Hello and welcome back to Kitchen Catastrophe’s ongoing encyclopedia of food terms. So far, we’ve talked about the different meals in a day, different ways to cook food, and the various cuisines of America. Today, we’re going to take our first look at first steps: prep words!

And no, I don’t mean words like “legacy”, “regatta”, or “tennis whites”, we’re talking about Food preparation, not a weekend in the Hamptons. So if you’ve never known the difference between a mince and a dice, here’s the guide for you! Unless you value informational impartation over entertainment, in which case, no, this is not the guide for you. Nor am I. The guide. For you. THIS GOT WEIRD. DEFINTIONS


  1. Hehe.
  2. (v) - The act of removing bones from a piece of meat.
  3. (adj)-  a knife used for that purpose, typically very flexible, thin, and long, in order to fit between the bone and meat.
  4. Knocking Boots. Making the Beast with Two Backs. Rolling in the Hay. I say, I say, are you following me, boy? I’m talking about love-makin’, it’s going right over your head. Flew right by you there.

Foghorn Leghorn is my spirit animal: an oversized cock that never stops talking.


  1. A preparation for leafy herbs and vegetables, consisting of rolling the leaves up, and slicing them. Essentially forming Herb streamers.


  1. To partition food into shapes formed by a mixture of parallel and perpendicular cuts. A“rough chop” means the resulting shapes aren’t important to the final dish. If the shapes do matter,  typically a more precise term (like CUBE or DICE) will be used.
  2. (n) A cut of meat perpendicular to the spine, typically including a rib or piece of vertebrae.
  3. (n) a single, swift, downward swing of a knife, hand, or other cutting implement. . a “slice” is a lateral (sideways) pull of the blade. This is much easier to explain in person, being a kinetic phenomenon, but I’ve never let my choice of medium impede my choice of explanations.


  1. To divide food into a series of identical pieces of equal height, width, and depth. You know, to MAKE CUBES out of food.
  2. Like, you know what a cube is, right? Multiplying a number by itself, then by itself again? Wait, no, I’ve got the wrong one now. Crap.

Damnit, no, this is a Q*Bert.


 Alright, things are going to get a little weird here. See, DICE, MINCE, and CHOP have, in general cooking parlance, all kind of become the same thing: cutting up food more thoroughly than just SLICE-ing it. HOWEVER, in Food Industry parlance, DICE is actually the most regulated cut of all, and refers to differing sizes of CUBES. Yeah. So it’s basically tied to half of the entries today. As such, you get 2 definitions.

  1. (common) To partition foods into shapes formed by a series of perpendicular and parallel cuts. A DICE is finer than a CHOP, but not as fine as a MINCE.
  2. (industry) To cut food into one of three sizes of cubes: a Small dice measures ¼” per side, a medium ½”, and a large dice ¾”. (Note: There are smaller cube cuts, but those are not, technically, DICES. Those would be a brunoise (1/8”) and a fine brunoise (1/16”))


  1.  A mixture of liquid, salt, spices, and sweetener, in which one soaks a food before cooking.
  2. (v) the act of soaking food in such a mixture
  3. From Marinar, meaning “To soak in brine”, from Marina “A sea-dock”. So technically, anything soaked in saltwater is marinaded. Boats, Sailors, Thick Hemp Ropes. Particularly clumsy sheep. Heck, if you cry hard enough, you’re technically marinading your face.

Enjoy your marinated face with a stiff martini. (Quick note to my acting friends, this pic actually comes from a pretty legit tutorial on how to make this look with make-up. Check it out.)


  1. SomethingI am really bad at.
  2. The arrangement or set-up of necessary ingredients, dishes, and utensils PRIOR to cooking a meal. (v) for the same, as well as the preparation of said ingredients. (e.g, chopping the filling for an omelet before pouring the eggs into a pan) A vital skill for professional chefs, and a valuable one for home cooks. Failure to properly create one’s mise-en-place is the number one most common failing of home-cooks, and one of the primary reasons people believe they “can’t cook.” (“Oh, no, I can’t find the salt, and the eggs are almost done, damn it, why is this so hard?”)


  1. (Industry) to chop exceedingly fine, and crush into a paste.
  2. (common) any dice of 1/8” or smaller.
  3. (British) Ground. As in “Ground Beef”. Hence, a “Mince-meat Pie” is essentially just a Christmas version of a Pot Pie. The Fruit-Cake of Pot-Pies, if you will.

It even looks like Fruit Cake! Or Dirty Rice. Or Fried Rice. Look, most brown foods look alike. By which I meant “Foods whose ingredients are brown”, not…You know what? I’m just going to stop talking.


  1. The act of removing skin or small components from food. “Paring” an apple would consist of removing the skin and core, for instance. Or cutting the seeds from a jalapeno.
  2. ~ KNIFE – (n) a small, general purpose knife. Meant to be used in trimming, seeding, coring, etc.


  1.  Cutting food with a series of parallel cuts, typically performed by shifting the knife, and sliding it forward or backward.  Produces contiguous sheets of food called “Slices”, because, duh.