Show off your culinary skills with this food quiz!


Carolyn Brooks Fleming

4 Min Quiz

Image: Shutterstock

About This Quiz

Do you know all your cooking terminology? Find out by taking this quiz!

What is the term for the brown bits left at the bottom of a pan after cooking meat or vegetables?

These brown bits, called fond, are full of flavor. Use wine, broth, or other liquid to loosen these brown bits and create a gravy or sauce.


In what country is a tagine commonly used?

The tagine, used to cook Moroccan stews, is a shallow earthenware vessel with a cone-shaped lid. Some tagine stews include olives.


What is "al dente"?

When pasta is cooked al dente, it is firm to the bite.


In the cooking world, what is the difference between mirepoix and the Holy Trinity?

Mirepoix and the Holy Trinity are both veggie mixtures. They differ in their use of carrots vs. green bell peppers. Mirepoix is a mix of onions, celery, and carrots; The Holy Trinity is a mix of onions, celery, and green bell peppers.


What is the term for cooking food briefly in boiling water, to seal in flavor and color?

After food is blanched in boiling water, it is usually cold shocked in a bowl of ice water to halt the cooking process.


What is the name of a popular cold vegetable soup, popular in Spanish countries, served with a variety of garnishes?

Garnishes for cold gazpacho may include roasted almonds, avocados, shrimp, chopped hard-boiled eggs, yogurt, sliced olives, and croutons.


What is charcuterie?

Charcuterie is a French term for pork varieties, including sausages, hams, pâté, and more, whether cured, smoked, or otherwise processed.


What is the common term for cooking or baking with only basic ingredients, using no premixed items or convenience foods?

Cooking from scratch basically means starting from nothing. That's great, but it's also fine to take a few shortcuts along the way. Any attempts at home cooking should be encouraged.


What is nougat?

Nougat, a sticky filling made with sugar, nuts, and honey, is often used in candy bars and candies.


How is virgin olive oil different from other grades of olive oil?

Virgin olive oil, from the first pressing of the olives, has the finest flavor and the lowest acid content. Choose virgin oil for dipping or for final drizzles, and use lesser grades of oil for cooking.


What is the French culinary term for preparing ingredients and gathering equipment prior to cooking?

The idea is that having everything laid out in advance, mise en place, saves time in the long run. It's even possible to purchase special mise en place bowls.


What is couscous?

To make couscous, water and semolina wheat are combined, then pushed through a sieve, to create pasta pellets.


Empanadas, potstickers, pierogies, gyoza, ravioli, and kreplach are all types of what beloved food?

Dumplings are found in most cuisines. The dough is mixed and formed, perhaps stuffed, then the dumplings are boiled or sauteed.


What is the term for cooking some of the fat out of a meat, to collect the drippings?

Rendered fat is used in many recipes because it's more flavorful than cooking oil.


Béchamel, velouté, espagnole, hollandaise, and tomate are collectively known as what?

In French cooking, these five mother sauces are the starting points for many other small sauces. For example, béchamel sauce is the starting point for making mornay sauce or cheddar cheese sauce.


What is the common mistake that results in tough pie crust or biscuits?

Overworking dough develops too much elasticity in the flour gluten, resulting in tough dough.


What Chinese sauce, used in Mu Shu pork and other dishes, is made from soybeans, chiles, garlic, red beans, vinegar, and spices?

Hoisin sauce has a sweet, tart, salty flavor. It's used to make Peking Duck.


What is a bouquet garni?

The bundle of herbs in a bouquet garni may vary, but often includes parsley, thyme, and bay leaves. The herbs may be tied with string or enclosed in cheesecloth.


Often when we think we are buying and using true cinnamon, we are actually using what similar, related spice?

Cassia is cheaper and easier to produce than true Ceylon cinnamon. Both come from the bark of trees. Dried cinnamon bark curls are called quills.


Mixing lemon juice and milk makes a workable substitute for what?

Buttermilk is what's left after churning butter from cream. Therefore, it contains no butter. Its sour taste can be mimicked with an acid and a dairy product.


In Italian cooking, what is "al forno"?

Pasta and pizza are frequently prepared al forno, in an oven.


Other than pasta, what are the main ingredients in pasta carbonara?

For pasta carbonara, egg yolks are tempered, or partially cooked, in a bit of hot pasta water, then tossed with pasta, crispy ham, and grated cheese. Sometimes wine is cooked down in the ham drippings as well, for extra flavor.


How many teaspoons are in a tablespoon?

There are three teaspoons in one tablespoon. A teaspoon is smaller, so it's abbreviated with a lower-case t. A tablespoon is bigger, so it's abbreviated with an upper-case T.


Which celebrity chef first revealed the mysteries of French cuisine to an American audience?

Julia Child wrote "Mastering the Art of French Cooking" and appeared on many television shows. She was especially charming whenever she made a mistake while cooking on live TV.


What is the Portuguese term for rice?

Arroz is the Portuguese word for rice. A popular Portuguese dessert is arroz doce, which is rice pudding with cinnamon.


In Native American cooking, what are the Three Sisters?

The Three Sisters are interdependent: beans grow up the corn stalks and add nutrients to the soil, while squash keeps the weeds out.


What is a bain-marie?

A container of delicate food is placed in a bain-marie - a shallow pan of water - to facilitate slow, gentle cooking in an oven or on a stove top. This technique is used for custards, cheesecakes, and mousses.


What term should be used to ask a sous-chef to cut vegetables into long, thin strips?

Hard vegetables are easier to julienne than soft ones. First, square off the sides of the vegetable, then cut it into slices, then cut the slices into strips.


What is the term for coating uncooked meat with a flour or crumb mixture?

Sometimes meat is dipped in egg or some other liquid before it's dredged in flour or crumbs.


What is adobo?

Adobo paste, featuring chiles, vinegar, and herbs, is used as a marinade or sauce, to add Latin flair to foods.


Cavatappi pasta has what shape?

Corkscrew-shaped cavatappi pasta holds up well with sauces and is great in pasta salad.


To macerate fruit, what should you do?

Macerated fruit is a delicious topping for ice cream, yogurt, or cake.


What is a paillard?

Chicken paillard is made from pounded chicken breast, paired with lemon and herbs, tomatoes and fennel, or many other flavorful foods. The paillard technique can also be used with pork veal, or fish.


Sesame seeds are the main ingredient in what condiment?

Tahini is a condiment popular in the Middle East. There are two types - hulled and unhulled. Unhulled tahini is more bitter than hulled. Tahini is used to flavor soups and to make hummus.


Why is it called a "hamburger" when there's no ham?

No matter what, hamburgers (without ham) are the definitive American food - along with French fries, which aren't even French.


About Zoo

Our goal at is to keep you entertained in this crazy life we all live.

We want you to look inward and explore new and interesting things about yourself. We want you to look outward and marvel at the world around you. We want you to laugh at past memories that helped shape the person you’ve become. We want to dream with you about all your future holds. Our hope is our quizzes and articles inspire you to do just that.

Life is a zoo! Embrace it on

Explore More Quizzes