From Webster's dictionary:
Main Entry: 1boil
Etymology: Middle English, from Anglo-French buillir, boillir,
from Latin bullire
to bubble, from bulla
Date: 13th century
intransitive verb 1 a :
to come to the boiling point b :
to generate bubbles of vapor when heated —used of a liquid c :
to cook in boiling water
to become agitated : seethe
to be moved, excited, or stirred up
4 a :
to rush headlong b :
to burst forth
to undergo the action of a boiling liquidtransitive verb 1 :
to subject to the action of a boiling liquid
to heat to the boiling point
to form or separate (as sugar or salt) by boiling
Main Entry: 1poach
Function: transitive verb
Etymology: Middle English pocchen,
from Middle French pocher,
from Old French poché
poached, literally, bagged, from poche
bag, pocket — more at pouch
Date: 15th century
Main Entry: 1sim·mer
Inflected Form(s): sim·mered
Etymology: alteration of English dial. simper,
from Middle English simperen,
of imitative origin
intransitive verb 1 :
to stew gently below or just at the boiling poin
And so we see by the above accepted standard definitions, to simmer is to cook something in water at just below, or at the boiling point.
Typically, in cooking terminology, the noun form of simmer is synonomous with - gentle boil - while boil in either noun of verb form are used to describe a medium boil. Hard and rapid boil are the same thing.
Another interesting term is coddled, as in coddled egg. This is where an egg in placed in water exceeding 175 F, but less than 212 F. The water is hot enough to set the egg white and yolk, but doesn't move. This allows the coddled egg to retain cohesive rather than breaking apart from moving water. It could be said that the egg strands in egg-crop soup are a form of coddled egg.
It is also interesting to note that meat that is boiled, or even simmered can dry out from overcooking, while poaching the meat in temperatures not exceeding 160' will cook, but not dry out the meat. If the meat is placed into an air-tight evacuated plastic bag, and immersed in water between 145 and 160' F., this is called sou-vide and is a great way to create a tender product. Unfortunately, you won't get any browning, and the rich flavor that the browning imparts to the meat.
I do tend to go on sometimes. I think I'll go to another thread now.
Seeeeeeya; Goodweed of the North