Food Dictionary

Oat
A very nutritious cereal grass. Oats that have been cleaned, toasted, and hulled become "oat groats" which can be cooked and served. Steaming and flattening the grain in rollers produces "rolled oats." The hull is called the "bran."
Oat Bran
The outer casing of the oat grain. This part of the grain is very high in soluble fiber, which is believed to be effective in helping to reduce cholesterol levels in the blood.
Oatcake
A flaky, flat Scottish biscuit made with oatmeal.
Ocean Perch
This important commercial fish is not a true perch, but is rather a member of the rockfish group. Also known as "sea perch."
Ocean Pout
A marine fish of the eelpout family found mainly in the Pacific. The flesh is sweet and white and contains very few bones. Sometimes called a "muttonfish."
Oceanic Bonito
This small tuna (6 to 8 pounds) has a light-colored meat similar to yellowfin. The Japanese call this fish "katsuo" and the Hawaiians call it "aku."
Octopus
This cephalapod, related to the squid and the cuttlefish, can reach 50 feet in length. It features a highly flavorful meat that tends to be a bit on the rubbery side. Octopus is eaten raw, boiled, pickled, sautéed, and fried.
Oeuf a la Neige
Sweet meringue puffs that are poached in milk and chilled. When served, these puffs are drizzled with caramel and served with creme anglaise.
Offal
The internal organs and innards of an animal or fish, including brain, tongue, liver, kidney, tripe, and heart.
Okara
The ground-up byproduct that results from the production of tofu.
Okra
A vegetable that is widely used in Indian, Caribbean and southern US cookery where it is an essential ingredient of gumbo; also called ‘ladies’ fingers’ because of its appearance. A long green pod, full of seeds, the okra exudes a sticky juice in cooking which thickens stews and braised dishes.
Old Fashioned Loaf
Cooked meat specialty -- Made of carefully selected lean pork with enough beef to add flavor and firmness of texture to the loaf.
Olive
Small oval fruit of the olive tree, widely cultivated in Mediterranean regions. Olives are harvested and preserved in oil or brine at various stages of development. The early olives are green, while the later, more mature olives are black. They taste very different, and black olives tend to have a more intense flavour. The fleshy pulp of the fruit is the source of olive oil. The whole fruit is available in a variety of guises: flavoured, stuffed, stoned or with stones, in oil or in brine, sliced or whole. It is used in cookery as a flavouring or garnish, an ingredient or as an hors d'oeuvre.
Olive Loaf
Cooked meat specialty -- Blend of lean pork and beef chopped to a fine texture, seasoned and mixed with whole, stuffed olives.
Olive Oil
Pressed from olives, a rich fruity oil used for frying (but not deep-frying), marinades, dressings and baking. The oil from the first pressing is pure, pale greenish-yellow in colour and is much prized. The pulp is then pressed again to yield more, darker, oil. Extra virgin indicates the first press of the olives and is not suitable for cooking, though oil from subsequent pressings is. Olive oil has many health-promoting properties.
Olla
Common Mexican pot which is tall and tapered inward on the top; it is shaped especially for cooking beans; stockpots and saucepans are good substitutes.
Onion
This underground bulb is related to leeks, garlic, and chives and is prized for its distinct, pungent flavor and aroma. There are two types: green ("scallions") and dry onions. The white-skinned onion has the mildest flavor of the onions.
Onion Salt
A mixture of onion powder and salt.
Ono
The Hawaiian name for "Wahoo," a marine fish whose flesh compares favorably with Albacore. It provides a moderate to high-fat flesh that is white and slightly sweet. In Hawaii, "Ono" means "sweet."
Opakapaka
Pink snapper. A Hawaiian favorite, especially around the holidays.
Opossum
A cat-sized marsupial with a prehensile tail native to the Southern and Midwestern U.S. Opossum, which has a flavor resembling young pig, can be prepared in the same manner suitable for a roast suckling pig.
Opuntia
Prickly pear cactus.
Orange
Citrus fruit from the orange tree. There are three major types of oranges: Sweet (Valencia, Mediterranean, and Navel), Loose-skinned (Mandarin, King), and Bitter (Seville, Bergamot). Bitter oranges are used in marmalades.
Orange blossom water (orange water)
Orange blossom extract can be found in fancier food shops. Common in the Middle East.
Orange roughy
A New Zealand area fish with lean, white flesh that is firm and mild. Also called "Slimeheads" (by fishermen--not by fish vendors). This popular fish can be poached, baked, broiled, or fried.
Oregano
A popular culinary herb of the mint family with a flavor similar to that of sweet marjoram or thyme. Also called "wild marjoram." Oregano is not quite as sweet and has a stronger flavor that marjoram.
Organic Food
Technically, anything that contains at least 1 atom of carbon. In common usage, "organic" refers to foods cultivated and processed without fertilizers, insecticides, artificial coloring, artificial flavorings, or additives.
Oriental Radish
This radish has a sweet flavor and a crisp, juicy white flesh. Used raw, in salads, in stir-fries, and as a garnish. Also called "daikon," meaning "big root" in Japanese.
Orientale
An Americaine sauce with added cream and curry powder.
Ortolans
Tiny game birds (buntings).
Orzo
Small rice shaped pasta.
Osso Buco
An Italian dish comprised of crosscut slices of the veal shank braised with vegetables, aromatics and stock. Milanese style is served with saffron risotto and gremolata.
Ouzo
Greek spirit flavoured with aniseed. Like French pastis, it turns cloudy when water is added and should be served with iced water.
Oven slide
Cookie sheet.
Overland trout
An old Western term for pigs and hogs; sometimes bacon.
Oxidized
Wine that has been in contact with air too long, causing it to darken and smell stale.
Oyster
A saltwater shellfish, invariably sold fresh. Can be steamed, grilled, poached or eaten raw.
Oyster mushroom
This fan-shaped mushroom is also known as "oyster caps" and "tree mushrooms" because it often grows on rotting tree trunks. This fungus is fairly robust and slightly peppery when raw, but is becomes much milder when cooked. Oyster mushrooms have a subtle flavour and are often used in Oriental cookery.
Oyster plant
Also known as "salsify," this biennial herb is cultivated for its root which is used as a vegetable. Its taste hints of a delicately flavored oyster. Can be found in the U.S. in Spanish, Italian, and Greek markets.
Oyster sauce
Classic cooking sauce from China. Also used in other Asian cuisines. Originally made from oysters, water and salt only, oyster sauce now contains added cornstarch and caramel color, to improve it's appearance and also to thicken liquids in stir-fries. Surprisingly it has no fishy taste. Found in large supermarkets and Oriental markets. Oyster sauce is a molasses-colored, reddish, dark brown sauce consisting of oysters, brine and soy sauce cooked until thick and concentrated.