Literacy in Food Preparation and Nutrition

There are several key literacy skills in Food Preparation and Nutrition.

Students' must be able to:

  • plan and structure research for controlled assignments – NEA 1 & NEA 2
  • source information by using databases, web sites, books and magazines etc.
  • evaluate and analyse results and thinking critically about the responses
  • express the information learned and research in meaningful way
  • understand and express new terminology and key words
  • complete written work with good punctuation, spelling and grammar
  • read and understand examination questions

Key Terms

Aeration - Incorporating air into a mixture.

Agitate - To stir, shake or disturb a liquid.

Al dente - ‘Firm to the bite’, a description of the texture of correctly cooked pasta.

Ambient - Foods that can be stored, at room temperature (ordinary room temperature 19°C to 21°C), in a sealed container. All foods found on supermarket shelves are ambient foods.

Amino acids - The building blocks of proteins.

Antioxidant - A molecule that can stop the oxidisation process in other molecules and therefore can be useful in stopping foods from deteriorating. Antioxidants can prevent or slow down damage to the body which otherwise can lead to diseases such as heart disease. Antioxidants also improve our immune system.

Antioxidant vitamins - Vitamins A, D and E, found in fruits and vegetables.

Bacteria - Pathogenic microscopic living organisms, usually single-celled, that can be found everywhere. They can be dangerous, such as when they cause infection, or beneficial, as in the process of fermentation (for wine).

Baking - Convection-conduction, cooking foods in a hot oven.

Basted - When fats or juices are poured over something (usually meat) while cooking to keep it moist, e.g. roasting meats.

Batter - A mixture of flour, milk or water, and usually an egg.

Bind - To bring the ingredients in a mixture together using an ingredient, e.g. egg.

Biological catalysts - Substance which speeds up a chemical reaction.

Biological raising agent - Using yeast to produce CO2 gas.

Biological value - The number of amino acids that a protein food contains.

Blanching - A method of cooking where food is cooked very quickly in boiling water for a short period of time. It stops enzyme actions which can cause loss of flavour, colour and texture. Conduction-convection.

Braising - Conduction-convection, sealing meat/vegetables in hot fat, then cooking slowly in a covered dish with some cooking liquid.

Bridge hold - Use thumb and forefinger and grip either side of the ingredient, use knife under the bridge to cut.

Calcium - Main mineral in the body, teeth and bones. It needs vitamin D to help absorption.

Caramelisation - Breaking up of sucrose molecules (sugar) when they are heated. This changes the colour, flavour and texture of the sugar as it turns brown into caramel.

Carbohydrates - Macronutrients required by all animals; made in plants by the process of photosynthesis.

Chemical raising agent - Uses baking powder or bicarbonate of soda to produce CO2 gas.

Choux pastry - A light, crisp, hollow pastry used to make profiteroles, eclairs and gougères.

Claw grip - Tips of fingers and thumb tucked under to hold the ingredient before chopping.

Coagulation - The setting or joining together of lots of denatured protein molecules during heating or change in PH. An irreversible change to the appearance and texture of protein foods.

Coat - To add another ingredient to create an attractive finish, or to create a protective layer on food when cooking.

Conduction - Transfer of heat through a solid object into food.

Consistency - Thickness or viscosity.

Convection - Transfer of heat through a liquid or air circulation into food.

Cook’s knife - A large general purpose knife with a deep blade, used for cutting, chopping, slicing and dicing.

Danger zone - Range of temperatures between 5°C to 63°C at which bacteria begin to multiply rapidly.

Deglazing - To loosen the browned juices on the bottom of the pan by adding a liquid to the hot pan and stirring while the liquid is boiling.

Denaturation - Chemical bonds in the protein food have broken, causing the protein molecule to unfold and change shape.

De-seed - To remove seeds before using.

De-skin - To remove the skin by either putting the fruit or vegetable into boiling water or, for peppers, placing on direct heat.

Dextrinisation - Breaking up of the starch molecules into smaller groups of glucose molecules when exposed to dry heat, e.g. toast.

Dietary fibre - Complex carbohydrate/non-starch polysaccharide, e.g. whole grain cereals and cereal products.

Disaccharide - A carbohydrate made from two sugar molecules.

Discrimination tests - Test used to find out whether people can tell the difference between similar samples of food.

Dry-frying - Heating food on a low heat without any fat or oil. Conduction.

Efficacy - Power or capacity to produce a desired effect; effectiveness.

Enzymic action - Causes fruit to ripen, change colour, texture, flavour and aroma; maturing of fruits and vegetables.

Enzymic browning - The discolouration of a fruit or vegetable due to the reaction/chemical process where oxygen and enzymes in the plant cells of the food to react and cause the surface to become brown. This process cannot be reversed.

Emulsification - Refers to the tiny drops of one liquid spread evenly through a second liquid. An emulsifier (such as egg yolk) is used to stabilise an insoluble mixture.

Enzymes - Biological/natural substances (catalysts) which speed up biochemical reactions without being used up themselves.

Fats - Macronutrient which supplies the body with energy.

Fat soluble vitamins - Vitamins (the A, D E, and K groups) that dissolve in fat.

Filleting knife - A thin, flexible, narrow blade knife used to fillet fish.

Fluoride - Strengthens the bones and teeth, helps prevent tooth decay.

Foam formation - Foams are formed when gases (mainly air) are trapped inside a liquid, for example meringue, whisked sponge.

Free range - A method of farming husbandry where the animals, for at least part of the day, can roam freely outdoors.

Free sugars - All monosaccharides and disaccharides added to foods by the manufacturer, cook, or consumer, plus sugars naturally present in honey, syrups, and fruit juices.

Fruit sugars - Carbohydrate, which is the natural sugar in fruit –mostly in the form of fructose, or glucose.

Gelatinisation - When starch granules swell when cooked with liquid, then burst open and release the starch, causing the liquid to thicken.

Gliadin and glutenin - The core proteins of the gluten part of wheat seeds.

Gluten formation - Formed from the two wheat proteins gliadin and glutenin, in presence of water. Gluten is developed by kneading.

Gluten free - Food which does not contain gluten (crucial for those with Coeliac disease).

Grading tests - Put in order particular characteristics of a food product.

Grilling - Radiation cooking foods under intense heat.

Hedonic rating test - People give their opinion of one or more food products by filling out a table that uses a preference scale.

High Biological Value (HBV) - Protein foods that contain all the essential amino acids.

Iron - Needed to make haemoglobin in the red blood cells, requires Vitamin C for absorption.

Julienne - Cutting vegetables into matchstick strips.

Knead - To manipulate dough by pushing it across a work surface and pulling it back. This is essential to develop the gluten.

Knock back - To knead out the carbon dioxide in risen dough to remove large air pockets to ensure an even texture.

Lactose - A natural sugar found in milk and dairy products.

Lactose intolerant - A condition which means you cannot digest disaccharide sugar lactose.

Layer - To make up a dish with differing ingredients one on top of another.

Marinade - To soak foods such as fish, meat, poultry and vegetables in a liquid to help develop the flavour, tenderise and in some instances colour the food before it is cooked. The liquid can be acidic or a salty solution. Protein is denatured by marinating.

Mash - To reduce to a soft mass by using a masher.

Mechanical raising agent - Whisking, beating, sieving, creaming, rubbing in or folding to trap air into the mixture.

Micro filtered - All bacteria in milk are removed, by forcing it through filtration membranes, then pasteurised and homogenised.

Micronutrients - Nutrients required in small quantities to facilitate a range of physiological functions.

Microorganisms - Tiny forms of life, usually single cell microscopic organisms such as bacteria, moulds and fungi.

Milk sugars (lactose) - A single molecule of glucose linked to a single molecule of galactose to form a carbohydrate, known as lactose.

Milling - Breaking cereal grains (seeds) down and separating the layers, turning grain into flour.

Minerals - Chemical substances found in a wide variety of foods.

Mix - To combine two or more ingredients together to become one.

Monosaccharide - A simple carbohydrate. Mono means one, saccharide means sugar.

Monounsaturated fats - Fats that contain one double bond in the molecule.

Nutrients - The properties found in food and drinks that give nourishment – vital for growth and the maintenance of life. The main nutrients needed by the human body are carbohydrates, proteins, fats, vitamins and minerals.

Nutritional analysis - Nutritional information for different foods, creating a nutritional profile of the specific nutrients in the food.

Oil in water emulsion - Keeping drops of oil or fat suspended in a liquid to prevent them from joining together, for example butter.

Olfactory systems - The receptors found in the back of the nose that are responsible for our sense of smell/aromas.

Oxidation - Substances pick up oxygen from the air; they then oxidise to undergo a chemical reaction, resulting in food losing freshness and colour.

Palatability - Reward provided by foods or fluids that are agreeable with regard to the satisfaction of nutritional, water, or energy needs.

Paired preference - People given two similar samples of food and they have to say which one they prefer.

Paring knife/vegetable knife - A small multi-purpose knife mainly used for slicing and dicing.

Pasteurisation - The process of heating a food to a specific temperature for a specific period of time in order to kill microorganisms that could cause disease, spoilage or undesired fermentation.

Phosphorous - Helps calcium to mineralise the teeth and bones.

Poaching - A method of cooking where food is cooked in a liquid that is just below boiling point. Conduction-convection.

Polysaccharide - A complex carbohydrate: many sugar molecules joined together, they do not taste sweet.

Polyunsaturated fats - Fats that contain several double or even triple bonds in the molecule.

Plasticity - The ability of fat to soften over a range of temperatures to hold its shape or be shaped and spread.

Preservatives - Used to prevent food from spoilage by microorganisms; increases the shelf life of commodities.

Profiling - People asked to rate the intensity of a food product from 1–5 against a set of sensory descriptors.

Protein - A macronutrient that is essential to building muscle mass.

Protein alternatives - Manufactured protein food products consumed in place of meat or fish.

Proving - The last rising of the bread dough in its final shape before it is baked.

Radiation - A heating process that does not require physical contact between the heat source and the food being cooked. Instead, energy is transferred by waves of heat or light striking the food. Two kinds of radiation heat are used in the kitchen: infra-red and microwave.

Ranking - People asked to rank order samples of food according to criteria.

Rating - People asked to rate a food sample for a specific characteristic.

Raising agents - An ingredient or process that introduces a gas into a mixture so that it rises when cooked.

Reduction - The process of simmering a liquid over heat until it thickens. It is also the name of the concentrated liquid that forms during this process.

Roasting - Convection-conduction, cooking foods in oil or fat in a hot oven.

Saturated fats - This type of fat is mostly from animal sources; they are normally solid fats. All of the carbon atoms in the fatty acid molecules are linked by single bonds.

Scientific principles - Demonstrates how science of the ingredients are at work in producing, processing, preparing, preserving, and metabolising foods.

Segment - To peel and pull apart, for example an orange.

Sensory properties - Smell, appearance and texture, mouth feel influence what we select to eat.

Sensory testing methods - A way of measuring the sensory qualities of food and is used by chefs, food manufacturers and retailers to analyse a food product.

Shallow frying - A quick method of cooking where a small amount of fat is used to cook food in a frying pan.

Shortening - The ability for fat to shorten the length of the gluten molecules in pastry or shortbread, for example butter, lard or other fat that remains solid at room.

Shred - To slice into long, thin strips.

Simmering - Water that is heated to just below boiling point.

Skewer - A long metal or wooden pin used to secure food on during cooking; to skewer is to hold together pieces of food using a metal or a wooden pin.

Sodium (salt) - Controls the amount of water in the body.

Snip - To cut (usually with a pair of scissors) with a small, quick stroke.

Stabilisers - Help stop substances separating again after they have been mixed stabilise an emulsion.

Starch - A polysaccharide, a complex carbohydrate.

Steaming - A method of cooking where food is cooked in the steam coming from boiling water. Conduction-convection.

Sterilised - Heated in sealed bottles to 110°C for 30 seconds.

Stir-frying - A quick method of cooking where small pieces of food are fast-fried in a small amount of oil in a wok.

Taste receptors - Special cells on the tongue that pick-up flavours.

Tasting panel - A process of testing foods. The process must be fair and realistic controlled conditions.

Temperature control - Range of temperature for the storage of food correctly.

Temperature probes - Give an accurate reading of the core temperature (centre) of the food. Food probes must be used correctly.

Triangle test - People given three samples of a food product to try. Two samples are identical, the third something is different; they need to discriminate between the samples.

Ultra-Heat Treatment (UHT) - Heated very quickly in a heat exchanger to 72°C for 15 seconds cooked rapidly to below 10°c (normally 4°C).

Unsaturated fats - Fats that contain a high ratio of fatty acid molecules with at least one double bond. Unsaturated fats are normally liquid oil.

Vegan - People who do not eat flesh or any animal products. They can eat plant protein soya, TVP, tofu.

Vegetarian - A lacto-vegetarian diet includes dairy products and plants, and a lacto-ovo vegetarian diet includes eggs, dairy products and nuts.

Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin) - Enables energy to be released from carbohydrate, fat and protein in the body found in many foods, such as milk, eggs, rice. Deficiency is rare.

Vitamin B3 (Niacin) - Enables release of Vitamin C (ascorbic acid) needed for absorption of iron, to maintain body cells. Found in citrus fruits, green vegetables.

Vitamin B12 - Works with folic acid, found in meat, fish fortified cereals.

Water based - Using liquid to transfer heat via convection.

Water in oil emulsion - Where liquid is suspended in oil or fat and prevents them from separating out, for example mayonnaise.

Water soluble vitamins - Soluble vitamins (the B group and vitamin C) in water of energy in the body. Found in wheat flour, eggs, milk some meats. Deficiency is called pellagra.

Yeasts - A microscopic fungus consisting of single oval cells that reproduce by budding, and capable of converting sugar into alcohol and CO2 gas. Also ferments in the correct conditions to make bread rise.

Reading List and Sample Assessment Materials

Tom Kerridge’s Dopamine Diet: my low-carb, stay-happy way to lose weight by Tom Kerridge

Molecular Gastronomy: Exploring the Science of Flavor by Hervé

Salt Sugar Fat: How the Food Giants Hooked us by Michael Moss

The Science of Cooking by Peter Barham

Deliciously Ella Every Day: Simple Recipes and Fantastic Food for a Healthy Way of Life by Ella Woodward

Jamie's Ministry of Food: Anyone Can Learn to Cook in 24 Hours by Jamie Oliver

The Food Book (Paperback) by Ridgwell Jenny

New Grade 9-1 GCSE Food Preparation & Nutrition - Revision Guide (CGP GCSE Food 9-1 Revision)

Eduqas GCSE Food Preparation & Nutrition: Student Book

Question Paper
Sample Assessments