5 Foodie Vocab Words You Should Know

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Foodie might be an overused word right now, but it’s still one to wear as a badge of honor. Legendary chef and food lover Julia Child summed it up perfectly: “People who love to eat are always the best people.” And being the best means having a truly confident culinary vocabulary! Here are 5 foodie words to know, so you can keep your menu masterful.

An oldie but a goodie, aioli has been around since the late 1800s in Mediterranean fare. More recently, it has captured the imagination of modern chefs, who include it on their menus with everything from onion rings to prime cuts of steak. There is some debate among culinary purists about the accurate recipe for aioli; the name itself means “oil and garlic” but the inclusion of egg yolks and lemon juice is common. While many aiolis contain other flavoring, the truest version of aioli contains no seasoning other than garlic.

A liqueur made from cynani (the bitter chemical found in artichokes) may seem unorthodox, but like Amaro or any other Italian herbal liqueur, the benefits of this brew outweigh any weirdness. No stranger to versatility, Cynar is often mixed with orange juice and can be enjoyed as an àperitif, cocktail, or digestive. For mixed drinks, this liqueur offers a full flavor profile with a sweet honey beginning before the herbal finish. Low alcohol content also means that Cynar adds flavor without packing a strong punch. Salute!

Pronounced with a hard G (like “gift”), ghee is a trending alternative to standard butter. Ghee is a “clarified butter” prepared by simmering butter to separate the milk solids. The fat becomes caramelized which results in a nutty flavor. Popular as a component of South Asian and Arabic menus, ghee has become internationally prized for its low smoke point and used as a substitute for vegetable oil in many recipes. Not only is ghee shelf stable, it is also lactose free and has many health benefits!

A close sibling of the banana, the plantain is becoming an increasingly popular ingredient for tasty restaurant fare. Served cooked, plantains resemble green bananas but are often smaller and have a thicker skin that can appear black when ripened. As fruits go, this one is very low in sugar and has a starchy, durable texture that can be used to great effect in both sweet and savory dishes.

Ube (Purple Yam)
This sweet tuber is currently taking the culinary world by storm and starting to appear on menus around the world. Hailing from Filipino and Indian cooking, the purple yam is used in a variety of desserts for both its flavor and rich, natural color. One of the most popular uses for ube in the Philippines is in Halo-Halo (Haluhalo), a dessert served in a tall glass featuring shaved ice, evaporated milk, coconut, nuts, and fruit.