Culinary Dictionary -L-

Label allowance (food industry term):An allowance given to a distributor by a packer when the distributor supplies their own labels to that packer. The allowance is usually granted for private label processed foods packed for the distributor.
Label gun (food industry term):A tool used to price merchandise.
Label peeler (food industry term):A device used to remove price labels from merchandise when repricing due to a price change.
Labor (food industry term):All employees except managers that work at a retail store or distribution center.
Labor scheduling software (food industry term):A computer software program that creates weekly work schedules for employees and departments. The software program inputs company parameters such as vacation, holidays, work availability, hours of operation, peak sales periods, etc.
Lachs:[German] salmon
Lacing (food industry term):A shelf display of overlapped, bagged products to form an attractive arrangement.
Ladle:1. To move portions of a food using a ladle. 2. A utensil with a cup-like bowl and a long hooked or pierced handle used to pour sauces and liquids.
Ladyfingers:Known in Italy as “savoiardi.” Sweet, light, delicate sponge cake roughly shaped like a rather large, fat finger. It’s used as an accompaniment to ice cream, puddings and other desserts. Ladyfingers are also employed as an integral part of some desserts, including Charlottes. Ladyfingers can be made at home or purchased in bakeries or supermarkets.”

According to the Parisian cooking school, Le Cordon Bleu, leftover sponge cake, brioche, or genoise cake may be used in place of ladyfingers. They advise cooks to be careful, for ladyfinger batter is very fragile. They recommend folding the flour and yolks in very carefully into the meringue so that the whites don’t lose their volume.

Ladyfingers may be stored up to a week in an airtight container. They may also be frozen to extend their useful life.
Lagniappe:An old Creole word for “something extra.” Soup meat is the lagniappe from vegetable soup preparation.
Lait, au:Food prepared with milk.
Lait:(French) Milk.
Lake herring:One of the most prized whitefish found in the Great Lakes and in Canada. May be prepared in any manner suitable for salmon. Also called “cisco” and “chub.”
Lamb, Yearling:The meat of a sheep slaughtered when less than 1 year old.
Lamb:A sheep under 1 year old. “Baby lamb” in slaughtered at between 6:
Lamington tin:[Australia] 13 x 9 x 2-inch baking pan.
Lan (food industry term):Local area network.
Land cress:Land cress, curly cress, broadleaf cress and upland cress are all quick-growing, delicate textured greens that have the sharp, peppery flavor of watercress. Great in salads and sandwiches or paired with delicate vegetables such as beets or potatoes.
Langostino:The Spanish word for “prawn.”
Langouste:[French] spiny lobster, differentiating from Maine lobsters in that they have no claws. Langoustes are warm water crustaceans that can be found in the south Atlantic Ocean, the Mediterranean Sea and off the coasts of South America, Australia and the West Indies.
Langoustine:[French] Dublin prawn. These are small pink crustaceans resembling crayfish, with a taste and texture closest to lobster. Their claws are quite long but have no edible meat in them. Like the langouste, these are found in warm waters.
Langue de chat:[French] Flat, finger-shaped, crisp biscuit or cookie served with cold desserts.
Langue:[French] tongue
Lapin:[French] rabbit
Lard:The fat separated from the fatty tissue of pork. It has a characteristic nutty flavor, and is usually white in color. Often used in pie crusts, biscuits and other baked goods. The mainstay of AmeriMex cooking. Used in making tamales. Also, to cover with strips of fat, or to insert fat strips into meat with a larding needle.
Larding or Larder:To insert strips of fat into pieces of meat, so that the cooked meat stays moist and juicy.
Larding:To introduce fat to lean meat by threading slivers of bacon or salt pork through it. Or to thread vegetables into the meat. Larding with vegetables gives the meat a contrast of color plus the addition of flavor. This practice is not used as often now because of the higher quality of meat available.
Lardons:Strips of fat, bacon or salt pork for larding meat; inserted in lean meats to add flavor.
Larrup:molasses; also called blackstrap.
Lasagna, Lasagne:Sheets of pasta which are layered with sauce and cheese and baked au gratin. Meat, fish, shellfish and vegetables are all used as fillings for this dish.
Lasagna:1. Wide, flat Italian pasta sheets with ruffled or smooth edges. 2. An Italian dish made with boiled lasagna layered with ricotta and mozzarella cheese, meats and/or vegetables and topped with a tomato or meat sauce and baked.
Lassi:[Indian] A frothy yogurt drink, sweet or salty, flavored with pistachios, cardamom, cumin or rose water.
Last in, first out (lifo) (food industry term):The most recently acquired product is the first sold.
Lattice topping:A topping consisting of strips of dough crisscrossed atop a pie.
Laurel:Tree on which bay leaves are grown; used as a seasoning in many dishes, the leaves should always be removed before serving.
Lavender:This aromatic relative of the mint plant is often used to make herb tea.
Layer (food industry term):A row of similar products stacked on a pallet or shelf.
Layer quantity (food industry term):The number of similar product cases used to make a pallet layer.
Layer-loaded unit load (food industry term):A pallet loaded with different layers of products.
Layout (food industry term):See store layout.
Layover (food industry term):A shelf-stocking technique that displays the top of a product to customers.
Lci (food industry term):Learner-controlled instruction.
Lcl (food industry term):Less-than-carload.
Lead time (food industry term):The time between an order and a delivery.
Lean:The FDA approved food labeling term used to describe meat, poultry, game, fish or shellfish that contains less than 10 grams of fat, less than 4 grams of saturated fat, and 95 mg of cholesterol per serving or per 100 grams.
Learner-controlled instruction (lci) (food industry term):A self-paced, training method.
Lease-back (food industry term):A process of financing a building; then selling it to an outside company and paying rent. Options and protective clauses apply to the tenant.
Leased department (food industry term):A retail department that is leased to, and operated by, a separate company. Also known as a franchised department.
Leased inventory (food industry term):An accounting method used to finance the opening inventory of a new retail store. Product is leased to the operator and secured by the wholesaler’s lien on daily cash receipts.
Leased line (food industry term):A dedicated, private telephone line used for data transmission.
Leaven (food industry term):A substance, such as yeast, used to produce fermentation in dough to cause it to rise or lighten.
Leaven:To insert gas into a dough or batter by adding an ingredient, such as yeast, baking powder or baking soda, causing it to expand, or rise, lightening the texture of the baked product.
Leavening agent:An ingredient that causes dough or batter to rise, lightening its texture and increasing its volume, such as beaten eggs or egg whites, baking powder, baking soda and yeast.
Leavening:Process of producing gas in a dough or batter. Agents such as baking soda, baking powder and yeast that are used to lighten the texture and increase the volume of baked goods with the production of carbon dioxide. Eggs also are leavening agents. In earlier days, leavening agents were called “lifters.”
Leber:[German] liver
Lebkuchen:A thick, cake-like German cookie made with honey, spices, citron and ground almonds. The dough is often cut into shapes or baked in decorative molds, then topped with a hard confectioner’s sugar glaze.
Leche de cabra:[Spanish] goat’s milk.
Leche de coco:[Spanish] coconut milk.
Leche quemada:[Spanish] burned milk.
Leche:[Spanish] milk
Lechuga:[Spanish] lettuce.
Leek:Has a thick, cylindrical white stalk with a slightly bulbous root end and dark green leaves. The tender, white stalk has a flavor that is sweeter and stronger than a scallion but milder than an onion.
Leeks:Leeks look like very large green onions (scallion) in the produce section. The leek is related to both garlic and the onion even though its flavor and fragrance are milder and more subtle. Because they are so sweet, leeks are often cooked and served as a side vegetable. Wash carefully to remove the dirt between the layers. Look for leeks with lots of white.
Lefse:[Norwegian] A thin, flat potato pancake, about the consistency of a tortilla and cooked by similar method. Very mild, starchy, slightly sweet taste. Lefse is enhanced by the addition of peanut butter, brown sugar or lutefisk.
Legumes:Plant species that have seed pods that split along both sides when ripe. Some edible legumes are beans, lentils, peas, etc.
Legumes:[French] vegetables; plants with seed pods, such as peas and beans. Seeds of a legume are most often soaked and used in soups, stews and baked dishes.
Lekvar:a Hungarian-style fruit puree, usually made from dried plums or apricots cooked with sugar to make a smooth, thick fruit filling. Lekvar is used in hamantaschen, Danish pastries, and sweet yeast breads.
Lemon Grass:Light green stalks with a citrus flavor and scent used in Thai and other Asian cuisines for flavoring.
Lemon grass:Pale green stalk about 18 inches long, resembling a scallion or green onion. While not related to a lemon, it imparts a flavor much like the fruit. Found in Asian markets and some supermarkets.
Lemon sole:A small flat fish resembling sole or flounder.
Lemon verbena:Fragrant, sweet, lemony herb that makes a good tea and adds delicate flavor to custards and similar desserts.
Lemon zest:The outer part of the lemon skin (yellow part of the peel only), grated fine and used as a flavoring agent or garnish.
Lemon:A citrus fruit with a bright yellow pitted skin, juicy flesh and a very tart, sour flavor.
Lemon:The most useful of all fruits in European cooking (the lime being the most useful in Asian and tropical cooking), the lemon adds mild, flavorful acid to dishes.
Lengua:[Spanish] tongue.
Lenteja:[Spanish] lentil.
Lentils:A legume with small flat seeds used in soups and stews.
Lentils:Flat and round, lentils are the fastest cooking of all dried beans. The three major varieties are Le Puy, the most intensely flavored lentil; common green or brown lentils; and yellow or red lentils, which are popular in Indian cooking– particularly Dal.
Letter of authority (food industry term):An agreement for a wholesaler to order, deliver and bill promotional products to a retailer. See automatic distribution.
Letter of intent (food industry term):A legal promise to perform some activity at a future date in return for money received beforehand.
Lettuce:Any of a variety of plants of the genus Lactuca grown worldwide. Lettuce leaves are consumed fresh in salads or used as a garnish. There are three principal types of lettuces: butterhead, crisp head (iceberg) and leaf.
Levadura:[Spanish] yeast.
Liabilities, current (food industry term):Money or obligations owed to other companies or individuals, which must be paid in a year or less.
Liability (food industry term):A debt owed by a business to creditors.
Liability policy (food industry term):A manufacturer’s or wholesaler’s insurance policy to cover legal expenses in case a customer or retailer sues.
Liaison:A mixture of cream and egg yolks used to thicken and enrich soups and sauces.
Liaison:The process of thickening a sauce, soup or stew. This includes all rouxs, starch and water mixtures (slurries), beurre marni and egg yolks with or without cream. Egg yolks must be tempered with hot liquid before adding to the liquid in order to prevent curdling.
Library (food industry term):A storage/retrieval site in a computer program
License plate (food industry term):An identity label assigned to a container making that container unique from any other container. Typically used for tracking unit loads, but may be used on cases and trailers.
Lick:molasses; also called blackstrap or larrup.
Licuadora:[Spanish] electric blender.
Lien (food industry term):A legal claim upon real or personal property to satisfy a debt or obligation; a mortgage.
Lifo (food industry term):Last in, first out.
Light:FDA term used to define food that has 33 percent fewer calories, 50 percent less fat, or 50 percent less sodium than the regularly used food.
Lighter Bake:made by Sunsweet: a 100% fat- and cholesterol-free baking ingredient that replaces butter, margarine, oil or shortening in scratch recipes and packaged mixes. Made from a blend of dried plums and apples, this new fat “imposter” creates moist, chewy baked goods that are lower in fat. Lighter Bake is located in the cooking oil or baking ingredients section of supermarkets nationwide.
Lightnin’ bread:Quick breads leavened with baking soda or baking powder.
Liguria Olive:An Italian salt-brine-cured black olive with a strong flavor; sometimes packed with stems.
Lily buds:[Chinese] Also known as tiger lily buds or golden needles. Dried day lily buds that are nutritious and sweet.
Lima agria:[Spanish] Bitter lime used in Yucatan.
Lima Beans:There are two common varieties of lima beans: the Fordhook and the baby (also called sieva). The pale green bodies of both varieties have a slight kidney-shaped curve. The Fordhook is larger and plumper than the baby lima. Limas can be used as a side dish, in soups and in the traditional dish succotash.
Lima beans:Flat, green-tinged beans (called butter beans in the South), which can be parboiled and buttered or used in stews and soups.
Lima:[Spanish] lime.
Limburger Cheese:An extremely strong-smelling, semihard, fermented cheese first made in Limburg, Belgium, but now more commonly produced in Germany. Limburger has a yellow to reddish-brown rind, a yellow interior and a paste-like consistency.
Lime:A small ovoid citrus fruit with a thin, pitted, green skin. Limes have juicy, pale green pulp and a very tart flavor.
Lime:Stronger and less fragrant than the lemon. Its juice can be used instead of lemon in almost every instance. The zest of the lime is as useful as lemon zest.
Limited assortment store (food industry term):Food stores restricted in size, services, fixtures and variety in order to reduce operating costs and sell goods at the lowest possible prices. Also known as box stores, no-frills stores.
Limited distribution (food industry term):An introductory offer on a new national or branded product introduced in a specific geographic area.
Limon:[Spanish] Lemon; in Mexico it usually refers to the small tart Mexican lime.
Limoncello:[Italian] Lemon liqueur; a digestif made only in Italy along the Amalfi Coast and on the islands of Ischia and Capri. It is pronounced lee-moan-chello.
Limones:[Spanish] Limes.
Limousin Beef:A breed of cattle which is naturally lower in fat and cholesterol. These cattle were brought to the United States from France around 1930.
Line number (food industry term):A manufacturer’s processing key that identifies a product and its pack size.
Line of credit (food industry term):The amount of money that a company may borrow from a bank..
Linear shelf feet (running feet) (food industry term):The length of a shelf or shelves upon which a product or product group is displayed.
Lingcod:A North American Pacific coast fish with a mildly sweet flavor and a firm, lean texture.
Linguine:Long, narrow, moderately thick strands of pasta.
Linguine:Long, oval-shaped pasta noodles. Hand cut versions of this are very narrow flat noodles.
Linzertorte:An Austrian pastry comprised of a short crust dough flavored with ground almonds and hazelnuts, cinnamon, and lemon zest. This is then spread with raspberry jam and topped with a cross-hatch of dough. Almond paste is sometimes layered underneath the raspberry jam. Other versions of this use fresh cranberries or apricots in the filling.
Liquados:[Spanish] Fresh fruit drinks.
Liqueur:A sweet, aromatic alcoholic drink typically served after a meal. Liqueurs are often used as flavorings in baked desserts and dessert sauces.
Liqueur:Sweet alcoholic beverages flavored with fruits, herbs or spices, usually served after dinner. Some, such as Amaretto and Grand Marnier, are useful as flavorings in desserts.
Liquid measure:A clear, hard, plastic or glass cup with a lip for pouring. The cup is usually a pint or quart measuring tool marked with lines to measure liquid ingredients in home baking. It will have lines to mark ounces, milliliters, and 1/8, ?, 1/3, ½, 2/3, ? and 1 cup or more. Liquid ingredients should be measured in this cup, with the cup placed on a flat surface for accuracy in home baking.
Liquid Smoke:Find in the condiment section of supermarkets.
List price (food industry term):The price at which items are listed for sale before discounts or allowances.
Listing (food industry term):One line about a product in a retailer’s newspaper ad.
Listing allowance (food industry term):Money that a manufacturer/wholesaler gives a retailer to advertise a product.
Litchi, Lychee:A small fruit from China and the West Indies, with a hard shell and sweet, juicy flesh. The flesh is white with a gelatinous texture and a musky, perfumed flavour.
Littleneck clams:There are essentially two types of clams: the softshell (or steamer) and the hardshell (or quahog). Littlenecks are the smallest of the hardshells.
Liver:This nutritious organ meat filters toxins from the blood. Select the youngest liver you can find. Poultry generally offers the mildest flavored and most tender livers; pork has the strongest and toughest liver of those commonly available.
Liverwurst:German for “liver sausage.” Liverwurst is a ready:to:eat sausage of at least 30% ground pork liver plus other meats combined with spices and seasonings. The most famous liverwurst is called “Braunschweiger.”
Livornaise:A sauce made with olive oil, egg yolks and anchovy paste.
Lo Mein:1. A dish consisting meat and poultry with water chestnuts, bamboo shoots, green onions, mushrooms and Chinese egg noodles. 2. Fresh Chinese egg noodles.
Load strap (food industry term):A restraint in a cargo vehicle used to secure product during shipment.
Loading sheet (food industry term):A shipping list of all products in a railcar or truck trailer.
Loaf cheese (food industry term):A long, rectangle of uncut cheese.
Loaf Pan:A deep rectangular baking pan available in various sizes; used for baking breads, cakes and meatloaf.
Lobster mushroom:A wild mushroom that has a firm texture and a red and orange color like lobster shells.
Lobster:This crustacean was used as bait until around 1880. Because dead lobsters spoil quickly, they should be cooked live if possible. (Live lobsters curl their tails under when picked up.) Look for curled tails on precooked lobsters.
Lobster:Any of several varieties of saltwater crustaceans; with a long jointed body, large tail and front claws, and legs surrounded by a reddish-brown or blue-black shell which turns bright red when cooked. The firm white meat has a rich, sweet flavor.
Lobster:Lobster is available in many forms: frozen, canned, and as fresh cooked meat. But for “live lobster” the most crucial part of preparing lobster is in the purchase. Be sure to chose a freshly caught, lively one, that flips its tail and legs about in and out of the water, and one with a rock-hard shell if possible. A 2 1/4 to 2 1/2 pound live lobster will serve one person amply and, if prepared with a stuffing or crumb topping, two persons.
Local area network(lan) (food industry term):A small, computer network of terminals and processors.
Lockout (food industry term):An agreement between competing companies to close during a strike, or an arbitrary suspension of operations during a contract dispute with a union.
Loganberries:Possibly a raspberry-blackberry hybrid, this berry is juicy, sweet and tart. Plump, purple-red loganberries can be used to make jams and preserves.
Logistics (food industry term):Activities associated with the procurement, warehousing and transportation of goods for sale.
Lomo de puerco:[Spanish] pork loin.
London broil:A flank steak that has been cut into large pieces, tenderized by marinating, broiled or grilled, then sliced into thin strips across the grain before it is served.
London broil:See “Flank steak.”
Longhorn cheese:Mild Cheddar cheese produced in the United States; any mild Cheddar can be substituted.
Loose-loaded (food industry term):A shipping practice of loading and unloading products by hand on a trailer. Also known as a dead-pile loaded; floor-loaded; loose-case-loaded.
Lop Chong:[Chinese] sweet pork sausage. Find in any Oriental market.
Loquat:A small pear-shaped fruit native to China, though also known as a Japanese medlar or Japanese plum; has yellowish-orange skin and juicy flesh.
Loss leader (food industry term):An item sold with little, if any, markup, or at a loss, to attract shoppers. See giveaway.
Lotte:This large low:fat, firm:textured salt:water fish has a mild, sweet flavor that compares with lobster. Sometimes referred to as “poor man’s lobster.” Also called “angler fish,” “monkfish,” and “goosefish.”
Lotus leaves, dried:Very large leaves that, after reconstituting, can be used as wrappers in Asian cuisine.
Lovage:A large, celery-like herb with a thick stalk and a lemony, musky, celery-like flavor.
Low Calorie:A food containing 40 calories or less per serving.
Low Cholesterol:A food containing 20 milligrams or less of saturated fat and 2 grams or less of saturated fat per serving.
Low Fat, Low-fat:A food containing 3 grams of fat or less per serving.
Low Saturated Fat:A food containing 1 gram of fat or less per serving and not more than 15 percent of its calories from saturated fatty acids.
Low Sodium:A food containing 140 milligrams or less per serving.
Low-temp (food industry term):A refrigerator that holds product at a below-freezing temperature, 32 degrees F or less.
Lox:Very thinly sliced brine-cured, cold-smoked salmon; slightly saltier than other forms of smoked salmon.
Lox:Smoked, oiled salmon.
Loyalty marketing/cards (food industry term):Customers’ plastic store cards used to reward frequent shoppers and to collect data on purchasing habits.
Lp (food industry term):Liability policy.
Ltl (food industry term):Less-than-truckload
Lug (food industry term):A gray, plastic tub used to transport and store products.
Lugano Olive:Italian black olive, sometimes packed with olive leaves; usually very salty.
Lumache:Italian term for snails; describes large pasta shells designed for stuffing.
Lumpers (food industry term):Temporary employees of motor carriers, shippers or receivers, hired to load or unload trucks.
Lumpia:Very like a large egg roll wrappers. Find frozen in Filipino and Asian markets.
Lutefisk:[Norwegian] fish dish of dried cod, cured in lye, then reconstituted by boiling. Traditionally served with clarified butter or in white sauce and served with lefse. In its finest form, lutefisk has a delicately mild buttery flavor and flaky consistency. In its not-so-fine form, it is reminiscent of fish-flavored gelatin.
Lychee:A small fruit from China and the West Indies, with a hard shell and sweet, juicy flesh. The flesh is white with a gelatinous texture and a musky, perfumed flavor.
Lyle’s Golden Syrup:[Great Britain] Light Karo syrup is the U.S. equivalent.
Lyonnaise Potatoes:A French side dish of sliced potatoes sauteed with onions.
Lyonnaise Sauce:A classic French sauce preparation made with sauteed onions, white wine and demi-glace. The sauce is strained before being served with meats and sometime poultry.
Lyonnaise:[French] In the Lyons style, traditionally with onions.