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What does "shiver" mean?

What do you mean when you use the term "shiver"?...You have used it in some of your recipes such as letting the water come to a "shiver." Does this mean boil?

Dr. Gourmet Says...

several copper pans and saucepans hanging from a rack

Julia Child, in her book From Julia Child's Kitchen, defines seven stages of heating water. Other authors have given other definitions but most are similar to these.

1. Tepid: 85 to 105 degrees.

2. Warm: 115 to 120 degrees.

3. Hot: 130 to 135 degrees.

4. Poach: 180 to 190 degrees. This is the point at which the water starts to move. Julia Child calls this stage a "shiver," while James Beard referred to it as "feeble ebullition." This is the stage to blanch at.

5. Simmer: 190 to 200 degrees. Bubbles start to show in the water. This is the point at which most stews are cooked and at which braising is done.

6. Slow boil: 205 degrees. There are slow rising bubbles forming.

7. The real boil, full boil or rolling boil: To heat a liquid to its boiling point (in the case of water this is 212° F) until bubbles break the surface. "Boil" also means to cook food in a boiling liquid.

I prefer James Beard's term because it is so elegant, but it's not as easy in a recipe to say "heat the water until it is feebly ebullating."

Thanks for writing,

Eat well, eat healthy, enjoy life!

Timothy S. Harlan, MD, FACP
Dr. Gourmet