April 23, 2012
By Holly Jennings

If you’ve ever sealed a bit of leftover food by pressing a piece of plastic wrap directly onto its surface, but didn’t have a fancy name for this practice, you now have one: cartouche. That, at least, is how David Thompson, author of the most recent DCCC pick Thai Food, uses  this term. (He recommends storing leftover curry paste this way.)


The word cartouche, which can be used as a noun and a verb, is, in the cooking world, most commonly used to describe a piece of round parchment paper that chefs place over a sauce or gravy to keep a skin from forming.


As a home cook, I like its application to the more mundane and everyday practice of food storage as it gives me more opportunties to use it. Without knowing it, I’ve been cartouching for quite a while to keep foods as fresh as possible, and to keep them from turning color (guacamole, for example, benefits from this practice), and now I have a name for it.


Note: This is the first posting in “Words,” a new category I’ve created for the DCCC blog.  This is where I will share cooking terms, or unusual uses of cooking terms, or a particularly enjoyable or original turn of phrase that I’ve discovered while reading a DCCC cookbook, or ancillary reading material.