Culinary Dictionary  "S"

Our ever growing online community Dictionary and Food and Culinary Terms, Phrases and Cooking Techniques that begin with the letter S.



Salsa. A thick, uncooked sauce usually made from finely chopped tomatoes, onions, chilies, and cilantro. Often offered in a variety of spice ranges, i.e. Hot, Medium, Mild etc. Salsa. It is often used in Mexican and Southwestern cuisine. Also, a very popular snack food for social gatherings and sporting events usually served with Tortilla Chips.


Sauté (which means ‘to jump’) is a cooking technique which means to cook a food quickly in oil and/or butter over high heat.  You can use a skillet or sauté pan, but make sure it is big enough to comfortably contain what you are cooking. Overcrowded pans do not brown and cook properly, they cause the food to steam instead. Producing limp and soggier product and not crisp and vibrant foods.

Simmer, Simmering, To Simmer

Simmer, simmering, to simmer, doesn’t just mean to cool yourself down when you’re all worked up!! In cooking circles, it is to gently cook food in a liquid over low heat so only tiny bubbles can be observed breaking the surface of the liquid. Approximately 190 degrees temperature, just under a boil.


The strained clear liquid in which meat, poultry, or fish has been simmered with vegetables and or herbs. It is similar to broth but is richer and more concentrated. Stock and broth can be used interchangeably; reconstituted bouillon can also be substituted for stock, but more times than not bouillon is nasty stuff and loaded with sodium.


To cut narrow slits, often in a diamond pattern, through the outer surface of a food to decorate it, tenderize it, help it absorb flavor, or allow fat to drain as it cooks. Also refers to putting one between the pipes, basket, uprights and net in sports jargon 🙂

Sous Vide

Sous Vide is a French term which means “under vacuum”. It is a method of cooking in which food is vacuum-sealed in a plastic pouch 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 much lower than normally used for cooking, typically around 55 to 60 °C (131 to 140 °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.