13 Words To Know Before You Try to Cook Thanksgiving Dinner

Viktoriia Hnatiuk/iStock via Getty Images Plus
Viktoriia Hnatiuk/iStock via Getty Images Plus / Viktoriia Hnatiuk/iStock via Getty Images Plus

There you are, a half-hour before guests arrive, face-to-face with the tragic implications of not knowing what deglaze means. Does it involve icing? Pottery? That's when you realize: Recipes are not only about how to cook a particular dish. They're about words.

So now, from our friends at Vocabulary.com, here are a baker's dozen (that means 13) of essential recipe jargon collected from Thanksgiving recipes that have appeared in The New York Times.

1. Incorporate

The Definition: "Unite or merge with something already in existence."

Sample sentence: "Add the flour all at once, whisking until incorporated."

2. Douse

The Definition: "Wet thoroughly."

Sample sentence: "You need gravy to lubricate the turkey, moisten the potatoes, douse the stuffing."

3. Submerge

The Definition: put under water

Sample sentence: "It will keep everything submerged and it’s easier to skim the scum; however, it’s not necessary."

4. Knit

The Definition: "Tie or link together."

Sample sentence: "Sour cream knits the dish together perfectly."

5. Heap

The Definition: "Fill to overflow."

Sample sentence: "In a bowl, combine lemon juice and 1 heaping teaspoon salt."

6. Dice

The Definition: "Cut into cubes."

Sample sentence: "Dice, toss in oil and roast at 400 degrees."

7. Intact

The Definition: "Undamaged in any way."

Sample sentence: "Peel onions, leaving root ends intact."

8. Steep

The Definition: "Let sit in a liquid to extract a flavor or to cleanse."

Sample sentence: "Add garlic cloves and set aside to steep."

9. Render

The Definition: "Melt (fat or lard) in order to separate out impurities."

Sample sentence: "The fat renders out of the skin, flavoring the stuffing."

10. Congeal

The Definition: "Become gelatinous."

Sample sentence: "Skim off the fat with a spoon, or put in the refrigerator or freezer until the fat has congealed on top, then remove fat."


The Definition: "Allowing light to pass through diffusely."

Sample sentence: "Cook, stirring occasionally, until onion is translucent, about 5 minutes."

12. Liquid

The Definition: "Tending to flow with little or no tendency to disperse."

Sample sentence: "If all the cranberries pop, the sauce may be too liquid."

13. Aromatic

The Definition: "Having a strong pleasant odor."

Sample sentence: "Add half the beans, half the ginger and half the garlic, and cook, stirring and tossing constantly, until beans are heated through and ginger and garlic are softened and aromatic."

To see more Thanksgiving cooking terms and to add them your vocabulary-learning program, the full list is at Vocabulary.com.