The Food Glossary: Fancy Culinary Terms Demystified

We may walk about calling ourselves foodies and may even have all the signs to prove it, but no matter how ferocious our appetite does our vocabulary really match up to our taste buds? Now I know you guys are used to my Fashion Glossary posts, but this time for a change I thought why not deconstruct some culinary concepts instead. After all, if we can’t stay hungry we shouldn’t stay foolish. So dig in my dahlings. Bon appétit! :-)

You may already be familiar with connoisseur (an expert judge in matters of taste) but did you know that a sommelier is a restaurant employee who orders and maintains the wines sold in the restaurant and usually has extensive knowledge about wine and food pairings? To put it simply, that’s the person you should ask for when you’re at a perfectly lah di dah place and find yourself painfully confused about what wine to order.

Food Glossary InOnIt


Basting is a technique of brushing, spooning or pouring liquids over food, usually meats and poultry, as it cooks. It is very important when you’re cooking meat because it helps preserve moisture, adds flavour and gives your food an attractive appearance. Chef level one has now been unlocked.

Food Glossary InOnIt


Pronounced rat-a-too-ee, this is a traditional French stewed vegetable dish. The reason I specifically put this one in here is because most people think it’s just the name of a movie (adorable Disney film, BTW). The funny thing is that the movie, too, was named after the French dish with an obvious play on the ‘rat’ part. There; now you know.

Food Glossary InOnIt


Aglio Olio
Italian for ‘garlic and oil’, it pertains to pasta dressed with garlic and heated olive oil. I’ve seen a lot of people disappointed after ordering this at a restaurant, because this pasta doesn’t come in a red or white sauce. It’s just pasta cooked in olive oil, which to some may seem too bland. So the next time you order the dish, keep that in mind. But the most important thing to keep in mind is, the ‘g’ is silent (pronounce it as AH-lyoh AW-lyoh). Makes you think of the Delhi twang with the ‘iyoh’ at the end, right?

Food Glossary InOnIt

An apéritif is a cocktail or other alcoholic beverage that is specifically served before a meal or with a small appetiser. In the culinary arts, the purpose of an apéritif is to stimulate or arouse the appetite. I think it’s a great excuse to tolerate boring social dos. I’m *big* on apéritifs—you see they whet my appetite. ;)

 Food Glossary InOnIt

Choux (pronounced ‘shoo’) is a type of pastry dough used for making items such as éclairs, cream puffs and other delish desserts. Please note, it’s pronounced nothing like it’s spelt. Shoo vaat che!

Food Glossary InOnItAt Least They Find Me Funny

Hors D’oeuvres
This is a very complicated name (pronounced or-derv) for various savoury foods usually served as appetisers. Typically smaller than main dishes, they are often meant to be eaten by hand or with minimal use of silverware. Fancy way of saying Monaco biscuit ke upar cheese and tomato ka starter, me thinks. 

Food Glossary InOnIt

Pronounced knee-aw-key, in Italian cooking, these are small dumplings made from potato, semolina, or flour, and usually served with a sauce. Fun fact: the word ‘gnocchi’ may derive from the Italian word ‘nocchio’, meaning a knot in wood.

Food Glossary InOnItI Did Not Even Have To Make This Sign

A dessert of ice cream and fruit or ice cream and syrup in alternate layers, often topped with whipped cream and served in a tall, narrow, short-stemmed glass. Sounds yummy! Now isn’t that a parfait end to a parfait glossary? I *heart* food puns.

Food Glossary InOnIt

 Of all the things I’ve done today, I’m sure I’ve made you quite hungry. So go on, armed with your newfound food knowledge, order something you never have before; and show off while you do it!

Also please remember, if you liked the glossary or you want to learn more, you can always buy me food. Just saying.

Don’t forget to share this with all the foodies you know.

Tweet to us @get_inonit and @SmritiNotani.


Photos courtesy: Pinterest,, memegenerator, gifbay, mapsofindia,, memegen

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