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More Food Terms We Loathe/Misuse


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This continues the grousing and griping of Food Terms We Loathe/Misuse.

 

 

 

I could do without "tuck in."

It's as if eating were some arduous process like trench warfare--"and then after another whimsical amuse bouche, we began to tuck into our prime rib in earnest." Are people who "tuck in" tucking the food into their faces or tucking themselves into their food? They might as well say, "and then we began to make a revolting spectacle of ourselves with regard to our meal."

Edited by Mjx
Note added. (log)
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PROTEIN. Does that include pork belly? How about tofu? This is a very lazy word used to denote the flesh of mammals, fowl and fish, and I'll be pleased when it passes. Why not call them water, the most abundant component of flesh?

YUMMO. I'll add my ditto to this stinker, but then consider the source, the Sarah Palin of food.

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A recent irritant: Can we please stop describing every foodstuff that's battered and deep-fried as "tempura fried" or "tempura battered"? Unless, of course, it is. Too often, the batter on so-called "tempura-fried" items is soft and spongy, bearing no resemblance at all to tempura batter, which should be thin and crispy!

Matthew Kayahara

Kayahara.ca

@mtkayahara

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I nominate "mains" used in lieu of "entrees," especially when paired with the verb "do." As in "for mains, we did the fish special and the pork tenderloin." Most unfortunate language!

On the other hand, I've never understood how the word "entree" (French for "appetizer") came to mean the main course in English! It just makes no etymological sense. I find "main course" far preferable.

Matthew Kayahara

Kayahara.ca

@mtkayahara

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Fusion is Confusion...

This in itself has become an outrageously overused cliche. How many people have said those exact words over the years? Good grief, Ducasse?

You think that was a bold new statement?

Food is food and good is good. Will you tell the three star chef in Paris who serves langoustines with curry sauce and a sesame tuille that his dish is actually no good as it crosses too many cultural boundaries? What about Mr Ducasse and his highly respectful renditions of `curry sauce'?

Do you think you'd like to sit down and discuss with Pierre Gagnaire why he's on the wrong track by utilizing ingredients from different cultures in the same dish?

How many food cultures are created from the combination of different races? Malaysia, Singapore?

Bad food is Bad food. Anne Sophie Pic said `Everything goes with everything', it just depends on the talent of the chef to get the right balance and combinations.

Don't blame the dish/genre/style, blame the chef.

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  • 1 month later...

I kind of cringe when food is referred to as "brilliant" ...how can a food be brilliant it does not think or create it self..call me brilliant if you want but not the food! ...or "sublime" I have seen that word used so many times but can not wrap my brain around how this can make me want to eat something ..if you look at what the word means it just does not inspire me to try something because my mind can not feel how the word sublime and food relate...

If you think of the word brilliant in it's original meaning of shining (as in a brilliant star) then it makes sense. It's still a metaphor, I suppose, unless the food is actually on fire (or reflective) but not something to get worked up about.

I think people call canned tuna "tuna fish" because it is so far removed from the flavor of fresh tuna as to need some clarification regarding what type of beast is being consumed. gak. Particularly relevant in places where tuna is not a native species.

Local is a tricky one I think. I have worked in places where produce was implied to be or labelled as "local" because it came from within the state borders. That might be ok in some parts of the country, but when some of the produce is coming from the Panhandle and some of it from the [Rio Grande] Valley, it's kind of pointless--I mean in Europe you'd be getting those items from different countries if they were produced that far apart. So I guess since the word has no fixed meaning it is open to abuse, and to be honest I have a whole host of other issues with it but that's for another time and place.

The word 'Foodie' deserves to die. I prefer Gastronaut :raz:

Andy Arrington

Journeyman Drinksmith

Twitter--@LoneStarBarman

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Molecular Gastronomy. Although I'm just the sort of person who's interested in this sort of stuff, that phrase was bad from the start. It is at once unappealing and inaccurate. For me, 'Gastronomy' itself is off putting. Let's leave the 'gastro' words to gastroenterologists. I wonder if there are any Molecular Gastroenterologists.

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Tuck into

Done to perfection

done to a turn

to die for

decadent, sinful et al

artisanal (useful word, but I'm tired of it anyway)

gastropub

confit that isnt cooked that way

carpaccio that isnt beef

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Stack, bed of, panache - Tacky.

Descriptive woods - Decadent, moist, perfectly cooked. How about you cook it, serve it and I'll tell if it is or isn't.

Brie & Camembert - is it AOC certified? If it isn't then its not Brie or Camembert. The other one is mascarpone. Make a small effort and get some Italian mascarpone. I really hate "x" style cheeses.

Award winning - If it's not a major award in a nationally recognised competition, it's not worth mentioning. No one cares if it won an award in the local (with a circulation of 500) gazette. Also, if the award is longer than 3 years ago it doesn't count.

Gourmet - What does this even mean? Someone said that it's a marketing term earlier. I totally agree.

Seasonal Fruit platter - It's never seasonal. Ever. Unless the chef really cares and has actually gone to the market to see what's about then it isn't seasonal.

Things in inverted comma's. I once had a "chilled chocolate soufflé". It was a piece of sponge wrapped around chocolate mousse. Another one I've had is pork "Crackling" It was just crackling cut into cubes and cooked normally. Pretentious tossy BS. Not even Adria, Gagnaire & Blumenthal go down this path.

Molecular and Deconstructed - every man and his dog wants to do this. Few can. And even fewer do it well. Unless you have a team of 20 chef's, with 3 people working on each dish then you aren't going to do it well. The worse thing is that molecular and deconstructed food is built up so much in the media, that young chefs never learn the basics. Most chef's I know can barely make a clear stock or cook a piece of fish yet they want to do dusts, foams, air's and gels. I'm 26 and I have barely even touched that stuff because I know once I get the basics right I am at a distinct advantage over most of my peers. I skim stocks like a religion. They boil the crap out of them. Learn to walk first...

Fine dining used incorrectly - Just because it has a nice table setting doesn't make it fine dining. Fine dining to me is food coming out on trays being served by another waiter, a qualified sommelier, hushed rooms, a seat for your handbag, every waiter/waitress knowing your name among a hundred other things. Fine dining is a Champagne cart, a spirit & liqueur cart and often enough a cheese trolley. It's been offered anything from a variety of cigars at the end of the meal to an infusion cart. Expensive ingredients don't make a fine dining restaurant. It's the service and the little touches that make a fine dining restaurant.

Tuscan - is it an actual Tuscan recipe? Chucking a tin of tomatoes on top of a piece of beef is not Tuscan beef. Goes with any regional claims. On regions, another thing is Kobe beef. It is not Kobe beef if it hasn't been imported from the Kobe region of Japan.

Avruga - Avruga is not the same as sturgeon caviar. So don't try and call it caviar.

Truffle oil - Why? A truffle is such a wonderful thing, and only available for a certain period of time, that why would you even use a substitute. It tastes nothing like truffles and has a tiny sliver of truffle in it which has virtually no effect on the oil.

Flavoured vinegars. I don't mean Chardonnay, red wine, Banyuls & co. I mean raspberry, strawberry and any other tacky stuff like that. Let's go back in time shall we?

Freshly Shucked - If it hasn't been shucked within 10-15 minutes before it's not freshly shucked. It's shucked. This goes with any applicable seafood from scallops to oysters. The day before is scary. And why oh why do some chef's think you should rinse your oyster under running water?

Sashimi grade? No such thing. If it's not caught that day it shouldn't be served as sashimi. Simple as that.

Organic, Sustainable, Free range - I love this. I love seeing it on menu's. But only if it is a blurb at the begining of the menu stating that we only use Certified Organic, Sustainable, Free Range produce. Not in every single dish.

Menu's with the pictures of each dish.

Menu's that have a blurb "our concept" or "the concept of our menu/restaurant". If it's a concept it's not likely to be any good.

Microherb - Old fad which I think can dies fast. I like them placed on a dish for the visual effect (as long if it complements and adds to a dish) not as a big pile of leprechaun pubes. Microherb salad - naff.

I'm sure I can come up with others and I'll add them as I think of them.

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I'd add as a class, all adjectives and adverbs on a menu are suspect as they open the possibility of gush-y BS-y prose.

Of course there are exceptions, but a menu writer would be well-advised to look at each adverb and adjective carefully.

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Umami - I am getting sick of hearing chefs, food critics and elitists throw this legitimate term around like they have reached a special level of culinary understanding that borders on snobbery.

"Salt is born of the purest of parents: the sun and the sea." --Pythagoras.

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Add to that "bomb" as in "the grated cheese on top is an umami bomb" or "a maraschino cherry in that drink is like a sugar bomb." Otherwise sophisticated food writers use this when they want to sound like Racheray (I'm writing that as one word from now on).

Edited by David A. Goldfarb (log)
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  • 1 month later...

"Wonderful," used as follows:

(Actual example from some NYT food thing, paraphrased because my memory =! perfect).

"You could make a sandwitch out of genoa salami, gruyere cheese, and some WONDERFUL sliced bread..."

What if I don't have access to wonderful bread? Should I stop shopping at my local bakery?

What if I'm just not that into bread? What if my bread categories are "good," "edible" and "inedible"? Am I not enough of a foodie because I can't even imagine what WONDERFUL bread would be like?

If I had some wonderful bread, I'd eat the bread by itself and skip the whole sandwitchmaking thing, actually. No use wasting that wonderful bread on a sandwitch that's just going to be mediocre by comparison, what with adding all those other, non-wonderful ingredients.

If they're trying to communicate the quality of their ingredients, brand names, origins, types or something like "strong" or "mild" or "fresh" or "aged" might help. You know, words with concrete, objective meanings. "Wonderful" just makes me think they needed to pad the article a little and they aren't very good writers.

This is my skillet. There are many like it, but this one is mine. My skillet is my best friend. It is my life. I must master it, as I must master my life. Without me my skillet is useless. Without my skillet, I am useless. I must season my skillet well. I will. Before God I swear this creed. My skillet and myself are the makers of my meal. We are the masters of our kitchen. So be it, until there are no ingredients, but dinner. Amen.

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The chefs' descriptions of their dishes on Iron Chef America are really starting to get on my nerves in two ways:

1) The actual description goes on and on and on to the point where it has become beyond irritating. I can almost feel the irritation/impatience of some of the judges--or maybe I'm just projecting--who I feel at any moment want to scream: "PLEASE JUST SHUT UP AND LET US EAT THE DAMN DISH ALREADY!"

2) Their interminable use of the following words/phrases to describe how much of whatever ingredient they've used in each dish: a bit/a tiny bit/a little bit/just a bit of................. OH PLEASE STOP! Bobby Flay and Mario Batali do this a lot, with the edge going to Batali, who I otherwise adore. This was most notable during the recent Battle White House Garden episode.

I appreciate being given some information on how the dish was constructed and what ingredients were used, but I really think that a little self editing is in order.

Inside me there is a thin woman screaming to get out, but I can usually keep the Bitch quiet: with CHOCOLATE!!!

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  • 1 year later...

I'm glad someone resurrected this thread, even if just for the following, laugh-out-loud quote:

Microherb...I like them placed on a dish for the visual effect...not as a big pile of leprechaun pubes...

Thanks, roosterchef.

PastaMeshugana

"The roar of the greasepaint, the smell of the crowd."

"What's hunger got to do with anything?" - My Father

My eG Food Blog (2011)

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Depending on how liberal one is with the term, cliche; I'd include the phoney food-gasms that Food Network types have multiple times a day. The act is certainly a cliche on some level.

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Any use or permutation of the word 'craft', when used to suggest something other than the outcome of a high level of skill, achieved by dedicated training and concern for results.

I have tremendous respect for those who have trained long and hard to do something very skillfully by hand: I am not amused by those who hope to convince anyone else that age/history/tradition (often spurious) have anything implicitly to do with craftsmanship, which is about carefully achieved, highest quality.

I doubt I should get started on my feelings about 'mixologist', 'barista', the use of the word 'porn' in culinary contexts, ditto for anything related to 'sin' and the like.

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

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People whose great-great-great-great grandparents came to the United States from Europe, when they over-pronounce the names of their ethnic ingredients.

Dude, your name is Trevor. Why are you pronouncing it "Mas-kar-POH-NEE?"

Reminds me of the '80s newscasters who sounded like Wisconsin natives, until the story about the Sandinistas came up. Then they were rolling their "Rs" in Ni-ka-RRRRRRRaaaah-gwa" like Ricky Freakin' Ricardo.

Who cares how time advances? I am drinking ale today. -- Edgar Allan Poe

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I take it my "world-famous award-winning better-than-sex decadently sinful umami salsa cheese bomb in artisanal tortillas, crafted by Dakki, Maker of Gourmet Quesadillas since 1980" isn't going to be a hit in this forum?

This is my skillet. There are many like it, but this one is mine. My skillet is my best friend. It is my life. I must master it, as I must master my life. Without me my skillet is useless. Without my skillet, I am useless. I must season my skillet well. I will. Before God I swear this creed. My skillet and myself are the makers of my meal. We are the masters of our kitchen. So be it, until there are no ingredients, but dinner. Amen.

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Sounds good to me, Dakki! :wink:

Has "ooey gooey" been mentioned? That just sounds unsanitary! Definitely not something I'd want associated with my dessert.

If you ate pasta and antipasto, would you still be hungry? ~Author Unknown

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