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Dish Names That Make You Run in the Opposite Direction


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Stacking two plural forms--usually Italian and English--makes me stomp (not run) in the opposite direction. For example, 'Paninis' actually translates as 'rollses'. Not checking the accuracy and spelling on a menu just seems incredibly unprofessional (by now, the use of Italian and French is far from a novelty in the restaurant industry), and makes me suspicious of what else may be neglected by management/staff. How difficult is it to remember that Italian words never form a plural with an 's'?!

Michaela, aka "Mjx"
Manager, eG Forums
mscioscia@egstaff.org

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Agreed on vegan in general. However, vegan kimchi seems useful for people who avoid dead animals.

I had no idea shirimp and fish were regular ingredients in kimchi. I had always thought it was just cabbage, salt, and chili, but you prompted me to read the ingredients on the jar in my fridge, now I am enlightened. Thanks.

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Stacking two plural forms--usually Italian and English--makes me stomp (not run) in the opposite direction. For example, 'Paninis' actually translates as 'rollses'. Not checking the accuracy and spelling on a menu just seems incredibly unprofessional (by now, the use of Italian and French is far from a novelty in the restaurant industry), and makes me suspicious of what else may be neglected by management/staff. How difficult is it to remember that Italian words never form a plural with an 's'?!

This annoys me too, but I was thinking about it a lot recently and I sort of wondered at what point does the word become common enough in an English-speaking place that it can be considered an English (loan)word? I confess that even though I would readily nitpick about panini, I don't think I have ever ordered or heard anyone order "two cappucini"--"cappucinos" is a readily accepted plural form by all but the most hardcore. I've seen recipes in top-notch cookbooks by authors everyone here would respect if not adore, calling for "2 octopuses", and my best friend and I once had an hour+ discussion on the correct way to refer to multiples of a Toyota Matrix. Ever pulled out a single strand of Spaghetto to test for doneness?

Andy Arrington

Journeyman Drinksmith

Twitter--@LoneStarBarman

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Stacking two plural forms--usually Italian and English--makes me stomp (not run) in the opposite direction. . . .

This annoys me too, but I was thinking about it a lot recently and I sort of wondered at what point does the word become common enough in an English-speaking place that it can be considered an English (loan)word? I confess that even though I would readily nitpick about panini, I don't think I have ever ordered or heard anyone order "two cappucini"--"cappucinos" is a readily accepted plural form by all but the most hardcore. I've seen recipes in top-notch cookbooks by authors everyone here would respect if not adore, calling for "2 octopuses", and my best friend and I once had an hour+ discussion on the correct way to refer to multiples of a Toyota Matrix. Ever pulled out a single strand of Spaghetto to test for doneness?

Tsk: It's a single 'spaghetto', not a strand of it! :wink:

I can live with the loan word treatment/the use of the 's', it's the stacking of plurals that bothers me (at least when a cook book author or supposed restaurant professional does it). Seriously, I have no problem with 'espressos', but 'porcinis' makes me want to scream. Because I grew up bilingual, it's like hearing 'feets'; this is really hardwired into me. I'm equally aggravated by Italians doing fool things to English, by the way, and have the identical reaction to 'pinat bater' or 'rosbif' on menus in Italy.

Michaela, aka "Mjx"
Manager, eG Forums
mscioscia@egstaff.org

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Another language related thing that is really annoying is when the menu uses the right word for something in a different language, and then sticks a word in English in that duplicates it.

"Chai tea", "yoghurt lassi", "lentil dal"...you get the idea. Actually, I hate it full stop when I hear dal translated as lentil.

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Anything with "foam".

I realize that molecular gastronomy is THE thing right now and all the top resturants are using this technique to deliver flavor in a lighter-than-air medium. But when I see it on the plate I can't help but think of what my cat vomits up after eating fresh grass.

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I'll start.

Oven-fried chicken.

I think this was a misguided way to start. Oven-fried chicken is excellent; I defy you to try the recipe in Marcia Adams's Cooking in Quilt Country (ya know how you were looking for easy family dinners...). Agree with low-fat (add sugar-free), foam, and vegan. "Brined" (brining is for amateurs).

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. . . .

I think this was a misguided way to start. Oven-fried chicken is excellent; I defy you to try the recipe in Marcia Adams's Cooking in Quilt Country (ya know how you were looking for easy family dinners...). Agree with low-fat (add sugar-free), foam, and vegan. "Brined" (brining is for amateurs).

'Oven-fried chicken' may be a good dish, but the name is stupid (you can't fry in an oven), which I believe is the point.

Don't know what you've been brining, but it can really salvage a low-grade bird. You may say 'Fool, why get a low-grade bird?' To which I reply: 'AHA! Clearly, you've never had a (then) new boyfriend show up, beaming (most Danes adore bargains), with the gift of 3/DKK 99 chickens (about USD 15 at that time), which appear to have died of starvation at some point in their mid-teens.' I should add that they were also frozen like rocks. Anyway, I thawed one overnight in the refrigerator, and brined and roasted it the next day. It was one of the best chickens I'd ever had. A novice to brining, I thought that I must have grossly underestimated the quality of the chickens simply because they were small, emaciated, and freezer-burned in spots. So, I roasted another, but skipped the bringing. This one fully lived up to its depressing appearance. I've brined most on-the-bone poultry ever since.

Michaela, aka "Mjx"
Manager, eG Forums
mscioscia@egstaff.org

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There is a chain out here which offers the "Chocolate Stampede." To me, this sounds like violent gastro-intestinal distress. Truth in advertising: the dish resembles its own aftermath.

Similarly, Death by Chocolate holds little appeal for me. If I'm going to die, I want to be torn apart by wild bears; but you rarely see "Death by Wild Bears" on a restaurant menu.

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I've seen recipes in top-notch cookbooks by authors everyone here would respect if not adore, calling for "2 octopuses"

Octopuses is perfectly correct and is the widely used and accepted plural form of the word octopus, even in scientific circles. While octopode is certainly the technically correct plural, it's considered pedantic and isn't really used. Octopi stems from the mistaken assumptiom that octopus is a latin noun in which -us takes the plural form -i. Octopus is actually ancient greek. Hence octopuses. If it were latin, it would be octopedes.

There endeth the annoying grammer lesson :smile:

Don't try to win over the haters. You're not the jackass whisperer."

Scott Stratten

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I've seen recipes in top-notch cookbooks by authors everyone here would respect if not adore, calling for "2 octopuses"

Octopuses is perfectly correct and is the widely used and accepted plural form of the word octopus, even in scientific circles. While octopode is certainly the technically correct plural, it's considered pedantic and isn't really used. Octopi stems from the mistaken assumptiom that octopus is a latin noun in which -us takes the plural form -i. Octopus is actually ancient greek. Hence octopuses. If it were latin, it would be octopedes.

There endeth the annoying grammer lesson :smile:

If only there were a way to convert that knowledge into an annoying grammar joke. Those are my favorite.

Andy Arrington

Journeyman Drinksmith

Twitter--@LoneStarBarman

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Hereis my list of stop words for recipe names in cookbooks in particular, but also were these words to be used as part of a dish's name on a restaurant menu. These are not in any particlar order, but if I see them, I ignore the cookbook or bypass the restaurant:

creamy,(usually means includes mayonnaise or some ersatz cream product but not real cream) gourmet, seasoned, spicy (this is a used as a warning for the spice phobic and usually means a pitiful sprinkling of some inoffensive spice), healthy, fluffy, easy, best, yummy, tasty, tangy, light or lite, wholesome, hearty, all American (you never hear of All French or All Thai or All Indian), cheesy, herbed (usually means treated with an unfortunate combination of dried herbs), yummy, and anything preceded by a personal name such as Mary's pad thai, or Billie's jello surprise, updated (usually applied to a classic recipe which has includes a delicious fat such as spaghetti carbonara. An "updated" version would be fat free and tasteless), slather (a favourite word used by one cookbook writer who somehow felt that using the actual name of the dish would confuse people).

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There is a chain out here which offers the "Chocolate Stampede." To me, this sounds like violent gastro-intestinal distress. Truth in advertising: the dish resembles its own aftermath.

Similarly, Death by Chocolate holds little appeal for me. If I'm going to die, I want to be torn apart by wild bears; but you rarely see "Death by Wild Bears" on a restaurant menu.

Whenever I hear Death By Chocolate I think of the poor guy who died by accidentally falling into a vat of hot melted chocolate here in a Jersey manufacturing plant. It couldn't have been very pleasant.

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Anything with the phrase "World-Famous". I have never heard of your world-famous restaurant/cafe/bakery, and I certainly have never heard of your world-famous soup/burger/cookie/whatever.

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Octopuses is perfectly correct and is the widely used and accepted plural form of the word octopus, even in scientific circles. While octopode is certainly the technically correct plural...

actually, "octopodes".

ha! I can be even more pedantic and annoying! :wink:

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Foams/froths work fine and to good effect if used sparingly in certain dishes by a good cook. Foam works good on a Cappucino as well :-). Brining is another technique that can get misused, but top chefs use it and home cooks do as well. Point is, any technique can produce horrible food in the wrong hands.

As for menu items that drive me nuts

- Aforementioned "World-Famous" description. No! your stupid fajitas are not world-famous. They are barely famous on this block.

- Molten Chocolate Cake. Arghhh.

- Black Angus Beef (like Black Angus Ribeye). Is that really something to tout in this day and age? Burger King has Black Angus burgers for heaven's sake.

- Tiryaki glazed Salmon (or chicken)

I'm sure I'll think of more soon.

E. Nassar
Houston, TX

My Blog
contact: enassar(AT)gmail(DOT)com

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I've seen recipes in top-notch cookbooks by authors everyone here would respect if not adore, calling for "2 octopuses"

Octopuses is perfectly correct and is the widely used and accepted plural form of the word octopus, even in scientific circles. While octopode is certainly the technically correct plural, it's considered pedantic and isn't really used. Octopi stems from the mistaken assumptiom that octopus is a latin noun in which -us takes the plural form -i. Octopus is actually ancient greek. Hence octopuses. If it were latin, it would be octopedes.

There endeth the annoying grammer lesson :smile:

I think I love you.

"You dont know everything in the world! You just know how to read!" -an ah-hah! moment for 6-yr old Miss O.

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