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Oxford Companion to Food

Oxford Companion to Food

By Alan Davidson

Published 2014

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stock Theodora FitzGibbon (1976) gives a characteristically clear account of stock: ‘The word covers many culinary preparations, but generally speaking a stock is the liquid extracted from fish, meat, poultry or vegetables by slow cooking with water, or wine and water.’ In classic French cookery, stock is one of the fonds de cuisine, an essential foundation. Among the others are brine (see salting), marinade, mirepoix, fumet, and court bouillon. The French well describes its importance to the whole culinary superstructure of today. With meat stocks, there are the white and the brown. The second has had its ingredients browned in fat before the addition of water. Beyond Europe, Japanese cookery also depends on stocks: see dashi. Modern stocks are often lighter than they were, more quickly cooked. Indeed some chefs prefer water as a foundation to many sauces. The invention of the bottled essence or the stock cube transformed the relationship of many domestic cooks to the stockpot, and this changed relationship is not restricted to home cooks; chefs, too, have increasingly relied on manufactured stocks. See also glace (de viande); gravy.