There are so many damn weird ass words for food these days that it’s a nightmare to figure out which language to learn, so you can speak the words of food with smartness. Give it up. Latin, French, Spanish, Japanese, Chinese, on and on and on. So many fucking words for a cut up potato. But sadly, a lot of them do a good job of describing the state and condition of the food item in question, some intimating entire recipes or several combined, just by it’s name.
So, in the short but illustrious history of Eating Out Fresno there have been some high falootin’ kewlinairy turms that have been bandied about that do bear a bit of explanation. We’ve got boil, fry, bake and sauté down. But what in the living fuck is a concasse? Great grandma knows. She called it getting ready for canning season. What jackass called cut ribbons of leaves a chiffonade? Fuck me sideways if I know, but I’ll do my best to tackle these fancy linguistic sudoku puzzles and put them in regular, if overly wordy terms.
Concasse: as in concasse’d tomatoes. This is where you quick boil (blanch) and shock tomatoes that you have scored on the bottom, so that the skin of the fruit will slide off of the flash cooked exterior without cooking the majority of the fruit. Then removing the seeds and stem area. Leaving them ready to chop or puree. (the ACTUAL definition is just to chop up something…stupid language)
Shock: (not the Shocker! Dirty minds...) When you boil an item and then remove it from the heat and immerse it in ice water to stop the cooking process.
Score: In the case of tomatoes, to make a shallow ‘X’ at the bottom for the skin to peel away from or to otherwise make a shallow cut into the exterior of an ingredient in some form.
Sachet: Bunch of spices and herbs in a teabag or cheesecloth that you figure some magical way of closing (sewing anyone?)
Chevre: Silly French word for goat cheese.
Herbs de whatever: This is always a good one to Gooble. Whichever one it is (5 spice powder, chili powder, herbs de provence, etc) it’s usually pants-easy to make yourself and you might even have most, if not all of the components in your spice rack already.
Chinois, china cap: Fine mesh strainer and something to mash stuff through the mesh. Easily faked in the home kitchen with a decently tough wire strainer and a wooden spoon. If it’s about well strained, clear broth, a wide mesh coffee filter will serve the purpose in a pinch. After all, all they do is throw a cheesecloth into the chinois.
Brunoise: A tiny cube-ish dice. It’s the old trick with an onion or other veg where you make several horizontal cuts, then several vertical, then slice across the grid. Tiny 1/8th inch squares of whatever. At some point I think I’ll actually make a video of how to do it, or at least link a better example of how (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KpqEu-YDWVQ)
And so there we go! A small handful of words that I had to bug the shit out of people to learn what the hell they really meant and how to achieve the actual reality that they implied. They’re all bloody sonovabitches, that’s for sure. And if there are any more bizarre food words that are puzzling you, send them to me! I promise to learn to the best of my interweb abilities what they actually mean and compile them into a further list of culinary vocab that I’ll wind up drunkenly posting at 3am. Promise!