
Yorkshire Pudding - a popover-like pastry cooked in
roast beef drippings, this is one of the great British inventions.
When cooked successfully, it puffs as high as a giant popover,
and is crusty and savory with the natural gravy of the roast.
Zest - the thin, brightly colored, outermost skin layer
of citrus fruit which contains flavorful aromatic oils and
is removed with the aid of a zester, paring knife or vegetable
Ziti - Italian for bridegrooms; used to describe large,
slightly curved tubes of pasta, similar to rigatoni.
Zucchini - a moderately long cylindrical summer squash
with smooth, dark green skin with a slightly bumpy surface,
creamy white-green flesh and milk flavor; also known as a
courgette (especially in Europe).
Zwieback - a biscuit or rusk that has been twice baked.
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