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Food Terms We Loathe/Misuse


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The only word I can think of that gives me the skeevies when applied to food is "moist". Which is odd, because I enjoy, when appropriate and not abused, the use of sexual language to describe a dish or an eating experience. Because some foods, like fresh-from-the-ocean raw oysters, or very cold high quality cheesecake, or strong soft cheese, actually do provoke those kinds of physical reactions. The problem with alot of over the top language, like "unctuous", is overexposure. I do NOT want to sit down at Applebees and have the waiter describe the sauce on the steak as having "an unctuous mouthfeel, with a silky, velvety finish. Perfection on the palate." When I hear strong language like that describing something I'm about to eat, putting it in my mouth had better cause physical arousal.

"Nothing you could cook will ever be as good as the $2.99 all-you-can-eat pizza buffet." - my EX (wonder why he's an ex?)

My eGfoodblog: My corner of the Midwest

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I don't understand why some people detest 'mouthfeel'. Japanese even has this term: nodogoshi (lit. throat-passing), often used to describe noodles. I've long wondered how I can put it into English. Maybe 'throatfeel' is the right answer.

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my mouth waters when i think about certain foods.  it waters when i think about acidic foods or wines, specifically.  it also waters when i'm drinking an acidic wine or eating acidic foods.  it's also waters right before i puke, but i don't think that's the point that's trying to be conveyed when writers use that phrase.  and it is, after all, all about effective communication, rather than using some sort of baseline vanilla language.

I understand that. To me, "tart" and "acidic" is much more precise than "mouth watering."

"Oh, tuna. Tuna, tuna, tuna." -Andy Bernard, The Office
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I agree with much of the above, especially the baby talk--veggies, sammies, and so forth. But I haven't seen anyone mention the propensity of many tv chefs to use the following words when describing a step in food preparation: pitch, pop, slap, throw, toss, grab, drop, hit, snag and so forth. For instance:

"Now, let's throw this in the oven...."

or

"Our water's come to the boil so I'm 'gonna' pitch/toss in the (fill in the food item here)..." Actually, I think you want to place anything in boiling water, for obvious reasons.

or

"Next, grab some parsley or mustard or butter....."

or

"About a half an hour before the ribs are ready to come off the grill, you wanna slap/hit 'em with some of this sauce..."

More akin to describing an upcoming bout of wrestling than food instruction and usually accompanied by the onscreen talent talking louder and faster and making exaggerated arm gestures. :rolleyes: I think we're seeing more of this in an attempt to make the chef seem more accessible/likeable/down-to-earth to the folks at home. Not totally annoying just bizarre. :blink:

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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How about "Now, we're going to toss the salad." Anything wrong there? :raz:

:laugh::laugh::laugh::laugh::laugh::laugh::laugh:

I just knew that someone would have to bring that up eventually! I have to admit that with the new spin on the phrase "toss the salad" I honestly feel queasy every time I hear it. :hmmm:

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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I agree with much of the above, especially the baby talk--veggies, sammies, and so forth.  But I haven't seen anyone mention the propensity of many tv chefs to use the following words when describing a step in food preparation: pitch, pop, slap, throw, toss, grab, drop, hit, snag and so forth.  For instance:

"Now, let's throw this in the oven...."

or

"Our water's come to the boil so I'm 'gonna' pitch/toss in the (fill in the food item here)..."  Actually, I think you want to place anything in boiling water, for obvious reasons.

or

"Next, grab some parsley or mustard or butter....."

or

"About a half an hour before the ribs are ready to come off the grill, you wanna slap/hit 'em with some of this sauce..."

More akin to describing an upcoming bout of wrestling than food instruction and usually accompanied by the onscreen talent talking louder and faster and making exaggerated arm gestures. :rolleyes:  I think we're seeing more of this in an attempt to make the chef seem more accessible/likeable/down-to-earth to the folks at home.  Not totally annoying just bizarre. :blink:

I'll agree with about half of this; I think there's no reason to 'hit' the meat with a sauce. That just sounds dumb. The action described in grab is a little less.. aggressive? so I only shake my head at its use 50% of the time. 'Throwing something in the oven' is something I say, so I'm obviously not upset by it. :wink:

If it's something that will splatter (throwing a batter or meat into hot oil, for instance), I'll agree that 'throw it in there' is bad; on the other hand, 'toss a little salt on it' is perfectly OK.

Edited by NeilMalek (log)
"Give it to Neil. I'll bet he'll eat it."
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  • 1 month later...
I agree with much of the above, especially the baby talk--veggies, sammies, and so forth.  But I haven't seen anyone mention the propensity of many tv chefs to use the following words when describing a step in food preparation: pitch, pop, slap, throw, toss, grab, drop, hit, snag and so forth.  For instance:

"Now, let's throw this in the oven...."

or

"Our water's come to the boil so I'm 'gonna' pitch/toss in the (fill in the food item here)..."  Actually, I think you want to place anything in boiling water, for obvious reasons.

or

"Next, grab some parsley or mustard or butter....."

or

"About a half an hour before the ribs are ready to come off the grill, you wanna slap/hit 'em with some of this sauce..."

More akin to describing an upcoming bout of wrestling than food instruction and usually accompanied by the onscreen talent talking louder and faster and making exaggerated arm gestures. :rolleyes:  I think we're seeing more of this in an attempt to make the chef seem more accessible/likeable/down-to-earth to the folks at home.  Not totally annoying just bizarre. :blink:

I'll agree with about half of this; I think there's no reason to 'hit' the meat with a sauce. That just sounds dumb. The action described in grab is a little less.. aggressive? so I only shake my head at its use 50% of the time. 'Throwing something in the oven' is something I say, so I'm obviously not upset by it. :wink:

If it's something that will splatter (throwing a batter or meat into hot oil, for instance), I'll agree that 'throw it in there' is bad; on the other hand, 'toss a little salt on it' is perfectly OK.

Totally agree...and add "Let's dump [this] in the processor"...dump? I hate it. And generally, I find drizzle to a most overused word.

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Also Jamie Oliver uses lots of slang that could be considered annoying

He sure does! All those -ie's. I like 'A bit of the old foo', though. I use that one occasionally.

Our lad's from Essex but uses a fake Cockney accent and manner known as "Mockney". Deeply offensive because it's just so bizarre and stagey.


Hmmm! A friend of mine who came to Canada from the Caribbean has a similar term for white people who use island slang..........Ja-fake-ans.

As for the topic at hand, one of the local food critics uses the word "yummy", sometimes twice in the same review. "Yummy" is what you say when you're six and your mom makes you a grilled cheese. A recent review by the same person used the words "drinkies", "snackies" and "veggies". I don't even mind so much when people say these words, I just hate reading them in a restaurant review of all places.

Worst offender....word wise? One of the local student bars that has mini bowling lanes, pool tables etc calls itself "restaurantainment". This word has no place in a sanely ordered universe.

If only I'd worn looser pants....

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  • 1 year later...

Everyone surely has a food description, metaphor or cliche that grates of their nerves. Something that makes you recoil in horror, either in your own writing or in pieces that you read.

I keep a list of words and phrases that I notice myself overusing. That list is growing all the time.

Currently, I'm not of fan:

any sexual metaphors for food

any moral metaphors for food ("sinful cake," etc.)

"belly up to bar"

"perfect"

"ambitious"

And I think everyone hates "toothsome." Why do we even need that word?

What are your words and phrases to avoid?

Todd A. Price aka "TAPrice"

Homepage and writings; A Frolic of My Own (personal blog)

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Unctuous - I really dislike this word when its used to refer to food.

Gelatinous - Same makes me feel repulsed

Mouthfeel - WTF

Smell and taste are in fact but a single composite sense, whose laboratory is the mouth and its chimney the nose. - Anthelme Brillat-Savarin

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I admire the man, but if Bourdain writes "screamingly fresh" one more time in my lifetime I'll advise him to get a better proofreader/editor. Then I'll scream.

Like Todd, please no sexual metaphors for food. It might have been naughty and edgy back in the 50s, 60s, 70s, 80s, 90s. In the oughts, let's just move on. Nothing to see.

A nicely placed unctuous I'm all for. It's a word with a specific meaning. Used right, it's OK by me.

Margaret McArthur

"Take it easy, but take it."

Studs Terkel

1912-2008

A sensational tennis blog from freakyfrites

margaretmcarthur.com

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Molten.

As in "molten" cheese. Or "molten" chocolate cake.

Why do I want to eat something that is being compared to melted metal?

And, by default, when *it* cools down enough for me to actually eat it, it won't actually be "molten" any longer will it?

So not only is it an unattractive description, it's also not accurate.

--Roberta--

"Let's slip out of these wet clothes, and into a dry Martini" - Robert Benchley

Pierogi's eG Foodblog

My *outside* blog, "A Pound Of Yeast"

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Drizzle, as in "a drizzle" of olive oil. OMG I hate that word. Just pour on the damned olive oil and be done with it already. Ugh.

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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