Illustrations by Jack Molloy

Don’t know your affinage from your mirepoix? Decipher any recipe — or menu — using this quick-hit glossary of terms identified by Elizabeth Briggs, chef and professor at the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York.

AFFINAGE: The aging period for various types of cheese, sometimes by a second party other than the cheesemaker.

Illustrations by Jack Molloy
CHIFFONADE: To finely julienne, or cut into hair-thin strips, herbs such as basil.

DEPOUILLAGE: To skim the fat from the top of a simmering stock.

MIGNONETTE: The French term for freshly cracked black pepper.

MIREPOIX: An aromatic blend of onions, celery, and carrots used to flavor soups, sauces, stocks, and roasting meats.

MIS EN PLACE: A French term for “a place for everything and everything in its place.” All equipment and ingredients are assembled to make a dish.

RAVIOLO: A super-sized ravioli stuffed with ricotta cheese and an egg yolk that should run when the pasta is cut.

TOURNE: To cut a vegetable (popularly potatoes) with seven sides so it resembles a football.