Jump to content
  • Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create a free account.

Kitchen Language


freddychef
 Share

Recommended Posts

Hello again...not sure if I have posted this here but it is always an amusing thread. I am researching culinary language that chefs, cooks, front of house staff etc use in the everyday running of their culinary world. Every thing from `run it through the garden`, waitroid, nuke it, zizzed, grazers,,,,the list grows.

Over the past couple of years I have received numerous emails and posts outlining phrases, slang, vernacular that relates to the culinary world in many ways. From names for foods, local names for equipment, service, customers, etc....I am in the process of compling the list and thought well one more kick at the can...

What is of interest is that the list, the culture of the culinary world is ever changing. Every time I take a new position (this summer on a movie set I heard `The Trough` for the banquet line set up for instance) there are new words and phrases...so any takers?

freddychef

Link to comment
Share on other sites

This may not be quite what you're asking for, but I just heard of a book by Mark Morton (I think) called Cupboard Love that deals with the etymology of various food-related words. I haven't seen it myself though, and am not sure it deals with "kitchen-speak" and slang in the restaurant world.

Cheers,

Geoff Ruby

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I would love to see a book on "kitchen speak". Seems like every kitchen i'm in, people have a new and interesting way to describe the most mundane things. Case in point.. the microwave. Have heard waitstaff told( and told waitstaff) to "nuke it, zap it, french kiss it, pop it in the french oven, give it some radar love, etc.. I think it's one of those things that makes the back of the house one of the most uniques places in the world. Where else would "Pittsburgh style" relate to "Black and Blue" relate to extra rare?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Where I am...

the "trough" means the staff meal

"RFN" means the same as ASAP (ex. "Do you need that RFN....or whenever I can get to it?" the R stands for right and the n for now -- use your imagination to fill in the middle)

we also have a code phrase among the girls for when a cute guy comes into the shop (someone will say "nice shoes" because you can't just shout out "hey, cute boy in the front") :wink:

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

Link to comment
Share on other sites

This may not be quite what you're asking for, but I just heard of a book by Mark Morton (I think) called Cupboard Love that deals with the etymology of various food-related words. I haven't seen it myself though, and am not sure it deals with "kitchen-speak" and slang in the restaurant world.

Cheers,

Geoff Ruby

Yes mark has corresponded with me a couple of years ago when I designed a Newfoundland and Labrador Culinary calender. I have a copy of the book but it does deal with the actual slang, phrases and words that you hear in so many kitchens....fred

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think it's one of those things that makes the back of the house one of the most uniques places in the world.  Where else would "Pittsburgh style" relate to "Black and Blue" relate to extra rare?

You really hit a nerve with this one. I have utter contempt for people order a steak "Pittsburgh" with a temperature i.e. mid rare, medium. I think they just want to sound cool.

Edited by lambfries (log)

"Success is the sum of alot of small things done correctly."

-- Fernand Point

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Does anyone still refer to the small side dishes as "Monkey Dishes"?

Yup. I've defintely heard them referred to that way at a couple of restaurants.

Katie M. Loeb
Booze Muse, Spiritual Advisor

Author: Shake, Stir, Pour:Fresh Homegrown Cocktails

Cheers!
Bartendrix,Intoxicologist, Beverage Consultant, Philadelphia, PA
Captain Liberty of the Good Varietals, Aphrodite of Alcohol

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Does anyone still refer to the small side dishes as "Monkey Dishes"?

Yup. I've defintely heard them referred to that way at a couple of restaurants.

Any insights as to the origin of that expression?

Michael aka "Pan"

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...
  • 3 weeks later...
Does anyone still refer to the small side dishes as "Monkey Dishes"?
Any insights as to the origin of that expression?

I read this somewhere: the monkey dish was the little dish that the organ grinder's monkey would hold to collect the money... hence the idea of small dishes ... makes sense to me ... :smile:

Melissa Goodman aka "Gifted Gourmet"

Link to comment
Share on other sites

k, i'll play.............we call chopped parsley for garnish hashish.....why? who knows.

Hmm. Hashish garnish might be a good way to ensure that your guests stayed a while and ordered dessert.

"If you hear a voice within you say 'you cannot paint,' then by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced" - Vincent Van Gogh
 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I thought I would add a few from my extensive list to stir the sauce so to speak....

1) When in trouble--in theweeds/ on the rail/ I need it yesterday/ in the shits/ keep your stick on the ice/printer diarrhea/under like a rock....

2) A line cook or flashy one-- line doggy/ one armed bandit/ kitchen cowboy/hack..

3) In the `stewarding area`--dishpit/ great wall of china/ dishpig/pot walloper/ the great wall of china/dish doggy....

4) Servers--waitriod/ waitron/ the black and the whites/ front of house/

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Does anyone still refer to the small side dishes as "Monkey Dishes"?

Yes, we still do.

There are many stories of the origin of the term 'monkey dish', but none of them are verified. Here are a few of them.

It is a bowl the size a monkey would use.

It is a bowl that was originally made from a monkey's skull.

It is a shallow bowl the size of a monkey's hand.

Royalty once had small portions of their food fed to monkeys to be sure it wasn't poisoned.

Bell hops wore caps similar to those worn by organ grinder monkeys. The bell hops became known as 'monkeys,' and the smaller dishes were used by these 'monkeys' to serve in-room guests.

The list goes on.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think it's one of those things that makes the back of the house one of the most uniques places in the world.  Where else would "Pittsburgh style" relate to "Black and Blue" relate to extra rare?

You really hit a nerve with this one. I have utter contempt for people order a steak "Pittsburgh" with a temperature i.e. mid rare, medium. I think they just want to sound cool.

You're both wrong. "Pittsburgh style" or "black and blue" doesn't mean "extra rare", it means "burned to crap on the outside and rare as possible on the inside." Big difference. A really good steak place will put the steak directly on the coals to achieve this. Another good way is between two ridiculously hot cast iron skillets.

It's not pretentious, it's a way of ordering that indicates how the diner would like it cooked. If you can't do it, as a waiter, just say so. Don't write down "extra rare" and sneer at the customer. If I ask for "black and blue" or "Pittsburgh style" (FWIW, Pittsburgh is a little more done in the center; it is indeed closer to medium rare) and you send it back "extra rare", I'm not going to eat it; I'm going to send it back and ask for my steak medium-rare, as you didn't accomplish what I ask for.

Don't blame your own ignorance on diners' arrogance. Maybe you should ask the diner, "What do you mean, sir?" We'd be happy to explain to you what we want.

Don Moore

Nashville, TN

Peace on Earth

Link to comment
Share on other sites

At a restaurant I worked at where it had an exhibition line the cooks would yell out "check your plates" or "hot plates" whenever an attractive female would be in sight. It was a signal for all the guys to look up. They didn't like it when the few girls working started doing the same thing for a cute guy.

check out my baking and pastry books at the Pastrymama1 shop on www.Half.ebay.com

Link to comment
Share on other sites

We also called check your plates for hot women walking into our kitchen. And at many restaurants I've worked, chopped parsley is called mota, Spanish slang for marijuana.

Ryan Jaronik

Executive Chef

Monkey Town

NYC

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 Share

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...