Culinary Compendium of Cooking Cant 6 - Water

Culinary Compendium of Cooking Cant 6 - Water

Hello and welcome back to Kitchen Catastrophe’s ongoing series, the Culinary Compendium, Jon O’Guin’s ongoing effort to ensure elocution and encyclopedic enumeration of edible entries in erudition. Shit, sorry. Got caught in an assonance loop there. (More like Ass-nonsense, right? Haha, suck it, ME.) In any case, this series is all about providing useful definitions of technical cooking terms in the hopes of making your next meal a little easier. Today’s topic: the wild world of Water!  

We’re also going to be covering a couple other liquid-based terms that don’t explicitly use water, but today we’re definitely getting wet. So let’s dive right in and get to the bottom of these marine…damn, I cannot think of words that mean “words” today.


The World of Water Words



  1. A device used to cook food gently by suspending the food’s cooking vessel in a larger vessel filled with boiling water. Also known as a “water bath” or “double boiler”.
  2. (Colloquial American) A pan filled with water, in which the main vessel is suspended when cooked in an oven. Mainly used for Crème bruleé and flan. (See DOUBLE BOILER , below)
  3. A device used in early Alchemy, whose name translates as “Marie’s Bath” referring to the first Western Alchemist, Mary the Jewess. So, one point to ancient alchemy for letting women in, minus one point for calling them “Jewesses”.

It's cool, I never showed them my rad cloud-bush because of it.


  1. To cook vegetables by briefly boiling them, and then “shocking” them by submerging them in cold water. Used to “lock” the vegetables’ pigmentation over longer cooking/freezing, to pre-tenderize them before quicker cooking techniques, to reduce strong flavors, or to make the vegetable easier to skin.
  2. To react with fear or disgust, as a child does when presented with freshly boiled veggies.
  3. To whiten, after the famously white Blanche DuBois, a Southern Belle losing touch with reality and vocally shaming those supporting her after she indulged in a series of affairs after her husband was revealed to be gay and killed himself from the shame. Which is a really white state of affairs.


  1. To raise water to the temperature of 212 degrees Fahrenheit, or 100 Celsius.
  2. To cook food in water raised to this state.
  3. A distinctly hotter state than simmering, wherein bubbles should frequently rise through the water and pop at the top.
  4. A wart.

You can clear that up with a bit of geological weapons retrieval, of course.

Also, I think it says something about me that my first thought for a joke based on 'wart' is " Everyone remembers that Wart was King Arthur's name as a kid, right?"



  1. To release the fond from a pan by introducing a (typically acidic) liquid to the hot pan. Typically used to produce sauces heavily flavored by the initial ingredients. (For instance, this is the go-to method for producing gravies and steak sauces.)
  2. To lick the frosting from a donut or other sweet like a goddamn monster.


  1. (Colloquial American) A device for cooking food on the stovetop, using either a pair of pots, or a bowl suspended over a pot, or similar, wherein the lower pot has water added and is allowed to boil, while the top vessel holds the foods to be cooked. Frequently used for melting chocolate for various purposes, for making egg-based custards or desserts, and other needs for gentle, consistent heat.


  1. To cook food partially by briefly boiling it. Parboiling is distinct from blanching in that the food is not then shocked with cold. Interestingly, this causes a distinction in technique usage, where proteins and starches are parboiled, but vegetables are almost always blanched.
  2. To hit the water hazard instead of landing on the green in Golf, thus boiling over par.


  1. To cook food in simmering liquid. Mainly used on eggs as well as white meats such as chicken or fish, allowing those foods to be cooked gently without damaging their flesh or  drying them out. Also used on fruit to infuse them with flavors for desserts.
  2. To hunt illegally. The words both come from the Old French for “put into a bag”; explaining how two very different meanings use the same word. (Poached eggs were considered to have  “put the yolk in a bag” of the softly cooked whites)

This is a pouch for poaching eggs. A pouched egg pouch. That's some Egg-ception level shit.


  1.  To intensify the flavors of, or thicken a sauce of liquid by allowing the water content to evaporate out, leaving more flavor compounds, and lowering the overall volume. Typically the step taken directly after deglazing a pan. Creates a “reduction”.
  2. The first step to managing your waste, followed by Re-use and Recycle.
  3. To Deuce Again.


  1.  Water that is heated with bubbles forming and potentially lifting and breaking but are not rapidly breaking as in a boil. Covers basically any water heat from 145 to 200 degrees Fahrenheit.  Use to reduce liquids, poach foods, gently heat liquid foods, and braise meats. The Swiss army Knife of cooking techniques, used in a hugely broad assortment of meals.
  2. To remain angry or upset after an offense or event.
  3. To Calm down. These oppository meaning come from the idea of relative heat levels. One simmers with anger when one retains at least some of the heat of their anger. One simmers DOWN by dropping from a present state of “boiling” anger to something calmer and more easily managed.
  4. (adj) a film or television production containing more of English Actor John Simm, such as David Tennant’s final Doctor Who Christmas special The End of Time.

That episode can probably safely be called "the SimmEST".


  1. To clean. Duh. Idiot.
  2. IN cooking, still to clean, but, you know, maybe skip the step of rubbing soap on the thing you’re about to eat, yeah? Bit of a rough idea, that.
  3. ~, HOBURN: the pilot of the Firefly-class vessel Serenity, whose abrupt departure is a reason many dislike the film adaptation. (And no, of course I didn’t have to look up his first name. I  know the names of every Serenity crew member better than the names of family members of my closest friends.)