Culinary Dictionary – J

Linda’s Culinary Dictionary – J

A Dictionary of Cooking, Food, and Beverage Terms

Culinary Dictionary

An outstanding and large culinary dictionary and glossary that includes the definitions and history of cooking, food, and beverage terms.

Please click on a letter below to alphabetically search the many food and cooking terms

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jaccart – To inject a product, usually beef, with tiny needles, in order to tenderize it.



jalapeno pepper (hal-la-PAY-nyo) – Named after Jalapa, the capital of Veracruz, Mexico, these smooth, dark green (scarlet red when ripe) have a rounded tip and are about 2 inches long and 3/4 to 1 inch in diameter. Although not as hot as other chile peppers, most people love the flavor this pepper has. Heat range is 3-6, depending on the variety. Besides their flavor, jalapenos are quite popular because they’re so easily seeded (the seeds and veins are extremely hot). They’re available fresh and canned and are used in a variety of sauces, sometimes stuffed with cheese, fish or meat, and in a multitude of dishes. In their dried form they are known as chipotles. Pickled, it is called cscabeche.

Learn about Chile Peppers – Preparing Fresh Chile Peppers, Roasting Fresh Chile Peppers, Preparing Dried Chile Peppers, Science of Chile Peppers



jambalaya (juhm-buh-LI-yah) – Jambalaya is a rich dish, which varies widely from cook to cook, but usually contains rice. It is said that Louisiana chefs “sweep up the kitchen” and toss just about everything into the pot for this rice dish that is highly seasoned and flavored with any combination of beef, pork, fowl, smoked sausage, ham, or seafood, as well as celery, green peppers and often tomatoes. Jambalaya, is the dish most obviously associated with the brief period of Spanish domination in New Orleans. Celestine Eustis, writing at the turn of the twentieth century, refers to it as a “Spanish Creole dish.” It is now considered the hallmark of Cajun cuisine.

Learn about the History of Jambalaya



jambon (zham-BOHN) – It is the French word for “ham” which consists of the hind leg of the pig, separated from the carcass at about the second joint of the vertebrae.

jambon au madere – Ham steaks prepared with Madeira wine

jambon cru – Raw ham.

jambon froid – Cold or chilled ham.

jambon jambon fume – Smoked ham.



jambonneau (zhan-bun-NO) – A French cut of the pork carcass that consists of a portion of the foreleg or a knuckle from the foreleg or hind leg that is cured and pickled or salted.



jelly bean – Historians seem to think that jelly beans were introduced between 1896 and 1905. It is believed the jelly center is a descendent of a Mid-Eastern confection known as Turkish Delight that dates back to Biblical times. The shell coating is an offspring of a process called panning, first invented in 17th century France to make Jordan Almonds. The panning process, while done primarily by machine today, has remained essentially the same for the last 300 years. It wasn’t until the 1930’s that jelly beans became a part of Easter traditions.

Jelly beans quickly earned a place among the many glass jars of “penny candy” in general stores where they were sold by weight and taken home in paper bags. It wasn’t until the 1930’s, however, that jelly beans became a part of Easter traditions.



jerk – A term used for an island style of barbecue that includes marinating the meat in a green pesto-like mixture of herbs, spices, and very hot peppers.



jerk seasoning – A spicy Jamaican seasoning used to marinate fish, pork, chicken, and beef. The mix includes a blend of chiles, allspice, thyme, and lime juice or rum. Some jerk mixtures (jerk rub) are thick and are rubbed over meats before cooking. Other blends have more liquid added so that they can be used for marinating and basting. The slaves used this method to preserve their meat.



Jerusalem artichoke – It resembles the globe artichoke in flavor but is actually a member of the sunflower family. See artichoke.



jicama (hic-a-ma) – It is also known as the Mexican potato. Jicama is a very firm, bulbous root vegetable that is brown on the outside with pearly white meat. It can be enjoyed either raw of cooked. It is slightly sweet to taste and it is very crunchy (it will remain so even after cooking). Great in salads and for using in dips.



Jo-Jo Potatoes – Potatoes cut into thick wedges then seasoned (sometimes breaded) and deep-fried. Often served with broasted chicken.



Johnny Cake – Also called Jonny Cake. Johnny Cakes are the New England equivalent of the tortilla. The simplest recipes call for nothing but corn meal, boiling water, and a little salt. The batter should be fairly thin so that when fried on a hot griddle, the batter spreads out no more than a quarter of an inch thick.

History:  The origin of the name is something of a mystery and probably has nothing to do the name John. They also were called Journey Cakes because they could be carried on long trips in the traveler’s saddlebags and baked along the way. There is some thought that they were originally called Shawnee Cake and the colonist slurred the words into Johnny Cake. Modern historians have also found that the word joniken, an American Indian word meaning corn cake could possible be the origin of the name. The settlers of New England learned how to make Johnny Cakes from the local Putexet Indians, who showed the starving Pilgrims how to grind and use corn for eating.

Learn all about the history of Johnnycakes, Jonnycakes, Journey Cakes, Shawnee Cakes.



julienne (joo-lee-EHN) – To cut food into thin sticks which are also called matchsticks. Food is cut with a knife or mandoline into even slices, then into strips.

History: French chef Jean Julien is said to have introduced the “julienne” method or preparing vegetables.




Culinary Dictionary   

Comments and Reviews

One Response to “Culinary Dictionary – J”

  1. Kay

    Looking for the culinary definition of Josephines, for which I have a recipe. Thank you.


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