FOOD GLOSSARY - Cherimoya to Chiffon Cake

No one knows who made the first cheese, but according to an ancient legend it was made accidentally by an Arabian merchant. The merchant put his supply of milk into a pouch of a sheep's stomach when he set out on a long day's journey across the desert. The rennet in the lining of the pouch combined with the heat of the sun caused the milk to separate into curd and whey. He found at nightfall that the whey satisfied his thirst and the cheese (curd) satisfied his hunger and had a delightful flavor. Thus, according to the legend, the making of one of our most useful foods was begun.

According to ancient records, cheese was used as a food more than 4,000 years ago. Travelers from Asia are believed to have brought the art of cheesemaking to Europe. The Pilgrims included cheese in the ship's supplies when they made their famous voyage to America in the Mayflower.

Most cheese is "natural" cheese, that is, it is made directly from milk (or whey, in a few instances) as opposed to "process" cheese, which is made from a blend or combination of one or more kinds of natural cheese.

There are hundreds of varieties of cheese available of which only a minor number are in general use. Many cheeses are named for the town or community in which they are made, or for a land- mark of the community. Hence, many cheeses with different local names are practically the same in their characteristics. On the other hand, several different kinds are known by the same local name. In addition, there are many trade names for various brands of cheese.

CHERIMOYA:  Fruit of a sub-tropical tree. It has white pulp of rich flavor and fat brown seeds, mingled with pulp. Apple size or larger, green skin with fingerprint depressions.

CHERRIES JUBILEE:  Cherries set aflame with kirsch or brandy. Often served over vanilla ice cream.

CHERRIES TOMATO:  A red or yellow tomato the size of a small plum.

CHESTNUTS:  Chestnuts are one of the starchiest nuts and are often preferred in stuffings because they are less fat than other nuts. Chestnuts are best eaten cooked, and they may be roasted, boiled, or pureed. They are particularly delicious with Brussels sprouts. They are relished as a dessert when freshly roasted. "Marrons" are preserved chestnuts, either bottled in syrup, candied, or dried, and are used in making fancy desserts and salads. See also Water Chestnuts.

CHICKEN-FRIED STEAK:  Steak dipped in flour and seasoning, pan fried and smothered.

CHICK-PEA:  The dried pea from a bushy plant of the pea family, with short, hairy pods. Called garbanzo in Spanish, it is popular in Mexico and our own Southwest. It is used in soups, baked as beans, or coated with sugar and eaten as a confection. Chick-peas are also generally available canned.

CHICORY:  Salad chicory or curly endive, a favorite salad vegetable because of its crisp, frilly narrow leaves. A related plant is cultivated for its roots, which are dried, roasted, and mixed with coffee in some places (notably New Orleans). It contributes a stronger flavor to coffee, makes it "thicker," gives it more aroma.

CHIFFON CAKE:  A type of cake in which oil is used as the shortening; it gives the lightness of an angel cake and melting richness of a shortening-type cake. It combines some of the steps used in making an angel cake and shortening-type cake.

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