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Feb 25, 2009 07:24 PM

(Not about) Food words I'd like to never see again.

Maybe I'm grumpy tonight (or every night...), but there are are some words that I am so-o over.
The top of the list would be "Artisanal", closely followed by "Authentic". Next would be "Mixologist" (in relation to all the "artisanal" cocktail revolution going on...). Any words or phrases out there that particularly cheese you off? adam

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  1. Adam, I'm so with you on "artisanal." I actually thought about that earlier today. If it is, then we know it. If it's not, then we know that also. In NoCal, there's so much wonderul cheese, it feels redundant I've been grumpy today also :)

    10 Replies
    1. re: c oliver

      What would Artisanal be without the ANAL??

      1. re: janetms383

        LOL! You have changed what will be my pronunciation of that word forever.

        1. re: Veggo

          Ditto! I'll never see the word again with giving it that emphasis. Thanks, janet.

        2. re: janetms383

          Anal artist... usually not referring to food artists.

          1. re: Scargod

            or "art is anal." What would be oral? "artisoral" Much better

            1. re: c oliver

              Oral erectologist: an artisan who can give you a hard-on for their food. Someone who can make your tongue hang out when you get near their cooking.

              1. re: Scargod

                I know words are adding to dictionaries every year. What do you suppose our chances are ?

                1. re: c oliver

                  Dunno... but I'm entering that one in the Washington Post's yearly contest for twisted word meanings.. Got that? This one is mine!

                  1. re: Scargod

                    "Oral erectologist"??? Let us know if it makes the cut. I've already told a couple of people about it.

                    1. re: c oliver

                      sounds like a [more eloquent] derivation of Top Chef contestant Andrew's "culinary boner" ;)

      2. a way overused phrase in the province of Quebec (and in France, too, I think) is "du terroir". du terroir does not mean anything. it sort of means the product has been produced in the region for centuries, or is just produced in the region, or is simply artisanal, or...
        everything comes from the "terroir" these days!
        does something similar exist in English...?

        1. Let me ( in my magnificent grumpaliciousness) add a few more. "Local", "Sustainable" and "Humane"- when talking about the treatment of soon-to-be food; as in animals. Let's face it omnivores-something has to die sometimes to feed our cravings, and there really is no "humane" way to kill something, whether it's been massaged and listening to classical music or not. Ok, rant over. Your thoughts? adam

          26 Replies
          1. re: adamshoe

            You have my vote for your favorite three: local, sustainable, humane.
            Totally misused and goofy.
            Local, according to Whole Foods, is something like seven hours from their "facility." What the hell does that mean? Do they know how fast some of these trucks drive?
            Family farms that have been using pesticides and herbicides for generations still "sustain" their whole gig.
            And no matter how sweet and "humane" you are about it, the critter is going to be dead.

            Just get over it.
            We didn't fight out way to the top of the food chain for nothing.
            Let's remember to wish Charles Darwin a Happy 200th Birthday! Cheers!

            1. re: adamshoe

              I agree on 'local' particularly - I bought 'local','organic' green beans over the summer at Kroger (they had a beautiful display of 'local' produce), only to find out that they were farmed in North Carolina, about 5 hours away. That was disappointing, to say they least.. I suspect 'local' on a restaurant menu means the same thing.

              My CSA provides vegetables for a number of restaurants in VA. I like it when a restaurant menu provides the name of the farm they get a particular item from. It makes the menu description longer (a pet peeve for some), but I like seeing 'from Joe's farm in Powhatan, VA'. To me, that's what 'local' is.

              1. re: jeanmarieok

                Your standards for local may be too strict for New York City. It's my understanding that their are 'local' farmers that drive 5 hours to sell at our green markets. I would consider them local because property values are so high it's hard to have a farm in the metro area.

                1. re: KTinNYC

                  That's interesting, and I never thought about it from a more urban perspective. Thanks!

                  1. re: KTinNYC

                    I feel like a 40-50 mile radius still applies, no matter what. Either it's local or it isn't. Anything more than that is simply redifining a term to fit your personal needs and convince yourself you're supporting local farmers when in reality, what you're paying for property is killing off local farmers. Some places just can't get "local" produce. That's a trade-off on living in a heavily urbanized area. Sometimes, a garden on top of the building is the only way to get local produce.

                    1. re: wb247

                      A valid point, but there can be exceptions. Think of Hawai`i, for instance. A "local farmer" could be on another Island, which would certainly be beyond that mileage. On the Big Island, a restauranteur in the Kona-area, might procure produce from Hilo and be just outside that radius. In these particular cases, I think that the "intent" is present, if not the exact geographic details.

                      You point of urban metro-areas is good, but there are certainly many outlying areas, that must go just across a river to get product A, or B.

                      I'd not like to see a defining of exact distances be enforced. Rather, it should be the intent, and let's just hope that marketing gets thrown out with the bath water.

                      I think that giving the specific location for an ingredient is good enough. I'll do the geographic calculations.

                      I also do not mind a little bit of info on the producer, or procurer of the item. Dined recently at a restaurant, that changed its menu almost hourly, if necessary. They kept the diner updated on the boat, or fisherman, who caught, say the ahi, plus listed the method. To me, it was a nice touch. To others, it was probably more than they ever wished to know. Do you care who caught the ahi that you're about to order, and how he/she caught it? Many probably do not care to know, and would find the restaurant's printing and re-printing of their menu overkill.

                      If the micro-greens are from Maui and I'm on O`ahu, I still consider them "local," though many would likely not.

                      Just some thoughts,


                      1. re: Bill Hunt

                        I'm not so sure I entirely agree. Something grown on a different island could be better classified. Such as "regionally grown," or "independently grown." I wouldn't doubt such an ingredient's quality or freshness, but it isn't local.

                        That said, I think it would be really great if lots of restaurants would share their producers and have a serving staff that takes pride in the ingredients used in the kitchen, but that's an entirely different issue! Even if the food may not actually be any better, I find it to be so much more satisfying if I think I'm helping to support a small, independent producer. It may be a little extra expense and a little extra effort, which isn't easy in an economic down-time, but knowing my food isn't coming from some monstrous, uncaring, impersonal corporate factory production facility is very comforting.

                        1. re: wb247

                          You've clearly never been to Hawai'i then, because anything island-grown is considered local. On Hawai'i, though, you'll normally see "Hawai'i grown" and much more use, even in markets, of the actual location. ("Puna papayas", "Kabocha from Kalapana", "Waimea beef", "Kealakekua coffee" as opposed to just generic "Kona").

                          1. re: Das Ubergeek

                            I don't doubt that. What I'm saying, is that the term "local" is tossed around too loosely.

                      2. re: wb247

                        I live at 6400' elevation. We basically have NO commercial produce sales. Any gardening that's done here is for personal consumption. We have farmers market but the food is brought in from approx. 100 miles away. That's as "local" as we get. And it counts IMO. I think it's best not to generalize or categorize things. Some of us have more limited choices than others.
                        PS: If I tried to garden on my roof, it can get snow any month along with freezing temps.

                    2. re: jeanmarieok

                      "Local" is generally considered anything within about 200 miles or a 5-6 hour drive. I've also seen it loosely interpreted as anything within a one day drive.

                    3. re: adamshoe

                      Agreed about local. Let's face it, for most places in the US, local in the true sense is not realistic for most of the year. Many places are too cold, others are too hot, others are too dry. I can see it making sense for a store to sell Florida citrus in Florida instead of citrus from elsewhere, but calling something local when it is 4 states away is ridiculous.

                      1. re: adamshoe

                        Maybe serving only "free-range" chickens, that have all died of "natural causes?"

                        I am squarely with you on "authentic," but have fewer problems with some of the others. Maybe I am NOT grumpy enough today...

                        Did get a chuckle from JanetMS383's comment though. Could be that it cheered me up too much.


                        1. re: Bill Hunt

                          I would loooove a chicken that died of very-near-to "natural causes," i.e. an old stewing hen. Grew up with them, have missed them ever since. It's extremely difficult and weirdly expensive to find an elderly hen for stewing. Sooo sick of 3 pounders.

                          What does "natural causes" mean, anyway?


                          1. re: cayjohan

                            Just sneak up on the chicken and yell BOO!!!

                            1. re: cayjohan

                              I speak no french, but I am curious do these same companions need help with terms like carbonara, empanada, or Pho?
                              The term Nage would help me to know the sauce will be a light stock, probably vegetable based as opposed to a heavy sauce.
                              Is it possible that you friends are just not very bright?

                              1. re: GodfatherofLunch

                                GoL: huh? Not certain of the reply? Cay

                                1. re: cayjohan

                                  Sorry my mistake, I was trying to reply to a post from Das Ubergeek . he said
                                  "Just call it a tasting menu. The late Bistro K had French words sprinkled apparently at random through its menu, which drove me insane. I know Laurent Quenioux is French, but either write your menu in translation or just hire a menu writer to put it all in English for you. It's one thing to be precise -- a noisette is smaller than a medallion (or, if you like, a médaillon) but honestly, why do you need to call a sauce a "nage"? I speak French -- I have done so since I was 9 months old -- and so I had no real problem making sense of the menu, but it really kills the pleasure of dining out when my companions have to ask me what to expect on their plate because it's half in French." Equally irritating are the places (which are dwindling in number, thank Heaven) that don't translate the menu at all, so it's like this OMG SEKRIT CLUB where you have to know what sole Véronique or poussin bonne femme are."
                                  I answered "- " re: Das Ubergeek - I speak no french, but I am curious do these same companions need help with terms like carbonara, empanada, or Pho?
                                  The term Nage would help me to know the sauce will be a light stock, probably vegetable based as opposed to a heavy sauce. Is it possible that you friends are just not very bright?""

                                  1. re: GodfatherofLunch

                                    It happens, especially in longer threads, or in similar threads. I often find myself replying in thread A, when I thought I was in thread B. I even scratch my head about those. I can imagine how others feel.


                              2. re: cayjohan

                                As a kid I saw a number of chickens being killed. I have a clear idea of what the phrase 'run around like a chicken with its head cut off' means. Later on, at 'rural living camp' we got to practice killing and cleaning chickens - on a flock of retired layers. The quickest way for dispatching a bird was to place its neck between a broomstick and the ground, grab the legs, and - I'll leave the rest to your imagination!

                                1. re: paulj

                                  I am traumatized. My imagination is vivid.

                                  I think I'm going back to being vegan... And maybe believing in Santa again.


                                  1. re: cdnexpat

                                    Yes, it's so much better in the factory, just a quick slice with a knife, and they can't run around because they're hanging upside down by the legs. When they start running around spurting blood on the ceiling is the problem.

                                    Never stopped me from enjoying chicken meat myself, I guess I have a sadistic streak.

                                    1. re: coll

                                      There was a bit of stink last November, when the Gov. of Alaska gave a post-election interview on a turkey farm, while the farmer used such a machine in the background.

                                      1. re: paulj

                                        I saw that video. It was funny in an awful way to see her smiling and chatting while the turkey's legs were waving in the air behind her as the guy tried to stuff its head into the machine.

                                        1. re: Glencora

                                          I remember that! Hilarious.

                                          I guess I have a sadistic streak, too.

                                  2. re: paulj

                                    I hated the chicken killing times and it was only for laughs that they'd let ones run around after their heads were cut off. The birds would get contaminated with manure or other unknown stuff lying around.

                                    It was much easier to pack animals in a van or truck and haul them to the meat packing plant where they'd "process" them. And I mean easier psychologically.

                            2. Even though I suspect the term will die out because the pure practice itself is, well, mostly unsustainable on a large scale, I find "locavore" to be a particularly annoying badge of smug self-congratulation. On the other hand, as much as I get tired of such phrases as "pan seared" or "house [cured] made", they're largely harmless and mostly transparent marketing gimmicks.

                              1. Blackened anything. Upscale chains ( a contradiction in terms?). Slyders other than White Castle. Mexican restaurants where no one speaks Spanish. "Fall off the bone" BBQ ribs.
                                Feeling old and grumpy

                                6 Replies
                                1. re: Passadumkeg

                                  I used to go to a Japanese restaurant were the "sushi chef" never spoke to the customers. I thought he was authentic Japanese until I heard the cashier speak to him in Spanish.

                                  1. re: janetms383

                                    Maybe the chef was a "fusion" of Japanese and Latino ;) adam

                                    1. re: adamshoe

                                      Well I live in So Calif an I think it was regular Mexican Spanish!

                                    2. re: janetms383

                                      my local chef is from a small town outside Tokyo, but he speaks kitchen (and sports?) Spanish very well with his crew. They speak a sort of Japanese/Spanish patois as well.

                                      1. re: janetms383

                                        There is also a very large Japanese-Peruvian community. Many of them have subsequently re-emigrated to North America.

                                        1. re: janetms383

                                          Come to my house for the same effect.