In this appendix, we list all kinds of ingredients to substitute for those you may not have on hand; we also decode the most common cooking abbreviations and give you a list of English to metric equivalencies.
Say that you’re making a vinaigrette dressing for a salad and suddenly realize that you’re out of vinegar. But you do have lemons. Can you use them? (Yes!) You may not have whole milk for a gratin dish, but you do have skim milk. Is skim milk okay? (Yes, but the taste won’t be as rich.) Situations like these are what this section is all about.
Some ingredients are almost always interchangeable. For example, you can substitute vegetable or olive oil in most cases for butter when sautéing or pan-frying; lemon juice for vinegar in salad dressings and marinades; almonds for walnuts in baked breads and muffins; vegetable stock for beef or chicken stock in soups, stews, or sauces; and light cream or even whole milk for half-and-half in almost anything.
Sometimes the substitution must be very exact. This is most often the case for baked goods, where you need to follow a formula for a cake, soufflé, pastry, or bread with the perfect height, density, and texture.
Here are some reliable substitutions for thickening soups, stews, and sauces: