The Cruise Lingo  page is divided into three sections:

The first section of Cruise Lingo will provide cruise terminology(Cruise Ship Lingo) to help you understand cruising terms (like port and starboard) and will allow you to be a cruise lingo expert.

The second section will be on dining room place settings and etiquette. This section will help you overcome that over-crowded table of dinnerware and help you figure out which glasses are yours and which utensil to use at the correct moment.

The last section of Cruise Lingo will be a never ending list of those fancy terms that appear on menus and make you wonder what you are eating. As some are uncomfortable asking what these words mean, for fear of appearing ignorant, this section will help you be more comfortable and more knowledgeable and as you are a visitor to this website, you can help out your fellow dining companions and sound like a culinary expert.



About: Turning the ship around.
Abreast: Not on your dinner plate. Alongside or next to, as in another ship or a dock.
Aft: Toward the rear of the ship                                                                                                       
Amidships: The middle of the ship                                                                                                   Beam: The width of the ship measured at its widest point.
Berth: Not quite the ending of labor pains, but your bed in your cabin or the place the ship docks.
Bow: Not found on a gift. The front part of the ship.
Bridge: The control center of the ship. The captain and his officers work here.
Bulkhead: The interior wall of the ship.
Bunkering: Taking on fuel.
Buoy: A marker that identifies navigational landmarks.
Cabin/stateroom: Your home away from home. It’s your room on the ship.
Davits: The structures that attach the lifeboats.
Debark/disembark: Go ashore.
Deck: Each floor of the ship.
Deck plans: Like a house blueprint, these help keep you from getting lost.
Draft: Not just served at the bar, but the depth of water the ship needs to sail without touching the bottom of the ocean.
Embark: Come aboard the ship. 
Fantail: An overhanging stern.                                                                                                         Forward: The direction toward the bow of the ship.
Funnel: The smokestack. On some ships it is a water ride.
Galley: The place that makes all the great food - the kitchen.
Gangway: The ramp or stairway used to embark or disembark.
Gross registered tons: This is not the weight of the ship. It is actually a measurement of enclosed space and 100 cubic feet equals 1 gross ton. Confusing, I know.
Helm: The ship's steering equipment or area on the bridge.
Hold: The cargo area on the ship. Also, a term for Blackjack if you have18 or better.
Hull: The outside of the ship from the main deck down to the keel.
Inside cabin: A stateroom without a window or with a virtual window (in the case of Disney).     Itinerary: the ships schedule of port calls and sea days
Knot: A knot is one nautical mile per hour and a measure of the ship’s speed.
Leeward: The side of the ship (or an island) sheltered from the wind.
Muster Station: Gathering place for boarding the lifeboats.
Nautical mile: Is equal to 6,080.2 feet or 1.151 land miles
Occupancy/double occupancy: The number of passengers a ship can carry based on 2 per cabin. Any extra berths filled can result in the ship having more than 100% occupancy.
Outside Cabin/Ocean View: A stateroom with a porthole or window.                               Panamax: The maximum size a ship can be to transit the Panama Canal
Passageway: A hallway.
Pitch: The front to back motion (up and down) of the ship. Also, the talks the cruise staff provides you to spend $.
Port: The left side of the ship if you are facing forward. Also, means the “Port of Call” or city/island you are visiting.

Porthole: Not  a left side window, but a round window.                                                                   Port of Call: One of the islands/cities the ship visits on its itinerary
Porters: Those who take your luggage from pier to ship or who take your luggage from the curb at the airport to the airline.
Roll: The side-to-side motion of the ship.
Scuppers: Openings/drains on the deck of the ship to drain water.
Stabilizer: A retractable fin/wing that extends outward underwater from the side of the ship to minimize the ship’s roll.
Starboard: The right side of the ship if you are facing forward.
Stern: The very back of the ship.
Superstructure: That part of the ship that is above the main deck – opposite meaning of hull.
Tender: A small boat used to transport you from the cruise ship to the pier when the ship is unable to dock.
Upper Berth: A “bunk bed” that is stored or recessed into the wall that can be pulled out or lowered for use.
Veranda: A cabin with a balcony.
Wake: The trail left in the water at the back of the ship (stern) while the ship is sailing.
Windward: The side from which the wind is blowing or the side not sheltered from the wind.



 Formal Dinner Place Setting Guide

 This is not meant to be an all encompassing tutorial on proper etiquette. It is meant to be used as a guideline in regards to some of the more common manners that you can easily adopt. It is amazing that there is no definitive set of rules. I have found sources that dicatate a certain manner be followed only one way and I have found sources that contradict and direct you to the opposite (e.g. some sources say french fries are finger foods and may be eaten with your fingers and other sources say that french fries are to be eaten with a fork). No wonder everyone is confused.  These are some guidelines to help you navigate your way around a cluttered dinner table. Remember these guidelines are to help make you comfortable, not overwhelmed, so take your time and enjoy and see how many of these you are familiar with and how many surprise you.

NAPKIN: When you sit down at your table the first thing you will want to do is to take the napkin and place it on your lap, folding it in half. Your waiter may actually do this for you so don't be surprised if this happens. There are two theories on napkin etiquette. The first theory: The napkin remains on your lap for the entire meal, unless of course you need to wipe away a few crumbs from your face. If you need to get up from the table, place the napkin on your chair and not on the table. I am not sure that the chair is the most sanitary place to set the napkin, but according to theory number one, it is NOT to be placed on the table while your table mates are still eating. The second theory: The napkin rests on your lap throughout the meal. If you leave the table, leave the napkin to the left of your setting. Do not refold your napkin or bunch the napkin into a ball. Never place your napkin on your chair. As I mentioned that placing the napkin on the chair does not seem so sanitary, I am sticking with the decorum of placing my napkin to the left of my place setting if I have to leave the table. I guess it is really your choice. In either case, once you return to the table, the napkin returns to your lap. When the meal is over and everyone is finished eating, you can place your napkin on the table to the left of your place setting. If the table has been cleared, simply place your napkin in the center. You do not have to refold the soiled napkin. If you drop your napkin on the floor, do not pick it up. Ask the waiter to bring you a new napkin.

PLACE SETTING: There will be several dishes and utensils at your place setting. When you first sit down you may have a large dish/plate in front of you. This is called "the charger". It is purely decoration and not really used to serve food. "The charger" is generally removed before your first course is served. Sometimes it will remain while the salad or soup is served and set on top of "the charger". Once you have finished the salad and/or soup, all the dishes will be removed.

There will be another tiny plate in the upper left of your place setting - this is the bread plate(a big weakness for me - not the plate, but the fresh hot bread/rolls). When you take bread/roll or are offered bread/roll, never place it on the charger. Always place it on the bread plate. If you are going to butter your bread, take the butter from the butter dish to the bread plate. Don't take the butter from the butter dish and apply to the bread without "stopping" at the bread plate. Here's the kicker - how to be proper when eating bread and butter: first, break the bread/roll into small bite-sized pieces; second, using the butter spreader, that will be located with the bread dish, butter a piece of the bread/roll you have broken; third, eat and enjoy AND NEVER butter the whole slice of bread or roll at one time.

GLASSWARE: If you remember that your glasses are on the right side of your plate, you won't have to worry about using someone elses glass. The first glass in the "lineup" will be the water glass. The next glass in line will be the red wine glass and the next glass will be the white wine glass. Yes, there is a specific glass for each of the wines as the glass makes a difference in the wine's presentation, smell, and taste. The white wine glass will be more narrow and less bowl shaped than the red wine glass. If there is a champagne glass/flute placed on the table, it will be above and between the red and white wine glasses. The champagne flute is tall and narrow and easy to identify from the wineglasses. Depending on your beverage of choice, the waiter will fill the appropriate glass and remove the others that are not being used. If you happen to switch wines during your meal courses, you will receive a new and correct glass. When drinking wine, be sure to hold the glass from the stem so as not to affect the temperature of the served wine. Confused? Don't be as your waiter will ensure you have the proper vessel for the beverage of your choice. If you do not wish any wine or do not want any more wine while it is being served, place your hand over the glass. Do not turn a glass over (upside down) and do not loudly decline. Instead of having to vocally protest any wine, allow the wine to be poured. You do not have to drink it.

UTENSILS: If you remember to start from the outside and work your way inward, for the most part you will have conquered the array of silverware on both sides of your plate, but you should be able to identify differing utensils and know their uses. Here are some guidelines: On the left side of your plate will be the home of the forks. The first fork (outermost on the left) will be the salad fork. This fork is used for your pre-dinner salad. When you finish eating your salad, place the fork on your salad plate. The next fork (working inward) will be the largest fork and will be used for the main course/entree.  The third fork will be smaller and used for dessert.  On the right side of your plate you will find the spoons and knives.  Working your way inward, the first outermost spoon will be the soup spoon. Sometimes when you are served soup, the waiter will bring a soup spoon with the soup and this spoon is like a small round bowl on a stem. When finished, the spoon is placed on the plate that is served with the bowl. It is not to be placed in the bowl. The next spoon is the teaspoon used to stir your coffee. This spoon may also be served during coffee service. When finished, the spoon is to be placed on the saucer and not in the cup. If there are two knives, the next utensil in line will be your salad knife. The  knife next to your plate is used for your main course/entree. If you require a steak knife, it is usually delivered with your meat course.

There can be an exception to the use of the salad fork/dinner fork and it is rather simple. If your main entree will be a salad, then you will not use the salad fork. You will use the dinner fork as the salad is the main course. If the salad is served as a side on your main dinner plate, use your dinner fork.

There are some alternatives, or exceptions, to the utensil placement.  In a lot of place settings the dessert fork and teaspoon will sit at the top of the charger between the glassware and the bread and butter plate. There is a certain alignment for these utensils when placed at the top of the setting - the fork will be placed directly above the charger with the tines pointing to the right. The teaspoon will be placed above the fork with the bowl of the spoon pointing left.

When you are done using a particular utensil for the moment, always place the utensil on the plate you are currently using. Never place utensils on the tablecloth or placemat. The handles should not touch the table again once used. When you have finished your meal and are done eating place the utensils on the plate in this fashion: place the fork and knife parallel (horizontally) to one another and across the plate in the ten o'clock and four o'clock position.. The knife blade should be pointing inward. The tines of the fork should be facing up. The handles of both in the four o'clock position. Any utensils you have not used are left on the table.

After dinner and before dessert you may be presented with a finger bowl. Gently dip your fingers in the bowl and dab them dry with your napkin. When finished, place the finger bowl on the upper left side of the place setting.

PASSING: There are a couple of points to remember when passing food:

  • Food should be passed from the left to the right (counter-clockwise).
  • Interceptions are taboo. If you did not request the dish to be passed, do not use the item or serve yourself. Wait until the requester is finished and then ask for it to be passed again.
  • When passing a dish, place the dish next to the person sitting next to you so they can continue passing. Never pass a dish hand-to-hand.
  • Do not reach for a dish. Ask the person sitting closest to the dish to pass it to you.
  • Passing salt and pepper. There are two theories on this. One is that if someone asks for salt, you pass the salt - you do not pass the pepper with the salt. The other theory is that you pass both, regardless of the request. The reason you pass both is so that both containers are kept together on the table and you do not have one lost on the table somewhere. Remember, even with salt/pepper they are not to be passed hand-to-hand.


  • Soup- the bowl of the soup spoon should not pass your lips. Dip your spoon away from you, fill the spoon 3/4 full, bring the spoon to your lips, and tilt and sip. You may tip your soup bowl to finish the last spoonful, but always tip the bowl away from you.
  • Hot Food - If your food is too hot, don't blow on it. Wait for the food to cool.
  • Eating -  Remember mom and do not talk with your mouth full. Chew with your mouth closed. Elbows are not to be on the table(you may rest your wrists on the edge of the table). Your left hand should remain in your lap, unless of course you are using it. Do not season your food without tasting it first. Make sure you try everything on your plate. Cut only enough food for your next bite and eat small bites - slowly. Scoop food away from you. Do not drink anything while you have food in your mouth. Wait until you have swallowed your food before taking a sip of your beverage. You should wait until everyone at your table has been served before you start eating. You do not have to eat all of one food on your plate before eating another. Foods compliment one another so you can eat more than one food. When you are eating meat, you should cut and eat one bite-size piece at a time. If others at the table are willing, it is permissable to share food. If you are sharing one particular large order of food, ask for small plates and utensils for sharing the food.
  • Napkin - The napkin is not to be used to clean the silverware. It is also not meant to be used to wipe your nose. If you need to sneeze or blow your nose, excuse yourself from the table. You may use your napkin to cover your mouth when coughing.
  • Removing food - Do not spit out food from your mouth. Use your tongue to move the food to the front of your mouth and then place the food on your fork and then place the food discreetly on your plate. If eating chicken and you discover a bone, use your fork to return the bone to your plate. If you are eating fish, you may remove the bones with your fingers.
  • Utensils - There is a proper way to use your utensils. The knife goes in your right hand and the fork in the left. After you have cut a few small bite-size pieces you can place the knife on the edge of the plate - blades facing in. Switch the fork to the right hand (unless you are left handed).  This is considered the American Style. The European style differs in that you do not switch hands. Your fork remains in your left and the knife remains in the right hand while eating. If you take a drink, you put both the knife and fork down on the plate crossing the fork over the knife.
  • Do not use a toothpick at the table and do not apply your makeup at the table.
  • Do not stack your dishes when you are finished. Do not push your dishes away when you are finished.
  • When a lady leaves the table, men should stand. When the lady returns, stand again.
  • It is ok to leave food on your plate when finished eating. AND no matter how delicious the food or the sauce, the plate should not look spotless when you are finished.
  • Do not use your fingers to push food onto your fork or spoon. Use another utensil.
  • Pace yourself while eating. It is not a marathon so do not finish well ahead of your table mates. Also, do not eat so slowly that they have to wait for you to finish before moving on to the next course.
  • It is impolite to answer your cell phone during dinner.
  • It is very important to dress for the dinner occasion!!!!
  • FOODS - Bacon - if there is fat on the bacon, use your fork and knife. If the bacon is crispy, you can use your fingers. Finger foods - if finger foods are presented on a platter, place the food on your plate before eating. Berries - eat them with a spoon whether they are covered in cream or not. Chicken - is to be eaten with a fork and knife. Fried  Shrimp - hold by the tail and eat with your fingers. I have had shrimp so large that I needed to use a fork and knife, otherwise I would have been overstuffing my large mouth. Crab and Lobster claws - this is a three step process as you use a "nut cracker" to crack them, then you use your fingers to break them apart, and then you use a fork to eat the meat. Shrimp cocktail - you should eat with a cocktail fork. Olives - olives are finger food. Spaghetti - use your fork to twirl any long stringy pasta around the fork and you can use your spoon to help. It is also permissable to use a fork and knife to cut your pasta. Baked potatoes - do not take the foil off and do not take out the insides and set the skin aside, You eat the insides bite by bite and you may eat the skin as you go along. Sandwiches - small tea or canapes may be eaten with your fingers. Anything larger shold be cut in half before you eat. Sushi - this  is served in bite size pieces so you eat with your fingers or a fork. The pieces are meant to be eaten whole so do not bite in half. Clams/oysters in the half shell - You may hold the shell in your hand while using an oyster fork to remove the clam/oyster.

I hope this helps clear some of the confusion as to the place setting and utensils. Hopefully, it will help you be more comfortable at a formal dinner, whether on a cruise or dining out in an elegant restaurant.


  The following section will help decipher some of those culinary terms that appear on the menu that just make you scratch your head. The definitions for these culinary terms will be simple and very basic. Languages other than American dominate the culinary language found on a menu and as most of us do not speak several languages it can be a challange at times to determine just what you are eating. I am sure this section will be continuously updated as new terms come up that I may have missed. Hopefully this list will help you better understand the dining menu and much like the above section on dining etiquette, this section will also help you be more comfortable in a formal setting.


  • Adobo Sauce - Mexican origin - a dark red, pungent sauce or paste made from chiles, herbs and vinegar.
  • Ahi - Hawaiian - yellowfin tuna
  • Aioli - French - garlic mayonnaise
  • A la carte - each menu item is priced separately
  • A la grecque - French - in Greek style - vegetables cooked in olive oil and lemon juice and served cold
  • A la king - diced chicken or turkey in a cream sauce with mushrooms, pimientos, and green peppers
  • A la mode - served with ice cream
  • Albert Sauce - horseradish sauce with butter, flour, and cream
  • Al dente - Italian - usually describing pasta that is not over-cooked(soft) or under-cooked(chewy)
  • Alfredo sauce - a rich cream sauce usually topping pasta
  • Al fresco - Italian - dining outdoors
  • Amandine/almondine - French - dish with almonds
  • Ambrosia - chilled fruit dessert or salad with coconut
  • Anchovy - tiny fish salt-cured and canned in oil
  • Andouille - French - Cajun cooking - a smoked sausage made from pork chitterlings and tripe
  • Anise - licorice flavored seasoning
  • Antipasto - Italian - it means before the meal as in hors d`oeuvre or appetizers
  • Aperitif - an alcoholic drink served before lunch or dinner to stimulate the appetite
  • Arugula - a bitter, pepper, and mustard flavored salad green
  • Au gratin - with cheese or breadcrumbs
  • Au jus - French - meat that is served with its own juices, usually beef
  • Au lait - French - food or drinks prepared and/or served with milk
  • Au naturel - French - food that is not cooked or altered and is served in its own natural state


  • Baguette - long, narrow, and cylindrical French bread
  • Baked Alaska - dessert of ice cream with a sponge cake base and coated in meringue
  • Baklava - a sweet dessert of many, many layers of thin phyllo pastry drenched in honey with layers of chopped nuts. Sugar shock, but delicious and time consuming to make
  • Ballotine - meat that has been boned, stuffed, and rolled into a bundle
  • Bananas Foster - originating in New Orleans - sliced bananas sauteed in hot rum, brown sugar, and banana liqueur. It is then served with vanilla ice cream with the delicious sauce drenching the dessert
  • Banger - British for sausage made with ground pork and breadcrumbs
  • Barbouillade - stuffed eggplant
  • Bearnaise - sauce with tarragon, vinegar, wine, and shallots, butter, and egg yolks
  • Bechamel - white sauce of milk, butter, and flour. Can be a thick or thin sauce
  • Beef/steak tartare - chopped, raw beef seasoned with salt, pepper, and herbs
  • Beef Wellington - a beef filet covered in pate(goose liver), wrapped in pastry and baked
  • Beignet - New Orleans - a deep-fried pastry covered in powdered sugar
  • Beurre - French - butter
  • Beurre blanc - white sauce of wine, vinegar, shallots, and butter
  • Bigarade sauce - French - brown sauce flavored with oranges and is served with duck
  • Biscotti - Italian biscuit that is baked, sliced and baked again - a crunchy "cookie" to dip in tea or coffee
  • Bisque - a thick pureed seafood and cream soup
  • Blanc - French - white
  • Blini - Russian - small pancakes served with sour cream and caviar or smoked salmon
  • Blintz - thin pancake rolled and filled with cottage/ricotta cheese and fruit or meat, then it is sauteed and served with sour cream
  • Bok choy - vegetable with crunchy white stalks and tender green leaves
  • Bordelaise sauce - French brown sauce with wine, bone marrow, shallots, and herbs
  • Borscht - beet soup served with sour cream
  • Bouillabaisse - seafood stew with onions, tomatoes, white wine, garlic, olive oil, and herbs. This is served over slices of French bread
  • Bratwurst - German sausage made with pork and veal and spices
  • Braunschweiger - German - a spreadable smoked liver sausage with eggs and milk.
  • Bruschette - garlic bread drizzled with olive oil, salt and pepper and served warm


  • Cacciatore - Italian - food prepared with mushrooms, tomato sauce, onions and herbs and wine - usually referring to sauteed chicken
  • Cafe au lait - French - coffe and milk
  • Calamari - squid
  • Calzone - a folded over stuffed pizza
  • Canadian bacon - lean smoked pork that is more like ham than it is bacon
  • Canape - French - small piece of toast topped with a garnish of cheese or a spread and served as an appetizer
  • Cannelloni - large round tubes of pasta stuffed, covered with sauce and baked
  • Caper - the green flower bud or young berry of a Mediterranean bush. Capers have a sharp intense smell and lend a great flavor to sauces. They are also used to garnish meats and vegetables
  • Carbonara - Italian - spaghetti served with a sauce of Parmesan cheese and bacon
  • Carpaccio - Italian - thin fillet of raw beef with olive oil and lemon juice or mayonnaise or mustard sauce and served as an appetizer that is sometimes topped with capers
  • Caviar - salted fish eggs from sturgeon
  • Chalupa - Spanish - corn tortilla shaped like a boat and fried crisp then filled with shredded meat, vegetables, and cheese
  • Chanterelle - mushroom shaped like a trumpet with a nutty flavor
  • Chantilly - French - served with whipped cream
  • Chateaubriand - this is actually a recipe and not the common belief that it is a cut of beef. A thick cut of beef taken from the tenderloin grilled/broiled and served with potatoes and a bernaise sauce
  • Chicken-fried steak - a tenderized thin steak that is dipped in an egg and milk bath and then flour and fried crispy like chicken and served with country gravy
  • Chicken tetrazzini - spaghetti and chicken with a sherry and Parmesan cheese cream sauce
  • Chickpea - garbanzo beans - a round light colored large "pea" used on salads and in making hummus
  • Chitterlings/chitlins - small intestines of pigs(the cleaning process is gross)
  • Chorizo - coarsley ground pork sausage highly seasoned with garlic and chili powder
  • Ciabatta - Italian - long and wide loaf of bread with a thin crisp crust
  • Citron - a sour lemon-like fruit with a thick skin
  • Cointreau - orange-flavored liqueur
  • Collard greens - cabbage that does not form a head, but grows loose. Collards are boiled with bacon or salt pork(salt-cured pig fat)
  • Conchiglie - shell shaped pasta
  • Confit - preserve of pieces of duck, goose, or pork cooked and preserved in their own fat - also fruit or vegetables preserved in sugar, alcohol, or vinegar
  • Consomme - a clear meat broth
  • Coq au vin - French dish of chicken, mushrooms, onions, and bacon with red wine
  • Coquille St. Jacques - French - shell - scallops in a creamy wine sauce topped with cheese or breadcrumbs and broiled
  • Cordon bleu - French - veal or chicken topped with ham and cheese and breaded and sauteed
  • Cottage pudding - cake drenched in a warm sweet sauce
  • Couscous - granular semolina(coarsely ground wheat)
  • Crab Louis - cold lump crabmeat on shredded lettuce with a dressing of mayonnaise, chili sauce, cream, scallions, green pepper, and lemon juice
  • Creme brulee - chilled custard topped with carmelized sugar
  • Crepe - French - paper-thin pancake rolled and filled with sweets or meats and cheeses
  • Crepes suzette - crepes warmed in an orange-butter sauce and then "flamed" in liqueur
  • Croquette -ground meat or vegetables and white sauce that is then formed into various shapes or mounds and dipped in egg and breadcrumbs and deep-fried golden brown
  • Crumpet - small breads similar to an English muffin that are toasted whole
  • Cutlet - small flattened boneless meat


  • Del giorno - Italian - of the day - a menu item made for that day
  • Demi-glace - a rich, thick brown sauce of beef stock and wine or sherry
  • Diavolo - Italian - sauces that are spiced with chiles
  • Dim sum - small plates of steam dumplings, shrimp balls, pot stickers, etc
  • Dirty rice - Cajun - dish of cooked rice with ground poultry livers and gizzards that give the rice a dirty presentation
  • Dolce - Italian - meaning sweet
  • Doux - French - sweet
  • Drambuie - a Scotch based liqueur with honey and herbs
  • Du jour - French - of the day - a menu item made for that day
  • Dulce - Spanish - meaning sweet
  • Duxelles - a thick paste of finely chopped mushrooms, shallots, and herbs cooked in butter


  • Eggs Benedict - English muffins topped with poached eggs, ham, and hollandaise
  • Empanada - Spanish - turnovers filled with meat and vegetables or fruit as a dessert
  • Enchilada - Mexican dish of softened corn tortilla around meat or cheese and topped with tomato salsa and cheese
  • En croute - A food that is wrapped in pastry and baked
  • Entree - main course of a meal
  • Escalope - French -  very thin, flattened slice of meat
  • Escargot - French - snail
  • Espagnole sauce - rich, thick brown sauce with herbs, tomatoes and browned vegetables
  • Etouffee - French - to smother - a rich, thick, spicy stew of crayfish and vegetables served over rice


  • Fagioli - Italian - white kidney beans
  • Falafel - croquettes of spiced, ground chickpeas served in pita bread
  • Farce - French - stuffing
  • Farfalle - bowtie or butterfly pasta
  • Farfallini - small farfalle
  • Farfallone - large farfalle
  • Fettuccine - thin and flat egg noodles
  • Flambe - French - flaming by sprinkling food with liquor and once warm, ignited
  • Flan - sweet tart or a crustless custard pie
  • Florentine - French - dishes made with spinach
  • Foie gras - enlarged goose or duck liver (the process is quite inhumane and sick)
  • Fondue - heating sauces to dip vegetables, meats, breads, and fruits
  • Formaggio - Italian - cheese
  • Fricassee - pieces of meat stewed in liquid and served in a sauce made from the same liquid
  • Frittata - an Italian omelet in which the ingredients are mixed with the eggs instead of being folded inside the eggs and cooked over low heat so it is firmer than an omelet
  • Fromage - French - cheese
  • Fume`- French - smoked
  • Fusilli - springs or spiraled spaghetti


  • Gai choy - dark green cabbage with a flavor of mustard
  • Gamba - Spanish - shrimp
  • Gambero - Italian - shrimp
  • Ganache - an icing or filling made from semisweet chocolate and whipping cream
  • Garbanzo bean - chickpea
  • Gateau - French - cake
  • Gaufrette - thin, sweet wafers shaped like a fan served with ice cream and desserts
  • Gazpacho - cold soup of pureed tomatoes, sweet peppers, cucumbers, celery, onions, garlic, olive oil, vinegar and breadcrumbs
  • Gefilte fish - ground fish mixed with eggs and seasonings
  • Gelato - Italian - ice cream that does not contain as much air and is denser
  • Genoise - similar to a very moist sponge cake
  • Giblets - gizzard, heart, liver, and sometimes the neck of poultry
  • Gnocchi - Italian - dumplings - made from potatoes or flour with cheese or eggs added to the dough
  • Gratin - a dish that is topped with cheese or breadcrumbs and browned
  • Gravlax - raw salmon cured in a salt, sugar, and dill mixture. Served thin and on bread
  • Grecque - French for served in "Greek style" - vegetables cooked in olive oil and lemon juice and served cold
  • Gremolata - minced parsley, lemon peel, and garlic added to dishes for flavor
  • Grits - coarsely ground corn, oats, or rice cooked in milk or water
  • Guacamole - avocado mixed with lemon/lime juice and seasonings and used as a dip, sauce or topping
  • Gumbo - New Orleans - thick stew of veggies, okra, tomatoes, onions, and meat
  • Gyro - thin/shaved meat stuffed in a pita shell with cucumber sauce


  • Haricot vert - French - string beans
  • Hasenpfeffer - German - thick stew of rabbit
  • Hash - finely chopped meat, with potatoes and fried together until brown
  • Head cheese - not cheese - sausage made from the head of a calf or pig
  • Hearts of palm - the ivory, inner portion of the stem of the cabbage palm tree
  • Hoisin - sweet and spicy thick red-brown sauce of soybeans, garlic, and chile peppers and spices.
  • Holishkes - cabbage leaves stuffed with ground beef and seasonings and served with sweet and sour sauce
  • Hollandaise - smooth cream sauce of butter, egg yolks, and lemon juice
  • Hominy - dried corn from which the hull and germ have been removed - when ground = grits
  • Hors d'oeuvres - appetizer
  • Hummus - mashed chickpeas seasoned with olive oil, garlic, and lemon juice and served as a dip
  • Hushpuppy - cornmeal dumpling with milk, scallions and seasonings


  • Indian pudding - spicy, cornmeal and molasses baked pudding and whipped cream
  • Indian rice - wild rice
  • Insalata - Italian - salad
  • Irish stew - layers of lamb, potatoes, and onions covered in water and slowly cooked


  • Jambalaya - cooked rice, with tomatoes, onions, green peppers and meat
  • Julienne - food that has been cut into thin strips


  • Kebob - cubes of meat roasted or grilled on a skewer
  • Kielbasa - smoked pork sausage
  • Kippers - split herring that is salt-cured and cold smoked
  • Knockwurst - precooked beef and/or pork - short, thick sausage links flavored with garlic
  • Kolachke - sweet, yeast buns filled with nuts, jam or fruit mix
  • Kosher food - conforms to strict Jewish laws. Food is prepared under a rabbi's supervision to receive the Kosher seal. Pigs and rabbits are not kosher.  Animals must be fed organically grown food and killed humanely


  • Langostino - Spanish - prawn
  • Langoustine - French - prawn
  • Leche - Spanish - milk
  • Leek - from the green onion family. No bulb with long stems used to season food
  • Lentil - flat edible seed of the pea family used in soup
  • Liverwurst - seasoned sausage made with pork liver, pork and other meat. It can be sliced or served as a smooth spreadable - Braunschweiger is the most popular
  • Lobster Thermidor - chopped lobster tails with a bechamel sauce and served in the lobster tail shell and topped with Parmesan cheese and browned
  • Lo mein - boiled noodes with stir-fried ingredients
  • London broil - flank steak cut into large pieces and marinated and grilled and then sliced
  • Lox - brine-cured cold-smoked salmon
  • Lyonnaise - dishes prepared and served with onions


  • Mafalda - broad and flat noodles with rippled edges
  • Maltaise sauce - hollandaise sauce blended with orange juice and orange rind
  • Manicotti - large tubes of stuffed pasta
  • Marsala - a semi-dry Italian sherry wine
  • Masa - Spanish - dough - dried corn kernels cooked and soaked in limewater and ground
  • Mascarpone - butter-rich double to triple cream cheese from cow's milk
  • Melba sauce - pureed and strained raspberries, red currant, sugar and cornstarch
  • Melba toast - thin dry toast
  • Meringue - stiffly beaten egg whites and sugar to form a white frothy mass
  • Mont blanc - pureed chestnuts sweetened and flavored with vanilla and mounded on a plate topped with whipped cream
  • Monte Cristo sandwich - ham, turkey, and cheese on French toast and deep fried or grilled
  • Morel - an edible wild mushroom belonging to the same family as truffles
  • Mornay sauce - a rich cream sauce with Parmesan or swiss cheese added
  • Moussaka - layered and baked sliced eggplant with ground beef or lamb
  • Mousse - French - froth or foam - a rich, airy sweet dish with whipped cream
  • Mousseline - any kind of sauce in which whipped cream is added
  • Mush - cooked cornmeal with milk or water
  • Mutton - sheep


  • Neat - liquor served without ice or water 
  • Nog - strong ale OR any drink made with eggs and milk
  • Nori - paper thin seaweed  used to wrap sushi and rice balls


  • Okra -green pods in an oblong shape used for thickening and flavoring
  • Orange roughy - mild flavor fish from New Zealand
  • Orzo - tiny rice shaped pasta
  • Osso buco - veal shanks with olive oil, white wine, onions, garlic, anchovies, tomatoes, celery, carrots and lemon peel
  • Ouzo - sweet anise(licorice) flavored liqueur
  • Oysters Rockefeller - oysters served on the half shell topped with spinach, butter, breadcrumbs and seasonings and baked or broiled


  • Paella - saffron flavored rice with meat, garlic, peas, onions, artichoke hearts, and tomatoes
  • Paillard - a thin slice of grilled/sauteed veal
  • Pancetta - bacon that is not smoked, but cured with salt and other spices
  • Panko - coarse, large, and light breadcrumbs used to coat food with a crunchy crust
  • Panna cotta - Italian - cooked cream - light custard without eggs flavored with caramel
  • Panzarotti - pockets similar to ravioli filled with cheese and tomato sauce and deep fried or baked
  • Parfait - a dessert with layers of ice cream, syrup, whipped cream and nuts.  A French parfait is frozen custard and flavored with fruit puree
  • Parmentier - dishes made with potatoes
  • Pasta e fagioli - Italian - pasta and beans - soup of beans, pasta, vegetables, garlic, and pork
  • Pastitsio - Greek - pasta, ground beef or lamb, cheese, tomatoes, cream sauce casserole
  • Pate - paste of ground liver or meat
  • Penne - smooth tubes of pasta that are diagonally cut
  • Petit four - small iced and decorated cakes
  • Picante - Spanish - spicy
  • Piccante - Italian - spicy
  • Piccata - thin, flattened, flour-coated veal  sauteed and served with a sauce from the pan drippings and lemon juice
  • Pico de gallo - a relish from jicama(root vegetable with a sweet and nutty flavor),oranges, onions, peppers, and cucumbers and seasonings
  • Pierogi - noodle dumplings shaped like a half moon filled with sauerkraut or potatoes or cheese
  • Pilaf - rice dish that is browned and cooked in chicken stock with veggies, meat, and seasonings
  • Pimiento - large, red, sweet pepper and often found stuffed in a green olive
  • Piquante - French - a spicy, or tart flavor
  • Piquante sauce - spicy brown sauce with shallots, white wine, gherkins(young cucumbers made into pickles), vinegar, and parsley
  • Plantain - a very large firm banana cooked when green and served and used like a potato
  • Plateau de fruits de mer - seafood platter of raw and cooked shell fish
  • Poisson - French - fish
  • Polenta - mush made from cornmeal and eaten hot or it can be cooled, sliced and fried
  • Pollo - Spanish - chicken
  • Polonaise - French - cooked vegetables that are topped with chopped hard-boiled egg and parsley
  • Pommes frites - French - French fries
  • Pommes soufflees - twice deep-fried thinly slice potatoes that inflate into a potato puff
  • Porcino - wild mushrooms with a  pungent, earthy flavor
  • Potage - French - soup that falls between a consomme (clear, thin broth) and soupe(thick and hearty with chunks of food)
  • Pot stickers - small dumplings made of paper thin dough and filled with meat or water chestnuts
  • Poulet - French - chicken
  • Praline - caramelized almonds
  • Prawn - any large shrimp - they look like a cross between a shrimp and lobster
  • Primavera - Italian - style of using vegetables to garnish dishes
  • Prosciutto - Italian - ham - seasoned and salt-cured ham that is not smoked
  • Provencal - dishes prepared with tomatoes, garlic, olives, mushrooms, anchovies, and onions


  • Quattro formaggi - Italian - four cheeses - sauce made with four cheeses
  • Quesadilla - flour tortilla stuffed with cheese or meat and folded in half and broiled
  • Quiche - pastry shell filled with eggs, cream, other ingredients like mushrooms, ham, and other meat


  • Radicchio - red-leafed salad green
  • Ramekin - small shallow baking dish
  • Ranchero sauce - a spicy tomato sauce with onions, green chiles, and seasonings
  • Ratatouille - eggplant, onions, tomatoes, peppers, zucchini, garlic and herbs cooked in olive oil
  • Reconstitute - to return a dehydrated food to its original form by adding water
  • Redeye gravy - southern gravy of ham drippings with water and coffee
  • Remoulade - combining mayonnaise, mustard, capers, gherkins, and anchovies
  • Reuben sandwich - rye bread, corned beef, Swiss cheese and sauerkraut served hot
  • Rigatoni - large macaroni that is grooved
  • Risotto - creamy rice cooked by constant stirring in stock and then adding ingredients as cheese or mushrooms
  • Rotelle - spoke shaped pasta wheels
  • Rotini - short spiral pasta
  • Roulade - French - thin slice of meat rolled and filled with mushrooms, beadcrumbs, cheese or a vegetable, meat, cheese mixture. The rolled product is tied with a string and browned and then baked.
  • Roux - flour and fat mixture that is used as a thickener for soups and sauces
  • Rumaki - chicken liver and water chestnut wrapped in bacon and grilled or broiled


  • Sashimi - sliced raw fish served with condiments
  • Sate - meat cubes skewered and grilled or broiled with a spicy peanut sauce
  • Sauerbraten - sour beef pot roast marinated in vinegar and served with a sour sauce
  • Scallop - mollusk(shellfish) - the muscle that hinges the two shells ALSO a thin, round, boneless slice of meat lightly breaded and sauteed ALSO to prepare food by layering slices (potatoes) with a cream sauce in a casserole
  • Scaloppine - a thin slice of meat (veal) that is covered in flour and sauteed
  • Schnitzel - German - cutlet - meat dipped in egg and then breaded and fried
  • Scone - a Scottish bread similar to a biscuit
  • Scrapple - chopped scraps of pork mixed with cornmeal, pork broth, and seasonings and then cooked into a mush. The mush is cooled in loaf pans then sliced and fried
  • Seviche - raw fish that is marinated in lime juice. The fish is "cooked" from the acid in the lime juice
  • Shallot - more like garlic than onion with a head of multiple cloves covered with a paper skin
  • Shepherd's pie - ground or diced meat mixed with gravy and vegetables and topped with mashed potatoes and then baked like a pie until brown
  • S'more - a graham cracker sandwich with a toasted marshmallow and a chocolate square
  • Sommelier - the steward or waiter that is in charge of the wine
  • Spaetzle - tiny noodles or dumplings made from eggs, flour, milk, and nutmeg then boiled and served with butter or served in soups
  • Streusel - coffecakes, breads, or muffins topped with a crumbly mixture of flour, sugar, butter and spices
  • Stroganoff - sauteed slices of beef cooked with onions and mushrooms with a sour cream sauce
  • Succotash - lima beans, corn and chopped peppers
  • Sushi - boiled rice flavored with a sweet rice vinegar
  • Sweetbreads - glands and pancreas of pig, calves, or lamb


  • Tamale - Mexican dish - chopped meat and vegetables that is coated with masa dough and wrapped in a corn husk that is steamed and the husk removed before eating
  • Tapas - appetizers served with sherry or other cocktails
  • Tapenade - thick paste from capers, anchovies, ripe olives, lemon juice, and olive oil
  • Tart - a pastry crust, with shallow sides, filling and no top crust
  • Tempura - pieces of fish or vegetables battered and then deep fried
  • Tiramisu - sponge cake or lady fingers dipped in a coffee mixture then layered with mascarpone and grated chocolate
  • Torte -  a small, rich decorated multilayered cake of buttercream or jams
  • Tortellini - small stuffed pasta
  • Trifle - spongecake or ladyfingers soaked with spirits covered with jam and custard with whipped cream and grated chocolate, nuts, or fruit
  • Tripe - lining of beef stomach
  • Truffle - similar to mushrooms, a black fungus found growing under the roots of trees and used for seasoning foods.  The chocolate truffle is a dessert of melted chocolate, butter or cream, sugar and vanilla and other spices that is rolled into balls and coated with cocoa powder


  • Udon - a thick round or square Japanese noodle that is similar to spaghetti
  • Unleavened - baked goods that do not contain baking powder, or baking soda, or  yeast


  • Veal Oscar - sauteed veal cutlets topped with crab and bearnaise sauce 
  • Veloute - a white sauce thickened with white roux
  • Venison - deer meat
  • Verdure - Italian - vegetables
  • Vermicelli - thin spaghetti
  • Verte - French - green-sauce - mayonnaise mixed with spinach, parsley, or watercress
  • Vichyssoise -cold, cream leek and potato soup


  • Wasabi - Japanese horseradish - a green colored condiment that is pungent and spicy
  • Welsh rarebit - melted cheddar cheese mixed with beer, mustard, and worcestershire sauce served over toast
  • Wiener Schnitzel - veal cutlet breaded and fried
  • Won tons - small dumplings of paper-thin dough filled with meat and vegetables


  • Zest - rind of a lemon or orange used for flavoring
  • Ziti - thin tubes of pasta