Although there are hundreds of cooking terms, I have narrowed down the basics.  Nothing makes you sound cooler than using the word “blanch” at a party.

Boil–Using water that is aggressively bubbling to cook food.

Blanch–Placing vegetables in rigorous boiling water for up to one minute, normally followed by shocking. The goal is to pre-cook vegetables to help them retain their texture and color.

Braise–A two-step process in which first you sear the ingredient and then cover it halfway with liquid and cook at a low temperature.

Caramelize–To cook ingredients in a well-heated pan with the goal of releasing sugars naturally found inside; creates a brown color.

Chop/diceCut with a knife.

Deep fry–Submerging food in oil or fat to cook it.

Large dice/Rough chop–Chopping to the size of¾ inch × ¾ inch × ¾ inch.

Medium dice–Chopping into the size of ½ inch × ½ inch × ½ inch.

Pan fry–Using oil or fat to cook food.

Saute–Move ingredients around in a well-heated pan.

Sear–Place an ingredient in an extremely hot pan with the goal of creating color and locking in moisture.

Shocking–Immediately dipping blanched ingredients into ice water. If ice is not available, alternatively blanched ingredients can be run under cold water.

Small dice–Chopping to the size of ¼ inch × ¼ inch × ¼ inch.

Roast–Using circulating dry heat to cook food.

Reduce–To simmer a liquid until about half of it evaporates with the goal of increasing depth of flavor and perhaps thickness. Usually used for making sauce.

Simmer–Using water that is gently bubbling to cook food.