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

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."

11.Translucent

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.

Keep Your Cat Busy With a Board Game That Doubles as a Scratch Pad

Cheerble
Cheerble

No matter how much you love playing with your cat, waving a feather toy in front of its face can get monotonous after a while (for the both of you). To shake up playtime, the Cheerble three-in-one board game looks to provide your feline housemate with hours of hands-free entertainment.

Cheerble's board game, which is currently raising money on Kickstarter, is designed to keep even the most restless cats stimulated. The first component of the game is the electronic Cheerble ball, which rolls on its own when your cat touches it with their paw or nose—no remote control required. And on days when your cat is especially energetic, you can adjust the ball's settings to roll and bounce in a way that matches their stamina.

Cheerable cat toy on Kickstarter.
Cheerble

The Cheerble balls are meant to pair with the Cheerble game board, which consists of a box that has plenty of room for balls to roll around. The board is also covered on one side with a platform that has holes big enough for your cat to fit their paws through, so they can hunt the balls like a game of Whack-a-Mole. And if your cat ever loses interest in chasing the ball, the board also includes a built-in scratch pad and fluffy wand toy to slap around. A simplified version of the board game includes the scratch pad without the wand or hole maze, so you can tailor your purchase for your cat's interests.

Cheerble cat board game.
Cheerble

Since launching its campaign on Kickstarter on April 23, Cheerble has raised over $128,000, already blowing past its initial goal of $6416. You can back the Kickstarter today to claim a Cheerble product, with $32 getting you a ball and $58 getting you the board game. You can make your pledge here, with shipping estimated for July 2020.

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Why Did Noon Used to Mean 3 p.m.?

3 p.m. is basically noon for people who wake up at 12 p.m.
3 p.m. is basically noon for people who wake up at 12 p.m.
Mckyartstudio/iStock via Getty Images

If you’re a late sleeper, you might find yourself thinking 12 p.m. seems way too early to be considered midday, and the word noon would much better describe, say, 3 p.m. It turns out that ancient Romans would have agreed with you, if only for etymological reasons.

As Reader’s Digest explains, the days in ancient Rome were split into four periods of three hours each. The first hour was at sunrise around 6 a.m.—called prime, for first—followed by 9 a.m. (terce, denoting the third hour), 12 p.m. (sext, for sixth), and 3 p.m. (none, for ninth).

According to Merriam-Webster, Middle and Old English borrowed the time-keeping tradition, along with the Latin word for ninth, which was changed to nōn and eventually noon. Though we’re not sure exactly when or why noon started referring to 12 p.m. instead of 3 p.m., it could have something to do with Christian prayer traditions. In the Bible, Jesus’s crucifixion is said to have taken place at the ninth hour, and that’s when worshippers partook in their second of three daily prayers; the others were in the morning and evening. It’s possible that hungry monks were behind noon’s gradual shift from 3 p.m. to 12 p.m.—since their daily fast didn’t end until after the midday prayer, they had a built-in motive for moving it earlier.

While we didn’t exactly stay true to the original Latin meaning of noon, there’s another important remnant of ancient Rome hiding in the way we tell time today. Romans referred to 12 p.m. as meridiem, for midday, and so do we. A.M. is an abbreviation for ante meridiem, or before midday, and P.M. means post meridiem, or after midday.

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