Sabayon – Also known as zabaglione. A delicious dessert containing egg yolks, wine, cream, and sugar. Can be eaten by itself or served as a sauce for other desserts.
Sable – A rich short cookie similar to shortbread.
Sabrosas – [Spanish] tasty.
Sachertorte – [German] a rich chocolate cake.
Saddle – The undivided loins of an animal, roasted as a unit.
Saddle blankets – Cowboy name for large pancakes.
Saffron – Fragrant, thread-like, hand-picked stigmas of the autumn Crocus sativus plant, originating in the eastern Mediterranean, now grown as well in Spain, France, and South America. It has a characteristic pungent aroma and flavor and bright yellow color. It is also very expensive and used sparingly. It takes only a few threads to achieve the desired flavor and color. Saffron is indispensable in paella and bouillabaisse. A good substitute for the yellow color is turmeric, though nothing can replace its unique flavor. [Sp.] azafr n.
Sage – A relative of the mint, it is the predominant spice in American turkey stuffing.
Saguaro – Tall cactus found in Arizona; its fruit is made into jams and jellies.
Saignant – [French] referring too meat preparation – undone.
Sake – Japanese rice wine. Necessary to good Japanese cooking. The term “Ginjo” on the label means “superior.” The term “Dai-ginjo” on the label means “superior premium.” These indicate the highest grades of both pure rice (from which all sake is derived) and fortified sake. “Futsu-shu” is the lowest grade sake and is used in Japan most often as cooking wine. “Honjozo-shu” is a slightly better grade and is stronger and fuller; it can be served hot or cold. “Junmai-shu” is made from koji rice, yeast and water, and is usually served at room temp. “Kijo-shu” is sweeter and is generally served as an aperitif. And “Nigori,” which is cloudy or “impure” and effervescent, is slightly sweet and therefore served at the end of a meal. Found in Japanese markets, larger supermarkets and liquor stores.
Sal – [Spanish] salt.
Salami – [Italian] spiced pork sausage, prepared fresh or smoked.
Salchicha – [Spanish] sausage.
Salisbury steak – A restaurant term for quality hamburger, made of chopped sirloin.
Salmon – One of the most popular fin fish, rich, oily (beneficial oil). and highly flavorful. Many markets sell “Norwegian” salmon as if it were a distinct species; but it is actually Atlantic salmon (and Atlantic salmon is now grown in the Pacific Northwest, northern Europe, Chile, and any place else there is cold, protected sea water). There are five species of wild Pacific salmon – king (or Chinook) and sockeye, which are leaner than Atlantic salmon; coho (silver); and chum (keta).
Salmagundi – A mixture of many foods cut into pieces – meat, chicken, seafood, cheese, vegetables, combined with or without a sauce, served cold.
Salmis – A fricassee or stew made from game birds.
Salpicon – [Spanish] shredded or finely cut; Mexican shredded meat salad; hash. Cooked food cut into tiny pieces, usually as a filling for pastry.
Salsa – [Spanish and Italian] sauce. Salsa refers to cooked or fresh combinations of fruits and/or vegetables. The most popular is the Latino mixture of tomatoes, onion and chile peppers.
Salsa cruda – [Spanish] uncooked sauce.
Salsa de rojo – [Spanish] red chili sauce.
Salsify – Also called the oyster plant, (See Oyster plant) because it, at least theoretically, tastes like an oyster. Grayish or black (in which case it is called scorzonera) on the outside and pearly white on the inside, this root should be peeled and dropped into acidulated water to prevent discoloration.
Salt cod, dried – Codfish that has been cured with salt, common in Mediterranean and Caribbean cooking. Also known as baccal . Must be soaked in water for at least 18 hours, changing the water several times, before you cook it. Buy in Delicatessens and seafood shops.
Salt hoss – Cowboy term for corned beef.
Saltimbocca – An Italian dish comprised of thin slices of veal, rolled around ham and cheese, seasoned with sage and braised in butter until tender.
Saltpeter – Potassium Nitrate. A common kitchen chemical used in preservation of meat or preparing corned beef or pork. May be purchased at drugstores.
Salvia – [Spanish] sage.
Sambuca – An anise-flavored, not-too-sweet Italian liqueur which is usually served with 2 or 3 dark-roasted coffee beans floating on top.
Samosa – An Indian snack of deep-fried (sometimes baked) dumplings stuffed with curried vegetables meat or both. Most common of the fillings is potatoes or cauliflower with peas.
Samovar – [Russian] metal tea urn heated from an inner tube, in which charcoal is burnt.
Sandia – [Spanish] watermelon.
Sangria = [Spanish] drink made from sweet red wine, pieces of fresh fruit (usually orange and lemon), spices (cinnamon, cloves).
Sangrita – [Spanish] tequila and chile cocktail.
Sardine – Small, silvery fish with rich, tasty dark flesh. Enormously popular in Europe as an appetizer. Fresh sardines should be iced immediately after catching and are great broiled.
Sarton – [Spanish] skillet.
Sasafras – [Spanish] sassafras.
Sashimi – A Japanese dish of raw fish, shellfish, and mollusks served with soy sauce, wasabi, and pickled vegetables. Sushi is similar but it is served with vinegared rice, and may also include nori seaweed, vegetables, and strips of cooked eggs similar to omelets. A common accompaniment to this is pickled ginger.
Satay – Also spelled sate and sateh. These are pieces of meat or fish threaded onto skewers and grilled over a flame. Several variations of these are seen throughout Southeast Asia. A spicy peanut sauce is served with meat satay in Vietnam and Thailand.
Saturated fat – Mainly derived from animals, although some vegetables are also highly saturated. A good clue that a fat is saturated is that it is solid at room temperature.
Sauce piquante – A thick, sharp-flavored sauce made with roux and tomatoes, highly seasoned with herbs and peppers, simmered for hours.
Saucisse – [French] a very small sausage.
Saucisson – [French] sausage.
Sauerbraten – [German] sweet and sour beef in gravy.
Sauerkraut – [German] sour cabbage; shredded and pickled cabbage.
Saumon – [French] salmon.
Sausage casings – Made from beef or pork products, available by special order from good meat markets or by mail order.
Saute – [French] to prepare food by rapidly friying in shallow, hot fat, and turned until evenly browned.
Savarin – [French] rich yeast cake, which is baked in a ring mold and soaked in liqueur-flavored syrup. Served cold with cream or cream sauce.
Scald – To prepare milk or cream by heating it to just below the boiling point; to prepare fruit or vegetables by plunging into boiling water to remove the skins.
Scallion – Actually a green onion, a scallion is an immature onion with a white base (not yet a bulb) and long green leaves. Both parts of the scallion are edible.
Scallop – A mollusk with creamy texture and subtle but distinctive flavor. True bay scallops and se scallops are the best. Bake in layers with sauce. If desired top with crumbs.
See also Escallop
Scaloppini – [Italian] veal slices pounded very thin.
Scampi – Another word for langoustine, or shrimp. This word is used in the U.S. as a description of shrimp broiled with butter, lemon, and garlic.
Schnecken – [German] round yeast coffee cakes.
Schnitzel – [German] veal cutlets.
Schwarzbrot – [German] dark whole grained bread.
Schwein – [German] pork.
Scones– [Great Britain] Biscuits; a small, lightly sweetened pastry similar to American biscuits, often flavored with currants.
Score – To make lengthwise gashes on the surface of food.
Scrapple – Meat dish of freshly-butchered pork scraps and cornmeal.
Scungille – See “Conch.” A shellfish.
Sea bass – This small, firm-fleshed species is one of the best fish to cook whole. The black sea bass of the North Atlantic is the most commonly seen species. Look for clean and sweet-smelling fish.
Sea plums – Canned oysters.
Sea Urchin – A round spiny creature found off the coasts of Europe and America. The only edible portion is the coral, usually eaten raw with fresh lemon juice.
Sea vegetables – A rich source of iodine and an important food source in many oriental cultures. Sea vegetables such as dulse, hijiki and arame can be soaked briefly in water, squeezed dry, and cut up for salad. Laver (nori) is what you use to make sushi.
Sear – To prepare meat by browning it rapidly with fierce heat to seal in the juices and flavor of the meat.
Season – To add flavor to foods in the form of salt, pepper, herbs, spices, vinegar, etc. so that their taste is improved.
Seasoned flour – Flour flavored with salt and pepper and sometimes other seasonings.
Seaweed sheets, dried – Also known as nori and laver. Find in Oriental markets and larger supermarkets.
Seca (seco) – [Spanish] dried.
Secos y asados – [Spanish] dried and roasted.
Selle – Saddle (See “Saddle of lamb, veal,” etc.)
Semifreddo – Meaning “half cold”, this is gelato with whipped cream folded into it.
Semilla – [Spanish] seed.
Semisweet or bittersweet chocolate – often utilized in cake and cookie recipes. Both terms are often used interchangeably, though bittersweet generally has more chocolate liquor (the paste formed from roasted, ground cocoa beans). Semisweet chocolate contains at least 35% chocolate liquor, while some fine bittersweets contain 50% or more. Either chocolate possess a deep, smooth, intense flavor that comes from the blend of cocoa beans used rather than added dairy products. Sugar, vanilla, and cocoa butter must be added to the liquor to enhance the chocolate flavor.
Semolina flour – A delicately flavored, coarse flour made from durum wheat, primarily used in making pasta and bread.
Sencillo – [Spanish] simple.
Serenata – [Spanish] codfish salad.
Serrano chiles – Serrano means from the mountains; medium green chile, becoming brilliant red when ripe; extremely hot; usually shorter and thinner than the jalape o; a basic ingredient for salsas, sauces, marinades and escabeches; jalape os may be substituted.
Serrano seco – [Spanish] dried red serrano chile.
Sesame oil – This oil pressed from the sesame sees has a slightly nutty flavor. Used as a flavoring in Oriental cooking, not a cooking oil. Used for flavoring a dish at the last minute. The health food-store version is not made from toasted sesame seed, so the flavor is very bland. Find in Oriental markets and larger supermarkets.
Sesame seeds, toasted – Often used as garnish in many cuisines. To make – Toast raw sesame seeds in a frying pan over medium heat until golden brown. Shake and stir the seeds over the burner to get even coloring. Ready for use.
Sesos – [Spanish] brains.
Seviche – A popular dish in Latin-American cookery, a dish of raw fish, scallops, or shrimp marinated in citrus juices until the flesh becomes “cooked”. Onions, peppers, and chiles are then added to finish the dish.
Shallot – A bulbous herb whose flavor resembles an onion. In some areas the term applies to the green tops as well as the bulb. They are called “scallions” or “green onions” elsewhere.
Shaslik – Skewered, broiled marinated lamb.
Shell steak – The same as Delmonico. (See “Delmonico”.)
Sherry vinegar – This recent addition to American markets is a good wine vinegar that is better than inexpensive balsamic vinegar. May be used in salads, and also as a marinade for grilled and broiled dishes.
Sherbet – A frozen mixture containing fruit juices, water or milk, to which various thickeners are added before freezing, such as egg whites or gelatin.
Shirataki Noodles – Thin, long, translucent noodles made from very fine strands of a gelatinous substance called konnyaku, which is taken from the “devil’s tongue plant” (Japanese yam). Their texture is slightly rubbery and they do not have any flavor. The noodles will pick up the flavor of the broth or other ingredients in the dish in which they are simmered. They are available dried or packaged in water in a plastic casing that gives it a sausage-like shape. They are also found packaged in cans.
Shirred eggs – Eggs broken into shallow ramekins containing cream or crumbs, then baked or broiled until set.
Shish kebab – Cubes of meat cooked on a skewer, often with vegetables.
Shiitake – The best domesticated mushroom, with a rich, distinctive, smoky flavor. Do not eat the stem, but save it for stocks. Can be found in most Oriental markets dried. Also found fresh or dried in some larger supermarkets.
Short loin – The tenderloin.
Short ribs – The cut off ends of the prime rib, which should be cooked in liquid until quite tender.
Short-broiling – The same as parboiling or poaching.
Short-grain rice – The most common rice in Japanese cooking. It has a short oval shape compared to long-grain rice. Also known as pearl rice.
Shortbread – A butter-rich cookie from Scotland, often seasoned with lemon, cinnamon, ginger, almonds and cumin.
Shortening – Although good at holding air, shortening has little flavor. It is just a fat solid. Stick with butter for baking.
Short’nin’ bread – Sweet, rich quick bread.
Shoyu – Japanese for Soy Sauce.
Shrimp – America’s most popular shellfish, the best shrimp is freshly caught and fairly local. Most shrimp is frozen however.
Shrimp powder, dried – Tiny shrimp dried and ground into a fine powder. Found in Oriental markets.
Shuck – To peel off or remove the shell of oysters or clams, or the husk from an ear of corn.
Sidra – [Spanish] cider.
Sieve – A fine, mesh strainer.
Sift – To pass flour or sugar through a sieve to remove lumps and add air.
Silver dragees – Tiny, ball-shaped, silver-colored candies.
Silver foil (Vark) – Edible silver in ultra-thin sheets. Used for fancy garnishing in Indian cooking.
Simmer – To cook food in liquid which is heated to just below boiling point.
Sincronizada – [Spanish] double-decker quesadilla.
Single cream – [Great Britain] Light cream.
Sippets – Small pieces of toast, soaked in milk or broth for the sick; bits of biscuit or toast used as a garnish.
Sirloin steak – A juicy, flavorful cut of beef from the portion of the animal between the rump and the tenderloin.
Skate wings – This is the edible portion of the skate. The flesh, when cooked, separates into little fingers of meat and has a distinctive rich, gelatinous texture. The taste is similar to that of scallops. Never buy skate with the inedible skin on as it is very difficult to remove.
Skewers – Long thin metal pins on which food is impaled for grilling or broiling.
Skim – To remove cream from the surface of milk, fat from the tops of gravies and sauces or frothy scum from broths or jam and jellies during cooking.
Skirt steak – The diaphragm muscle, a little know but delicious cut of beef, very tender and juicy if broiled quickly and served rare.
Skunk egg – Cowboy term for an onion.
Slap bread – Hand-shaped bread, slapped thin, such as tortillas and fry bread.
Smitane – Wine sauce with sour cream and onions added.
Smoking – Method of curing foods, such as bacon or fish, by exposing it to wood smoke for a considerable period of time.
Smorgasbord – A Swedish buffet of many dishes served as hors d oeuvres or a full meal. Similar buffets are served throughout Scandinavia, as well as the Soviet Union. Common elements of a smorgasbord are pickled herring, marinated vegetables, smoked and cured salmon and sturgeon, and a selection of canap s.
Smother – Cook slowly in covered pot or skillet with a little liquid added to saut ed mixture.
Snow peas – Edible-pod peas with soft, green pods and tiny peas.
Soba noodle – Buckwheat noodles, brown, flat, resembling spaghetti, used in Japanese cooking. Usually served in broth.
Soda bread – Irish bread; a baking powder bread, or one made with sour milk and baking soda.
Sofrito – [Spanish] famous seasoning mix which includes cured ham, lard or canola oil, oregano, onion, green pepper, sweet chile peppers, fresh coriander leaves and garlic.
Soft grub – Hotel or diner food.
Sonorenses – [Spanish] Sonora-style.
Sopa – [Spanish] soup, dry or liquid.
Sopa seca – [Spanish] dry soup with very little liquid left after cooking.
Sopaipillas – [Spanish] sofa pillows; fritters soaked in honey; a puffed, fried bread, served with honey (or a mixture of honey and melted butter) or syrup or slit, then filled with various stuffings.
Sopes – [Spanish] little round antojitos of tortilla dough.
Sopressata – [Italian] Italian dry-cured salami. It can be made of fresh hams as well as other cuts. Pork is the traditional meat used, though it is sometimes made using beef. The meat is either coarsely pressed or ground as with other salamis. Pressing gives it an uneven, rustic appearance when sliced. Soppressata is a specialty of southern Italy, and often includes hot pepper (though, as with all salami, seasonings vary). The sausage is hung up to dry for anywhere between 3 and 12 weeks, depending on the diameter, and loses about 30 percent of its original weight. Cured soppressata is often stored in jars of olive oil. It is commonly sliced thin and placed on crackers or sandwiches or eaten by itself.
Sorbet – [French] water, sugar, and flavorings, usually fresh fruit, frozen in an ice-cream machine. Best eaten immediately after making.
Sorrel – Somewhere between an herb and a green, sorrel has a sour, lemony flavor. It is used to flavor sauces and is great in soups.
Sotanghon – also called bean threads, are made from the starch of green MUNG BEANS or MONGGO. Sold dried, cellophane noodles must be soaked briefly in water before using in most dishes. Presoaking isn’t necessary when
they’re added to soups. They can also be deep-fried. Other names for sotanghon include cellophane noodles, bean thread vermicelli (or noodles), Chinese vermicelli, glass noodles and harusame.
Soubise – [French] with a flavoring of pureed onion.
Souffle – From the French for “breath,” a fluffy, airy dish that can be sweet or savory. Souffles rise as they bake, forming a top hat-like shape and most should be served immediately.
Sour cream – Cultured cream that gets its tanginess from lactic acid. Note that there is a big difference between sour cream and spoiled cream.
Sour oranges – Seville oranges; ornamental oranges.
Sourdough – Yeasty fermented bread; the natural starter is kept in a jar or crock.
Sous-vide – French for “under vacuum” is a method of cooking in which food is vacuum-sealed in a plastic pouch or a glass jar and then placed in a water bath or steam environment for longer than normal cooking times (usually 1 to 7 hours, up to 48 or more in some cases) at an accurately regulated temperature. The temperature is much lower than normally used for cooking, typically around 55 to 60 degrees C (131 to 140 degrees F) for meat, higher for vegetables. The intent is to cook the item evenly, ensuring that the inside is properly cooked without overcooking the outside, and to retain moisture.
Souse – to pickle food in brine or vinegar; such as soused herrings.
Soy bean – Soybean are round, under one-half inch in diameter, and usually yellowish, although the may be other colors. Soy bens are used to make a host of soy products, including tofu.
Soy milk – the liquid left after beans have been crushed in hot water and strained. Soy milk is a favorite beverage in the East. In Hong Kong, soy milk is as popular as Coca-Cola is in the United States.
Soy sauce, light – To be used when you don’t want to color a dish with caramel coloring, which is what dark soy contains. Do not confuse this with “Lite” soy sauce.
Soy sauce, lite – Lower in salt and flavor than other soy sauce.
Soy sauce, dark – Used in dishes in which you want to color the meat and sweeten the flavor with caramel sugar. Most common soy sauce.
Soy sauce, Japanese – Chinese soy is very different from Japanese. Japanese soys contain much more wheat flour and sugar. Buy in larger quantities in a Japanese market. It is cheaper that way and it will keep well if kept sealed.
Spaghetti – [Italian] long strands of pasta of various thicknesses and colors.
Spaghetti squash – The flesh of this squash resembles a mass of spaghetti-like strands. It is very bland in comparison to other winter squash. Bake or steam it until done (cook whole, piercing skin a few times). Cut it in half and scrape out the strands, toss with sauce or butter and seasonings, or make into pancakes as you would grated zucchini.
Spanish onions – Like Bermuda onions, these are large, relatively mild, easy to handle, and keep well for weeks. Good for baking.
Spare ribs – The long cut of meat from the lower breast bone of the hog. Spareribs are best cooked slowly, so that their fat can be rendered and they can become tender.
Spaetzle – This is a coarse noodle from Alsace and Germany made of flour, eggs, oil, and water. The soft dough is dropped into boiling water (with a spaetzle press) and poached until cooked through. The noodle is then fried in butter or oil and served as a side dish to meat dishes. Spaetzle may also be flavored with cheese, mushrooms, and herbs.
Spatchcocking – A technique whereby poultry shears or a sharp knife is used to split chicken along backbone, leaving breastbone intact. Spatchcocked chicken is generally served with a vinaigrette sauce
Speck – Cured and smoked pork flank.
Spelt – An often neglected wheat berry, overlooked in favor of those better suited to bread making. Spelt has a magnificent wheaty flavor. A very similar grain is the Italian grain farro.
Spiedini – An Italian word for skewers of meat or fish grilled over a flame or under a broiler. Known as Spiedies in the Eastern United States.
Spiedino – Fried cheese with anchovy sauce.
Spinach – The best spinach is, of course, fresh, and should have crisp, robustly green leaves. Always wash well in several changes of water and remove extra-thick stems.
Spit – Revolving skewer or metal rod on which meat, poultry or game is roasted over a fire or under a grill. Process creates high heat and forces fat to spit out of meats.
Split peas – Green or yellow, and mealy when cooked. Good soup base.
Sponge – The portion of dough in bread-making containing all or part of the yeast, to which are added the remaining ingredients.
Spoon bread – A kind of baked cornmeal pudding.
Spotted pup – Chuckwagon name for raisin pudding; without the raisins, it was just called “pup.”
Spring roll – Thin sheets of dough which are filled with meat, seafood, or vegetables and rolled into logs. Spring rolls are most often deep fried, though they may also be steamed. Chinese versions use wheat dough, while the Vietnamese and Thai versions use a rice paper wrapper.
Springerle – [German] anise-flavored cookies or pastries.
Springform mold – Baking tin with hinged sides, held together by a metal clamp or pin, which is opened to release the cake or pie which was cooked inside.
Spumoni – [Italian] Ice cream made with fruit and nuts.
Squab – A twelve to fourteen ounce pigeon.
Squash blossoms – Blossoms of winter squashes such as zucchini, yellow squash and pumpkin; commonly used in Southwestern cooking; best when used the day they are picked or bought; may be cooked briefly for use in soups or sauces, or stuffed and fried.
Squaw bread – Indian bread deep-fried in 6-inch circles; fry bread; popovers.
Squawberries – Red-orange berries from thorny desert bushes.
Squid – This cephalopod has become popular in the United States, as long as you call it calamari. Fresh squid should be purple to white — avoid any squid with brown coloring — and smell sweet and clean. Squid freezes well, and loses little flavor during defrosting and refreezing.
Squirrel can – Cowboy term for large can used for after-meal scraps.
Sriracha – A hot sauce made from sun-ripened chiles which are ground into a smooth paste along with garlic. It is excellent in soups, sauces, pastas, pizzas, hot dogs, hamburgers, chow mein or on almost anything else to give it a delicious, spicy taste.
Star anise – Star-shaped pod has a similar but stronger flavor and more fragrance than the botanically-unrelated aniseed; most often cooked whole and strained from sauces and marinade, but sometimes ground for spice rubs and pastes.
Starch – Carbohydrate obtained from cereals and potatoes or other tubers.
Steak Diane – A very thin steak.
Steak tartare – Very lean beef, minced and served raw.
Steam – to cook food in the steam created by boiling water.
Steep – To soak in liquid until saturated with a soluble ingredient; soak to remove an ingredient, such as to remove salt from smoked ham or salted cod.
Sterilize – To destroy germs by exposing food to heat at specific temperatures.
Stew – To simmer food slowly in a covered pan or casserole.
Stir – To mix with a circular movement, using a spoon or fork or other utensil.
Stock – A flavored broth from meats, fish, shellfish, and vegetables. These are the basis of sauce and soup making.
Stock cubes – [Great Britain] Bouillon cubes.
Stone fruits – Stone fruits are simply fruits with a stone, such as peach or plum.
Strain – To separate liquids from solids by passing them through a metal or cloth sieve (such as cheesecloth).
Strasbourgeoise – Served with goose livers and truffles.
Straw mushrooms, canned – Small button-like mushrooms indigenous to Asia. Fresh ones are so delicate that they aren’t usually shipped.
Streaker – Usually refers to bean purees or other colorful pastes made from nondairy products and used to decorate plates and finished dishes; may also refer to brightly colored cremas.
Streaky Bacon – [Great Britain] American bacon.
Striped bass – Firm-textured fish with meaty, pinkish flesh. When wild, striped bass are highly flavorful. Can be substituted in recipes that call for cod or other milder fish, and some stronger fish too.
Strudel – [Austrian] thin leaves of pastry dough, filled with fruit, nuts or savory mixtures, which are rolled and baked and finally iced or frosted. Savory versions of this are similar to the Russian coulibiac.
Streusel – A delicious topping of sugar, butter, flour, and other spices that adds flavor and crunch to crumb cakes, coffee cakes and some muffins.
Stuffing – A well-seasoned mixture of bread or rice, spices, vegetables, and usually meat that is “stuffed” inside the cavity of poultry or meat.
Sub gum – A stew of Chinese vegetables.
Suchet – With the flavoring of carrot.
Suckeyes – Cowboy term for pancakes.
Sucre – [French] sugar.
Suero de la leche – [Spanish] buttermilk.
Suet – The hard fat around the kidneys and loins of beef, mutton or pork.
Sugar alcohols – Sugar alcohols like mannitol, sorbitol and xylitol are sweeteners that occur naturally in fruits, and are often added to certain foods. They’re called “alcohols” because of their chemical structure, not because they contain the kind of alcohol in drinks like beer, wine and spirits. Because sugar alcohols do not promote tooth decay, they are often used in “sugarless” gum. They are also used to add texture to some foods. Some studies suggest that because sugar alcohols take longer to break down than regular sugar, they may cause a less rapid spike in blood sugar than sugar-sweetened products. But remember that they are not calorie-free, are not likely to help with weight control and, when consumed in excessive amounts, can lead to intestinal gas, cramping or diarrhea.
Sugar snaps – Also called snap peas, these flavorful pea-filled pods are newly developed (introduced in 1979). Sugar snaps are crisp, with crunchy pods and sweet peas.
Sugar syrup – Differentiating from natural syrups, this term refers to a solution of sugar and water. Simple syrups are made with equal quantities of water and sugar. Heavy syrup is made with twice as much sugar as water. These types of syrups are used in making sorbets, soft drinks, and for soaking cakes.
Sukiyaki – Japanese dish of meat, vegetables and seasonings, usually cooked at the table.
Sultanas – A type of large raisins, originally Turkish. [Great Britain] Seedless white raisins.
Sumac – [Middle East] spice that comes from the grated skin of a dark berry that possesses a a slightly acidic, astringent flavor.
Summer squash – These light, fleshy squashes of the late summer are available in many varieties, most notably zucchini and yellow squash. Choose squash that is very firm.
Sunchokes – Also called Jerusalem artichokes, sunchokes are the knobby roots of a perennial sunflower. They resemble ginger in appearance and have a subtle, delicious flavor. Their high sugar content enables them to brown well when fried or roasted.
Sun-dried tomatoes – When a tomato is dried in the sun (or more likely the oven) the end result is a shriveled, intensely flavored tomato. They are usually packed in olive oil or packaged dried (when dried soak them in hot water to reconstitute).
Sunflower seeds – Seeds of the sunflower, these can be roasted or dried in or out of their shells. They can be added to many sweet and savory dishes, including salads, baked goods, and granola.
Sunsweet Lighter Bake – a 100% fat- and cholesterol-free baking ingredient that replaces butter, margarine, oil or shortening in scratch recipes and packaged mixes. Made from a blend of dried plums and apples, this new fat “imposter” creates moist, chewy baked goods that are lower in fat. Lighter Bake is located in the cooking oil or baking ingredients section of supermarkets nationwide.
Superfine sugar – Also called caster sugar, this finely granulated sugar is good in meringues and cold drinks; it dissolves quickly and easily. It can be made by blenderizing granulated sugar in the blender until it is powdery.
Suppe – [German] soup.
Supreme – A rich heavy cream sauce.
Supreme de volaille – Breast of chicken.
Swamp seed – Rice.
Swedes – [Great Britain] Turnips.
Sweet Chocolate – Highly like the composition of semisweet chocolate, sweet chocolate has more sugar added and less chocolate liquor.
Sweet potato – Contrary to popular belief, the sweet potato is different from the yam. Sweet potatoes are bright with orange flesh, though some varieties have yellow, white, or even purple flesh.
Sweetbreads – The culinary term for the thymus gland of an animal. Those of veal and lamb are most commonly eaten. The pancreas is also considered a sweetbread, but its taste and texture is inferior to that of the thymus gland.
Sweetened condensed milk – Milk that has been evaporated to about half of its volume and has sugar added. Sticky and sweet.
Swiss roll tin – Jellyroll pan.
Swiss steak – A steak (usually bottom round, sometimes lean chuck) into which seasoned flour has been pounded before cooking.
Swordfish – Highly popular fish, wonderful on the grill. When buying, look for bright flesh with tight swirls; should smell good. Skin is inedible.
Syllabub – An English dessert comprised mainly of whipped cream sweetened with sugar and flavored with sherry, brandy, or Cointreau. Lemon zest, fruit preserves or puree may also be swirled into the cream.
Syrup – Thick, sweet liquid made by boiling sugar with water or fruit juices.