Taking the Mystery out of the Menu

Taking the Mystery Out of the Menu Naomi Powell
Follow me

Tim Firmager

Tim divides his time being a Digital Consultant in The City and as a food and travel writer across the globe. When he's not working as one of the Lifestyle Editors here at Vada, he's planning his next trip, or on the lookout for the latest food crazes or unusual foods in London's markets.
Follow me

Have you ever been out for dinner and been mystified by some of the terms on the menu? You’re not alone. Naomi Powell has released her first book Taking the Mystery out of the Menu, which collates descriptions of unusual ingredients and cooking terminology into one guide, so you’ll know your freekeh from your fumet.

An ideal gift for all good foodies, this is a go-to guide to navigate the labyrinth of modern culinary terms. After becoming constantly frustrated with modern menu terminology experienced whilst eating out at restaurants and the ambiguous terms used in recipes when cooking at home, Naomi delved into researching everything from niche ingredients to expert techniques and more. What began as a personal quest to improve her dining and cooking experience quickly became a handy reference text for everyone interested in the culinary arts. From allumettes (potatoes cut into match-sticks and fried) to wasabi (Japanese horseradish) and everything in between, this dictionary will help even the most critical and discerning diners comprehend the language of modern menus used in our food-obsessed society.

Informed and accessible, Taking the Mystery Out of the Menu by Naomi Powell takes readers step-by-step, alphabetically through the language of the kitchen. Providing a greater awareness of the vast and exciting world of food, this book will serve as a practical guide for both the average diner and those aspiring to the catering profession. From the book, here are our top 10 terms, to aid being more briefed than baffled by the menu.

  • Abalone – common name of edible sea snails
  • Baravois(e) – Bavarian Cream, a dessert similar to pastry cream, thickened with gelatine and flavoured with a liqueur. Can also be a hot drink
  • Carolo nero – A green/black member of the cabbage family, which also has a sweet flower. Used extensively in Italy.
  • Freekeh – A whole grain young green wheat which has been toasted. Similar to Bulgur wheat.
  • Gremolata – A chopped condiment made of zest of lemon, parsley and garlic. A traditional Italian accompaniment to braised veal shank
  • Kohlrabi – A stem vegetable with green foliage and a turnip-like globe
  • Mirin – A Japanese mild, sweet rice cooking wine
  • Pithivier – A French Pastry. A closed puff-pastry pie with either a sweet or savoury filling.
  • Umami – A basic flavour in Japanese cooking combining sweet, sour and savoury sensations.
  • Yuzu – Japanese citrus fruit resembling grapefruit, with an aromatic flavour.

Taking the Mystery Out of the Menu (published by Clink Street Publishing) by Naomi Powell is available to purchase from online retailers including amazon.co.uk and to order from all good bookstores.

Taking the Mystery Out of the Menu Naomi Powell