What’s cooking? (Cutting and mixing food)

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by Kate Woodford

A few weeks ago we looked at cooking words – specifically the range of verbs that describe cooking with the use of an oven. Today we’re focusing on words for cutting up and mixing food.

Let’s start with the cutting. There are various verbs for cutting, each with a particular meaning. If you peel fruit or vegetables, you remove the skin using a knife or other sharp object: I’m just peeling the potatoes. To core a piece of fruit is to remove the hard part inside that contains the seeds: Peel and core the pears. If you slice a piece of food, you cut it into thin, flat pieces: Could you slice the bread? / sliced tomatoes. The verb carve, meanwhile, is usually used for cutting cooked meat. You carve meat when you cut thin pieces from a large piece: Dan carved the chicken.

Other verbs are used for cutting food into small pieces, for example chop (or chop up): Chop the onion finely. / Chop up the carrots. If you dice food, you cut it into small squares: Peel and dice the potatoes. To mince food is to cut it into extremely small pieces: Mince the garlic and add it to the pan. Meanwhile, if you grate food, usually cheese, you cut it into many small pieces by rubbing it against a metal object with small, sharp holes (a grater): grated cheese.

And so to the mixing. To cream food such as butter and sugar is to use a spoon or other utensil to turn it into a smooth, thick mixture: Cream the butter and sugar till the mixture is light and fluffy. If you fold one food, especially egg, into another, you combine them by turning the food gently with a spoon: Fold the egg whites into the cake mixture.

You beat food such as eggs when you use a fork or other utensil to mix the parts together: In a bowl, beat the eggs. You whisk or whip food when you beat it in order to add air to the food and make it light: Could you whip the cream for me? / Whisk the egg whites until stiff.

Finally, to toss a salad or other food with a liquid is to cover it with the liquid, using a spoon to mix everything together: a tossed salad / carrots tossed in butter.

We hope that hasn’t made you hungry!

33 thoughts on “What’s cooking? (Cutting and mixing food)

  1. Bhuban Chakma

    Greatly helping the new ones like me to hone the ENGLISH skill. Really greatful to you for this amazing blog. Keep writing,Kate. Thanks.

  2. Diem Huong Nguyen Xuan

    Thank you so much for delivering such an amazing lesson for English lovers like us ❤ Can’t wait to see more from you guys! Love from Vietnam. ≧◠‿◠≦✌

  3. Gianni

    Thank you very much for your help. Your posts are very interesting. Every time I learn you English words and how I can use them. Good job.

    1. Kate Woodford

      Tobe, to mix two or more substances is specifically to combine them so that they become one. To stir something is to move a spoon etc in a circular motion, sometimes to mix two substances, but not always. (For example you might also stir a sauce in order to stop it from burning.) We hope that helps!

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