What you'll improve here

Learn and (most importantly) remember 12 essential English words/phrases used for saying the different ways that food is cooked by first reading a text and then doing a quiz.

Understanding menus:

When you look at a menu in English in a restaurant, do you understand what every dish (the name for each different plate of food you can have) on it is?

For most dishes on a menu it is easy understand what they have in them (e.g. chicken, potatoes, rice etc...), but if you saw on a menu a dish with 'roast potatoes' and a dish with a 'baked potato', would you know what the difference between them was (and they are very different).

'Roast/roasted' and 'baked' are two different methods of cooking food. If you want to both understand what the different dishes on a menu are and know how to describe food correctly to other people in English, you need to know the different methods in which it can cooked or prepared. And this is what you'll learn here.

In this online exercise on English food vocabulary, you'll both learn and remember 12 words/phrases which are used for describing how food is prepared and cooked that you'll commonly see on a menu.

To learn the English vocabulary for describing the taste and texture of food, do our online exercise on 'food tastes and textures vocabulary'.

Click here to see more of our free online exercises on food, drink and restaurant vocabulary


Exercise: Ordering in a restaurant

Read the following conversation where Juan and Peter are ordering food from a menu in a restaurant in Leeds.

From the context, try to guess what the meaning of the words/phrases in bold are.

Waiter:'Are you ready to order?'

Juan:'Yes, for the starter I would like the smoked salmon salad. And for the main course I would like the fried steak. It says on the menu that it's accompanied with either a baked potato or with roast potatoes. What's the difference?'

Waiter:'Well, the roast potatoes are cooked in the oven with beef fat and the baked potato is also cooked in the oven, but without any fat or oil. It's also called a jacket potato. For the steak, we also have on the menu steak on the grill, where the meat is cooked on a piece of cooking equipment like a barbecue (so the meat has lines on it when cooked). I would recommend that instead of the fried steak. The steak is also seasoned with salt and pepper before it's cooked.'

Juan:'I prefer the fried steak. I'll have that with the roast potatoes. And for dessert, I'll have the lemon cheese cake. Thank you.'

Waiter:'And you sir?'

Peter:'For the starter I would like the mussels. Are they boiled in hot water or are they steamed? It doesn't say on the menu.'

Waiter:'They are steamed with a little white wine at the bottom of the pan.'

Peter:'Perfect. And for the main course, I'll have the roast marinated lamb. What is the marinate?'

Waiter:'The lamb is marinated for 2 days before being roasted in our special mustard, garlic and rosemary marinade. It's very good.'

Peter:'It sounds good. And can I have the sauteed potatoes to accompany the lamb please. Are the sautéed potatoes deep-fried?'

Waiter:'No, the sautéed potatoes are sliced potatoes quickly fried in a little hot oil in a pan. The deep-fried potatoes are called chips, or in America, french-fries.'

Peter:'Sounds good.'

Waiter:'The sautéed potatoes are accompanied with 2 pieces of toast with grilled cheddar cheese on top of them. And for dessert?'

Peter:'Just a fruit salad with double cream.'


What next

Well done for reading the text and learning the meaning of each of the words/phrase in bold. If you don't want to forgot what they mean and want to be able to say them correctly, I'd like you to do one more thing which won't take you long.

Answer the questions in the below quiz with the cooking method vocabulary you've just learnt. Doing this will make sure that you both remember what they mean and that you'll use them in the future.


Click to see more food & drink vocabulary exercises


Quiz:

Below is a definition/description of each of the words/phrases in bold from the above text. Now fill in the blanks with one of these words/phrases in bold. Only use one word/phrase once and write it as it is in the text. Click on the "Check Answers" button at the bottom of the quiz to check your answers.

When the answer is correct, two icons will appear next to the question. The first is an Additional Information Icon "". Click on this for extra information on the word/phrase and for a translation. The second is a Pronunciation Icon "". Click on this to listen to the pronunciation of the word/phrase and to do a pronunciation speaking test.

1. A method of cooking where food is cooked in very hot water, is    

         

Boiled:
(adjective) The verb is 'to boil'. In Spanish: "hervido".

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Boiled:

Pronunciation Speaking Test:
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2. A method of cooking where food is cooked in the oven with fat, oil or fat from the meat, is    

         

Roast:
(adjective) The verb is 'to roast'. Also known as 'roasted', but it is more common to use 'roast' as the adjective. If you cook meat in the oven without any additional fat or oil, it is still called 'roast' (because the meat contains its own fat and is cooked with it), e.g. 'roast beef' or 'roast chicken'. In Spanish: "asado".

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Roast:

Pronunciation Speaking Test:
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3. When food is left in herbs or spices before being cooked, it is    

         

Marinated:
(adjective) The verb is 'to marinate'. Normally, the food is left in a marinate for hours or days before cooking to give it a different flavour. In Spanish: "en adobo".

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Marinated:

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4. When food is cooked in oil or fat in a pan, it is    

         

Fried:
(adjective) The verb is 'to fry'. In Spanish: "frito".

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Fried:

Pronunciation Speaking Test:
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5. When food is cooked in the gas/vapour of hot water/liquid, it is    

         

Steamed:
(adjective) The verb is 'to steam'. This cooking method is used mainly with vegetables or fish. In Spanish: "al vapour".

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Steamed:

Pronunciation Speaking Test:
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6. When you put salt and pepper on food before it is cooked, it is    

         

Seasoned:
(adjective) The verb is 'to season'. Don't confuse with 'seasonal', which is used for fruit and vegetables and means it's the time of the year when they are picked or harvested, e.g. a seasonal vegetable in spring is asparagus. In Spanish: "sazonado".

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Seasoned:

Pronunciation Speaking Test:
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7. When food is preserved by the smoke from wood, it is    

         

Smoked:
(adjective) The verb is 'to smoke'. This is a common way to preserve fish, cheese, and some meats. In Spanish: "ahumado".

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Smoked:

Pronunciation Speaking Test:
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8. When food is cooked by heating it from above, it is    

         

Grilled:
(adjective) The verb is 'to grill'. Apart from toast, it is not a very common method of cooking for restaurant food. When food is 'grilled', it is cooked on a piece of equipment that has metal bars and the heat comes from above. With the similar but different cooking method 'on the grill', the heat comes from below (under the food). In Spanish: "asar al parrilla".

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Grilled:

Pronunciation Speaking Test:
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9. When food (except meat) is cooked in the oven without fat or oil, it is    

         

Baked:
(adjective) The verb is 'to bake'. It is the method of cooking for bread, cakes, potatoes etc... In Spanish: "cocido al horno".

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Baked:

Pronunciation Speaking Test:
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10. When food is cooked quickly with a little fat or oil in a pan, it is    

         

Sautéed:
(adjective) The verb is 'to sauté'. It is normally used for vegetables. It basically means to fry something very quickly with little oil/fat. It is a French style of cooking and shouldn't be confused with 'to stir-fry', which is a similar method of cooking from Asia. In Spanish: "salteado".

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Sautéed:

Pronunciation Speaking Test:
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11. When food is cooked in a lot of oil or fat, it is    

         

Deep-fried:
(adjective) The verb is 'to deep-fry'. It is a very common way of cooking in the anglo-saxon world, e.g. 'fish and chips'. In Spanish: "frito en mucho aceite".

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Deep-fried:

Pronunciation Speaking Test:
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12. When food is cooked on a piece of equipment like a barbecue (made of different metal rods), it is    

         

On the grill:
(noun phrase) It is sometimes called 'barbecued' (which is similar but different). This is a method of cooking that is commonly used with cooking meat or hamburgers. The food is cooked on a piece of equipment that has metal bars and the heat comes from below (under the food). With the similar but different cooking method 'grilled', the heat comes from above food.

This phrase always follows the name of the food, e.g. 'prawns on the grill', 'chicken on the grill' etc...

In Spanish: "a la parrilla".

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On the grill:

Pronunciation Speaking Test:
To check your pronunciation of this word/phrase, first click on the microphone icon () below. Then allow the browser to record your voice and then say the above word/phrase. Although this test is good, it sometimes does not recognise some of the words/phrases.

       

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Practice

Now that you understand the new food cooking methods vocabulary, practise it by creating your own sentences in English with the new words/phrases.