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Food Terms We Loathe/Misuse


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Those sexual food terms freak me out too. I think it relates to a trend in the way Americans (ESPECIALLY women) relate to food: food is sinful, tied in to your morality, to how good of a person you are. And being a good person, of course, means being skinny, able to resist things full of calories that taste really good. Thus, when a woman trying to adhere to the Cult of Skinny actually allows herself to eat some damn chocolate cake, it's "sinful, "orgasmic," somehow "dirty."

All of this is about fifteen different kinds of screwed up if you ask me.

I disagree with this opinion. Sexual language used to describe food is on target when you're talking about the physical pleasures experienced through food. I remember my first bite of foie gras, so intensely savory that it almost crossed the threshold from pleasure into pain - there's almost no way to convey that to someone without comparisons to an orgasm. So in that sense, the language is appropriate, with no implications as to morality or how I relate to my food.

Now I would tend to agree that this kind of language is overused, especially when applied to mediocre renditions of cheesecake, or anything containing chocolate, as a blatant marketing attempt. If you're going to use such inherently evocative language, what you're describing should deliver. Every boy I know is under the belief that all women get aroused eating cheesecake because of this, or that dipping supermarket winter strawberries in melted toll-house chocolate chips will automatically get them somewhere. Some more selectivity in this regard might un-dilute these metaphors.

"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 have come to hate the word "gourmet". What does it actually describe, what does it mean? ... To advertisers, it's slapped on a package containing food stuffs that are anything but.
The term has become so mis- and over-used as to have become virtually meaningless except as a means of marketing products ...

I don't know how many of you saw (or read about) the evolving de-facto usage of gourmet in late-20th-c. US . The main import from France of (naturally!) a hierarchy of eater-nouns spanning from goinfre (untranslatable into American English; UK English has rough parallel "greedyguts," rarely seen in US) through gourmand, gourmet, and gastronome.

In 1950s and 60s US popular culture, "gourmet" could denote a connoisseur, and sometimes imply mystique or intimidation (maybe perceived rather than intended) -- movie characters played on that, or parodied it. "Gourmet" on a book title might be connected to an entertainment celebrity like Vincent Price (thin pimp-type mustache included). Julia Child helped demystify the real cooking concepts by bringing Escoffier to US kitchens via US TV sets (nationally, from 1963).

Phony or marketing use of "gourmet" gathered force in the 1970s (as hokey expensive chain restaurants added "continental" to their names, installed microwave ovens, and expanded their freezers). In the US, real meaning was more or less gone from the word in the course of that decade. I haven't seen it used much by serious food enthusiasts or professionals for many years. If you're interested in this subject, the chief 1970s US food critique is essential reading: the Hesses' harsh, informative Taste of America. Much of it is about theory vs. practice of "gourmet." In one anecdote, a puzzled consumer noted that some foods were duplicated in a "gourmet" section of a supermarket, identical but priced higher. That, replied the Hesses, was as good a practical (1970s) definition of the word as they could find.

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  • 2 months later...
  • 2 months later...
I know it's a useful word, but I really hate "moist", and especailly seeing "moistness" on menus ( isn't the proper term "moisture" anyway?)

It always makes me think of really sweaty people-not something to be associated with food.

Ooooo-how about a '"gelatinous drizzle" to really make your day!

:raz:

Yes, yes and a thousand times yes! That is my most hated word in the English language. It sounds so...grubby. If somebody mentions a 'moist chocolate cake' to me, for some reason it conjures up a vision of said cake with a really nasty soggy dishcloth draped over it :blink:

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  • 4 months later...

I have a special hate for the expression: "hand-crafted"...how else was it friggin' crafted? And "piled high" --great, because I'm such a pig I want my food piled high.

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I have no sound reasoning to back-up why I hate this word, I just do:

"cloying"

Or "Sammy" - For crying out loud, it's Sandwich and really isn't that hard to pronounce. As far as I know, Sammy is a friend of mine I've known since highschool. Great kid.

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"Yummo" would have to take the "prize." Still waiting for someone to use "yucko!" - perhaps on a food "reality" show.

"Free-range"

"microgreens" or worse "micro-cress" etc.

anything said by Sandra Lee in any context

"Life itself is the proper binge" Julia Child

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  • 3 months later...

When did chefs and, increasingly, home cooks become too tired to say 'prepare' or preparation'?

"Prep" saves so little breath and is usually used by people who happily spend a whole paragraph of menu to describe a boiled egg.

However, having saved so many syllables, they tend to repay them by giving instruction such as "fry off the onions."

What is the difference between 'fry off' and 'fry'?

And don't get me started on 'pan fried'. As opposed to what?

...your dancing child with his Chinese suit.

 

The Kitchen Scale Manifesto

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"Letting the produce speak for itself." So many chefs revert to cliche once their vocabulary runs out.

Puts me in mind of the time when Rumpole was defending a restaurateur on charges of breach of hygiene when a mouse was found in the dining room. (As best as I can recall) The Judge said "But there was a mouse in the restaurant, Mr Rumpole, the thing speaks for itself." To which Rumpole replied "A talking mouse, how interesting."

Julian's Eating - Tales of Food and Drink
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Yeah, gelatinous and drizzle seem like useful words to me. Ditto unctuous and mouthfeel. Those don't seem hackneyed to me. I also can't understand the objection to beverages, or to fine dining.

Beverage doesn't offend me, but it is strange to non-American ears/eyes. Not a word that is often used. I don't often hear 'protein' in the American sense either (seemingly meaning 'any animal part used in a dish').

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These have already been mentioned in the thread, but I must reiterate the sheer awfulness of "cooked to perfection", "yum/yummy/yummo" and "nom/nom nom/noms".

"Cooked to perfection": If this is on a menu, it is redundant. I am paying you to cook my food. I expect that you will cook it well, not undercook or overcook it. This is to be assumed, not displayed as a point of pride. If this is in a review, it is a cliche. Avoid it. If there truly is something exemplary about the way the item has been cooked, describe its flavour, its texture.

"Yum" and its variations, or "nom". Are we children? I work in an office, and some of my middle aged female colleagues unfortunately seem to regress to kindergarten age whenever cake is around.

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In reference to most restaurants, the difference between "mashed" and "smashed" is the degree of uh... mash-ed-ness.

Mashed potatoes are often more pureed and have more liquid added (sort of a thick, chunky puree).

Whereas "Smashed" potatoes are just lightly broken down and there a lot less, if any, liquid added.

I've never eaten a Hot Pocket and thought "I'm glad I ate that."

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I think there's a big difference between not liking a word or the characteristic that word implies/suggests, and actual misuse or overuse of the word.

Yes, I thought this distinction was useful:

It's a fun topic: now that we have enough data, annoyances can now be categorized

* overused/misused (organic, molten)

* abbreviations/diminutives (veggies, yummo)

* invented words (gravylious, foodie)

* hyperbole (authentic, world's best)

* pretentious/obscure (unctuous)

Flavor profile I found delightful until I heard it 15 times every single top chef show.

And I am fond of "food porn" when used accurately.

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/193363318...id=W2BSNZ9TV7JN

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