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    [MAYS] This spice tastes and smells like a pungent version of nutmeg, and for a very good reason . . . mace is the bright red membrane that covers the nutmeg seed. After the membrane is removed and dried it becomes a yellow-orange color. It’s sold ground and, less frequently, whole (in which case it’s called a “blade”). Mace is used to flavor all manner of foods, sweet to savory.

    To soak a food (usually fruit) in a liquid in order to infuse it with the liquid’s flavor. A spirit such as brandy, rum or a LIQUEUR is usually the macerating liquid.


    [MAD-l-ihn, mad-LEHN]
    A small, feather-light, spongy cake that is eaten like a cookie, often dipped in coffee or tea. Madeleines are baked in a special pan with scallop-shell indentations; the finished cakes take the form of the shell.

    [MAD-ruh-lehn, mad-rih-LAYN]

    A broad, flat noodle that resembles a narrow, ripple-edged LASAGNA noodle


    Short, curved tubes of PASTA.

    mahi mahi; mahi-mahi
    [MAH-hee MAH-hee]
    Though this is actually a type of dolphin, it shouldn’t be confused with the dolphin that is a mammal. To avoid this misunderstanding, the Hawaiian name mahi mahi is becoming more widespread. Also called dolphinfish and dorado , mahi mahi is found in warm waters throughout the world. It’s a moderately fat fish with firm, flavorful flesh. It ranges in weight from 3 to 45 pounds and can be purchased in steaks or fillets. Mahi mahi is best prepared simply, as in grilling or broiling

    mahleb; mahlab
    Used in the Middle East as a flavoring in baked goods, mahleb is ground black-cherry pits. It can be purchased in Greek or Middle Eastern markets, either prepackaged or ground to order.

    French for “corn” or “corn on the cob.”


    mai tai
    [MI-ti] translates to “Out of this World”

    [MAY-truh (MAY-tehr) doh-TELL]
    A COMPOUND BUTTER made by blending together softened butter, lemon juice or vinegar, chopped parsley and seasonings. It is served as an accompaniment to fish, poultry and meat.



    One of the two main classifications of SHELLFISH (the other being CRUSTACEAN), mollusks are invertebrates with soft bodies covered by a shell of one or more pieces. Mollusks are further divided into GASTROPODS (also called univalves ), such as the ABALONE and SNAIL; BIVALVES, like the CLAM and OYSTER; and CEPHALOPODS, such as the OCTOPUS and SQUID. See also CONCH; CUTTLEFISH; MUSSEL; PERIWINKLE; SCALLOP; WHELK.

    monkey bread
    1. A sweet yeast bread formed by arranging small clumps of dough (which are usually dipped in melted butter) in 3 or 4 overlapping layers in a pan. The pan can be round, oblong or tube-shape. After baking, the clumps cling together to form a solid loaf. Monkey bread can be sweet (flavored with raisins, nuts, cinnamon and sugar) or savory (often made with grated cheese).
    2. A gourdlike fruit of the baobab, a thick-trunked tree native to Africa. The extremely high-starch fruit is generally only eaten by monkeys.


    monosodium glutamate; MSG
    [mon-uh-SOH-dee-uhm GLOO- tuh-mayt]
    Commonly known as MSG , this white crystalline powder is derived from glutamic acid, one of the 22 amino acids. This natural amino acid is found in seaweed, vegetables, cereal gluten and the residue of sugar beets. It was first discovered by Japanese scientists in the 1920s. Japan, where MSG is known as aji-no-moto , is still today’s largest producer of MSG, a popular flavor enhancer in Japanese and Chinese cooking. Even though it has no pronounced flavor of its own, monosodium glutamate has the ability to intensify the flavor of savory foods.

    Also called ceriman and Mexican breadfruit , this unique tropical-American fruit looks like a narrow, foot-long pine cone. The thick, green skin has hexagonal scales that individually separate and pop off as the fruit begins to ripen. Inside, the ripe, off-white flesh is formed in segments correlating to the skin’s pattern. It’s creamy-smooth and resembles a very firm custard. The flavor is sweet-tart and reminiscent of pineapple with touches of banana and mango. If underripe, however, the monstera has an off-taste and an irritant that will inflame both mouth and throat.

    Monte Cristo sandwich
    [MON-tee KRIHS-toh]
    A sandwich consisting of slices of cooked chicken or turkey, cheese (usually Swiss) and sometimes baked ham. The sandwich is dipped into beaten egg and grilled in butter until golden brown.

    Monterey Jack cheese


    moo shu; moo shoo
    [MOO shoo]
    A stir-fried Chinese dish containing shredded pork, scallions, TIGER LILY BUDS, WOOD EARS and various seasonings. This mixture is scrambled with eggs, rolled in small thin pancakes (called moo shu pancakes or Peking doilies ) and served hot.

    mother of vinegar


    naan; nan
    An East Indian, white-flour flat bread that is lightly leavened by a natural YEAST STARTER developed from airborne yeasts. Naan is traditionally baked in a TANDOOR OVEN

    A crisp TORTILLA chip topped with melted cheese (usually CHEDDAR) and chopped CHILES, usually served as an appetizer or snack.

    A small Japanese mushroom that ranges in color from orange to amber to gold. The nameko has a soft almost gelatinous texture and a rich, earthy aroma and flavor. It’s highly regarded and used primarily in Japanese soups and one-pot dishes.

    Nantua sauce


    All parts of this beautiful plant are eaten except the roots. Young leaves and stems add a peppery accent to salads and sandwiches, or be can used in dishes as a WATERCRESS substitute. The flower blossoms may be minced and used to flavor butter, cream cheese or vinegar, and the whole flowers are colorful and delicious in salads or as a garnish. Nasturtium seeds and immature flower buds can be pickled and used like capers

    Neapolitan ice cream
    Brick-shaped ice cream made up of three differently flavored ice creams (usually vanilla, chocolate and strawberry). It’s normally served in slices, each of which displays the tricolored ice cream. Other desserts (or gelatin salads) made in three distinct layers are also labeled “neapolitan.”

    1. A term referring to liquor that is drunk undiluted by ice, water or MIXERS.
    2. An old term used mainly in England for a member of the bovine family such as the ox or cow. Neat’s foot jelly was what today is called CALF’S FOOT JELLY.

    New York steak

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