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When did people start talking like bad food bloggers in real life?

Thought I'd split this off the original thread:


"In an unrelated note, after lunch we wandered through some of the nurseries. As we strolled past the edible herbs, we actually overheard some millenials say "what's the flavor profile of that?"

Although fluent, my wife is not a native English speaker and she asked me what that meant. When I told her, she said "So why didn't they just say 'what does it taste like'?" Good question, dear.

I wonder when people started talking like food blogs in real life? I suppose for the millenials, who don't know a world without the internet, it was an inevitable force in changing the way they communicate."

What's your say?

Mr Taster

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  1. It could be honestly said that those two questions are not perfectly identical; they are like, "What's the diameter of that?" versus "How big is it?" But I still think you're right about the millennials. It's funny to see myself peering at this because I was a very bookish kid, reading mostly English juvenile fiction because most of the American stuff back then was either about dogs or horses or just awful. So my role models were mostly middle-class adolescent (or younger) Brits who sailed boats and spoke in well-constructed sentences, and thus I know something about people modelling their speech patterns on what they frequently read … or perhaps I should say "I jolly well do!"

    I've not run into the phenomenon you have observed, not yet, but I'll keep my ears open. All of our foodish friends, even though they're mostly a good deal younger, still are pre-millenials, but I expect to start running into more of the post-internet set as time proceeds. Fun stuff to think about.

    1. There will always be a group of people struggling to be "cool", whatever their definition of that may be.

      1 Reply
      1. re: sandylc

        Short, sweet, and to the point. I love it!!!

        And they never make it!!

      2. I agree that "flavor profile" borders on pretentious foodie-speak, but I don't lay it at the kids' door. That term, along with referring to meat as "protein," shopping as "sourcing," and other wince-inducing examples are used on this board with what I assume are straight faces by people who are older than me. Those kids could have learned fancy eating words from their parents just as easily as from a blog.

        6 Replies
        1. re: Samalicious

          I always assumed that referring to meats as proteins came from culinary school and just caught on from there.

          1. re: Jerseygirl111

            I use protein if I want to include things that some people don't consider meat, namely seafood. Or if I want to include something like nut meat which many people would consider "meatless". I don't care if my "protein" is Greek yogurt or cottage cheese even. If I want it to function as the protein of the meal as opposed to carbs etc. I will say protein.

            1. re: melpy

              I used "protein" in describing a meal component when I was a vegetarian - especially early on when I was strongly influenced by Frances Moore Lappe and concerned that all my proteins be complete - or more precisely, worried that I might not have completed them adequately with my meal planning. Even in that context, it was more in the way of reassuring a dubious non-vegetarian that the meal was sufficient to sustain human life.
              I have never in my life described meat or fish as the "protein" in a meal, in fact until Top Chef I don't think I'd ever heard this useage by anyone. I also don't like it, but I do know now what it means in "foodie."

            2. re: Jerseygirl111

              I use protein when trying to talk my husband into eating some.

            3. re: Samalicious

              WTH is wrong with referring to meat or fish (or non meat items, FTM) as "protein"? What makes it pretentious? It's accurate in the least, and specific about the nutrition you get from it, at most. What are you supposed to call it, "artery-clogging flesh or nutrient-dense plant matter"??

              1. re: Dirtywextraolives


                I don't think there's much space for an argument of "just call it what it is" when English already uses cow-beef, pig-pork, calf-veal, deer-venison, sheep-mutton instead of "cow meat", "pig meat", etc.

                And, no, I don't need the Norman French=food, Anglo-Saxons=animal etymology lesson, thank you.

            4. I've heard the Mayor of NY use cheeky speak. Our President & First Lady try to be hip on late night tv...and in the presidential vegetable garden...get use to a part of wordsmithing that aims to be casual, funny, peckish and quite intentional.

              I don't mind it one bit. If we all communicated the same way I'd be bored to tears.

              2 Replies
              1. re: HillJ

                I think you've reduced my high horse to a pony, although perhaps only briefly.

              2. The only place I've read or heard the phrase "flavor profile" is here on chowhound. It had yet to become part of foodie jargon when I got rid of cable a few years back, I suppose.

                I have no idea what the age profile is of those who say "flavor profile" without irony (mockery). I'd be surprised, though, if they were *all* millenials. Whatever their age, I'll bet they "source" when they go to the grocery store.

                1. My SO is an engineer. So I would have to say, for us, it's kind of "normal". Perhaps by my wording you can tell that I am ~not~ an enginerd. He humors me, but when pressed to explain things (flavors, taste, art ) I need to find a way to quantify them, or at least compare them to other known quantities so that he can have some basis for comparison and perhaps understand.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: pedalfaster

                    In that case you can tell him to get to the table because you are going to deploy the deliverables in 5 minutes. :)

                  2. How do you know they weren't chefs or food bloggers?

                    1 Reply
                    1. I'm curious when people started using the term 'millenials'?

                      I don't read a lot of food blogs, but I do watch top chef (as well as other kitchen/cooking shows) and I'm pretty sure they have been using the phrase flavor profile for many, many years. While I do agree that the question, 'how does it taste?' works just as well, I see it more as a specialized/technical phrase that has come into common use due to increased exposure.

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: pollymerase

                        <I'm curious when people started using the term 'millenials'?>

                        I was introduced to the term in 2000, when this book, "Millennials Rising: The Next Great Generation," came out, and a friend who loves anything having to do with demographics insisted I read it:


                        It's quite an interesting read.

                        1. re: pollymerase

                          It seems that is a loose synonym for Generation Y. Based on my reading I suppose I fit the description being born in 1984.

                        2. This is interesting-- I just realized that if I were to inquire about "flavour profile," I would be wondering what other tastes Go With the essence of the item, not the specifics of the single thing.
                          In my head, the F.P. is on a graph
                          of standard tastes sweet salty umami bitter sour
                          plus several kinds of heat-- numbing ma, hot front of mouth, hot throat, burning entire mouth
                          plus the sort-of "cooling" ones like the way menthol creates a cooling sensation
                          plus the "sharp" that is beyond sour like unripe persimmon that makes your mouth feel like it's just been carpeted
                          plus general mouthfeel from fat, viscosity, texture and actual C/F degree temperature

                          1. I'm guessing they were a group that considered themselves foodies and were speaking the lingo. I suppose that's natural. When I'm with work friends, I will use what my H calls "25 cent words" that are part of our occupational vocab, but that have easier everyday equivalents. My H gets annoyed, but I like to hear the lingos of various groups. It bends my brain.

                            5 Replies
                            1. re: pinehurst

                              I guess that's the distinction... "they were a group that considered themselves foodies"

                              If you're an engineer, for example, you don't "consider yourself" an engineer-- you ARE an engineer. You've gone through several years of hellish schooling to learn extremely abstract concepts for which there is no common analog, and you've worked damned hard to get there.

                              If you're a "foodie", the only work you've done is eaten. *Maybe* you've learned how to cook-- actually taken the time to learn a skill-- but it's not a prerequisite. In the case of "flavor profile", the "foodie" is actually taking a concept that can easily be communicated in common language ("describe the flavor") and falsely elevating it with jargon. It's that falseness that sticks in my craw.

                              If I'm listening to an academic conversation, I don't begrudge the jargon. In fact, I'm generally eager to learn it. But in the common world, where does it end? "The superficial ambiance of that Ken doll's apparel communicated a sort of... of.... (thoughtful pause)... the grace of Fred Astaire with the sensitivity of Justin Timberlake."

                              Mr Taster

                              1. re: Mr Taster

                                A quick Google of "flavor profile" shows that there is a "Society of Sensory Professionals", with a corresponding entry defining the term. Ha!


                                Mr Taster

                                1. re: Mr Taster

                                  In "engineering parlance," I used to use "delta," when most others would probably use "difference." Sometimes, the jargon DOES carry forth.

                                  As I seldom encounter "food blogging," beyond CH, maybe I am just missing things.


                                  1. re: Bill Hunt

                                    In our school district, they are trying to get rid of any language that could be perceived as negative. At the end of each meeting, we are asked to give feedback, which falls into two categories, "positive" and "delta." It about drives me nuts. Especially when it seems to be more of a head in the sand type of thing. 25% drop out rate is a delta. People aren't getting their shorts in a bunch over it. Well, maybe they should.

                              2. They could just be mocking bad food bloggers. I know that in college we watched a lot of the original Iron Chef. So if you happened to be eavesdropping the BFand I while we were talking about food you would have heard a lot of "it tastes like moonlight in my mouth", "the sauce tickles my nose with it's playfullness", etc.Our mother's never knew if we were complimenting their food or complaining, but it kept them on their toes. Now that we are proper adults we only occasionally mock food bloggers and Top Chef judges.

                                1. This generation is poorly positioned to obtain status symbols that previously marked entry into adulthood: a new car, a house, etc. Food, however, still remains an obtainable consumer product and "foodie cachet" is one way a notable cohort of millenials establish their sophistication. In the way previous generations might have treated friends to a slide show of a European vacation to show they've "made it," today's young people might be more inclined to hold forth on the tasting menu they sampled at a hot new restaurant.

                                  Hobbyists might get their vocabulary from "Top Chef" or "Chopped," but even if they misuse the terms to speak with tortured sophistication, the important space food decisions now occupy for young people is not an altogether bad thing.

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: JungMann

                                    > even if they misuse the terms to speak with tortured sophistication, the important space food decisions now occupy for young people is not an altogether bad thing.

                                    I love the term "tortured sophistication". I'll need to remember that.

                                    But even with the disingenuousness and falsities inherent in this new wave of food, I agree that the renewed interest is generally a good thing, no matter how annoyed I get every time I see the word "artisan" misapplied (has anyone noticed that "artisan" is the new "gourmet"?).

                                    Overall, the current situation is certainly better than having another "convenience" generation of Velveeta and Wonder Bread.

                                    Mr Taster

                                  2. When did people start talking like bad food bloggers in real life?

                                    When real life people stated blogging?

                                    4 Replies
                                    1. re: ipsedixit

                                      I think it's hilarious that a generation of people that can neither spell not conjugate worth a shit are trying to up the ante by stealing phrasing from people who actually know about flavor profiles (in the case of bill Hunt) and use them promiscuously. I think that may be the right word.

                                        1. re: EWSflash

                                          If I am nothing else, I AM "promiscuous," and proud of it!


                                          1. re: Bill Hunt

                                            I knew you were a wine slut but *promiscuous* too? Wow!

                                      1. With all due respect, referring to people as 'millennials' is pretty much the same thing as referring to 'flavor profiles'. It's fashionable in certain circles to talk that way. In our rural county, you won't hear either of those terms used.

                                        18 Replies
                                        1. re: jmcarthur8

                                          What do you call millenials in your rural county?

                                          1. re: Jay F

                                            Betty Lou's girl...Billy Bob's boy...my sailor son...Cindy's oldest who joined the Army....

                                            1. re: jmcarthur8

                                              We must be neighbors :) Doesn't matter that my Marine brother is deployed to a war zone- he's still Junior. Oh and we still refer to Old Man Miller's farm when giving directions. He's been dead at least 10 years and the person getting the directions may or may not know him but that's how it works. Gotta love the country.

                                              1. re: Hobbert

                                                "Turn left at the intersection with the white house where JImmy's ex-wife lived with her grandma until it burned down because she left the stove on."

                                                1. re: Kris in Beijing

                                                  is that just past the new-old police station or the old-old police station?

                                                  1. re: KaimukiMan

                                                    If it'a the one I know, you turn left where SaveRite used to be.

                                                  2. re: Kris in Beijing

                                                    Wait!! If that is the same house that burned.. down by the forked branch...where the old cow died and the buzzards danced, I was friends with Jimmy's ex-wife's first cousin. Small world.

                                                    1. re: Uncle Bob

                                                      [I know I'm pushing the limits of this thread....]

                                                      Oh -- no no! Not That one.
                                                      The one on the way In To Town after you've passed the building that Darlene used to have a pottery place in when she came back from LA or NY or somewhere. I think Marvin's grandson has a Japanese KungFu studio there now.

                                                  3. re: Hobbert

                                                    Gotta love the country.

                                                    Amen, and Amen!!

                                                    1. re: Hobbert

                                                      I have just learned why nobody here uses street names! Brought to you by another episode of "Culture Shock: Pennsyltuckey edition".

                                                      It is murder trying to follow a conversation my my future in-laws. There is a lot of "ain't that/he/she the one what/that/who". My fiance even slips back into the rhetoric of "his people".

                                                      If they ask if I know where that is, I smile nod and break out the GPS next time. We wanted to know the address of his cousin so we asked her mother: the green building near Lincoln Way.

                                                      Is it on Lincoln Way? Of course not.

                                                      1. re: melpy

                                                        Trust me, it's not limited to the US countryside.

                                                        My first employer in Beijing-- the address?
                                                        The White Building
                                                        District name andZone name
                                                        Beijing PRC no zip...

                                                        And if you want convoluted, read about Korean street numbering practices. As I understand it, essentially it's chronological. Thus, on a long road, 1 Green ST could easily be adjacent to 358 Green ST and 12567 Green ST.

                                                    2. re: jmcarthur8

                                                      I think I love you:) Now on top of all his other issues I have to tell my dear son he is a.....millennial:( Holy Smokes!

                                                  4. re: jmcarthur8

                                                    How do you refer to baby boomers? Every generation has had a moniker for a very long time now. I hardly think it falls into the category of jargon for the sake of falsely adding gravitas to a mundane concept.

                                                    Mr Taster

                                                    1. re: Mr Taster

                                                      My non-native English speaker friend wants to know why you didn't just say "these darn kids today" ;)

                                                      1. re: Mr Taster

                                                        Pretty much same as above..Carol's Mee Maw...Sue's Aunt Betsy...
                                                        I'm a baby boomer myself, and both of my sons are of 'millennial' age, but you won't find them referring to themselves or their friends as millennials.
                                                        I don't often have occasion to lump everyone of a certain age into one named category. But I've never worked in Corporate America, either.

                                                      2. re: jmcarthur8

                                                        JM - it really is not about being fashionable. Businesses and employers the world over have studied millenials since the early 2000’s, when they started entering the workforce and began contributing to the economy. In my last job, I attended several conference programs on how to successfully integrate millenials into the work force. I have a friend in advertising who gets regular research assignments on millenial habits, spending, trends, etc. It's just business.
                                                        ETA: Interesting article about the Bertucci chain of restaurants "Millenial Project".

                                                        1. re: EM23

                                                          EM23, I understand your point, and see that in the world of big business, naming the groups that marketing is aimed at must make it easier to communicate to others the demographic you're aiming at.
                                                          Nevertheless, many of us are not working in big business, have a very personal interface with our clients, and don't think of them as just numbers of people in a certain age group.
                                                          So, I will concede that the term 'millennials' may not be fashion, but a necessary defining term in the corporate world. The rest of us won't be using it, though.

                                                          1. re: jmcarthur8

                                                            I think you've identified my key point. In and of itself, jargon is not problematic. When its central intent is to inform, it has a very useful purpose. It's those who adapt jargon as buzzwords-- to appear smarter or trendier (or in the case of advertising, to make those who buy their products feel trendier or smarter)-- is where jargon crosses the line from "useful tool" to "status symbol".

                                                            "Artisan" bun for your BK burger, anyone?

                                                            Mr Taster

                                                      3. Well, I do see much of which you speak, but "flavor profile" is a very common term, especially when one speaks of the ingredients of a dish, related to a wine pairing.

                                                        I am from at least two generations, before a "millenial," but use that term in describing many food and wine pairings. "Flavor Profiles" can be very important, though I seldom apply it to shopping in an "herb farm," unless wines will be involved.

                                                        Maybe it's just me?


                                                        1. Millenials:

                                                          Otherwise known as Generation Y, or the internet generation (iGen), Millenials are people born between the years of 1980 and 1995. Millenials are often "echo boomers" (their parents were part of the baby boom), and they are often extremely tech-savvy.

                                                          OK, assuming we are on the same page, these are young adults, presmably in some kind of relationship - even if it's just friends - talking about a plant they see in a nursery. If they watch food shows, read food blogs, etc a great deal and are speaking to each other they are quite likely to use jargon.

                                                          It would not be unusual for me to tell another architect that I like the way the fenestration on a building is modulated, while telling someone else that I like the way the windows are arranged.

                                                          4 Replies
                                                          1. re: KaimukiMan

                                                            The only time I've heard the word Millenials said out loud was at a college orientation for parents. The speaker ran a film about the incoming freshman....hence...the arrival of Millenials.

                                                            1. re: KaimukiMan

                                                              I think I may have read it in the book I mentioned upthread, but this is what I think of as the 18-year spread of birth years for the different generations, beginning in 1946 with the baby boomers:

                                                              Boomer: 1946-1963
                                                              Gen X: 1964-1981
                                                              Millenials: 1982-1999

                                                              1. re: KaimukiMan

                                                                shouldn't there be two Ns in millennials?

                                                                1. re: lagatta

                                                                  Heh! There are 17 “millenial” misspellings (mine included) to 7 spelled correctly. I will go back to composing in Word and using spell check from now on.

                                                              2. I find pretentiousness nearly as obnoxious as complaining about it.

                                                                5 Replies
                                                                1. re: cacio e pepe

                                                                  So is this site one of the most obnoxious things you've read recently? (this thread notwithstanding?)


                                                                  Mr Taster

                                                                  1. re: Mr Taster

                                                                    I wish you had shared this link two days ago. Now you're talkin!

                                                                    1. re: Mr Taster

                                                                      I have just read a dozen of these aloud to my dear husband. He's lovin' it!

                                                                        1. re: Mr Taster

                                                                          Very funny!! Gotta go fix mascara before 9:30 meeting...

                                                                      1. this is not limited to just the latest generation, whatever the heck you want to call them.take my ex wife (PLEASE!!), she would try to pass herself off as a world class connoisseur of food and wine (she thought she was gourmet because she ate couscous). she would buy wine and then sit in there drinking it, talking about notes of this and hints of that but only after reading the label to see what she was supposed to be tasting.
                                                                        me, there's only a few ones I even like. I am is far from Oenophile as you can get. when I drink wine, I taste wine. Not oak, or chocolate, or vanilla, or whatever. unfortunately, my ex wife is not the only one in our generation to act this way. There are plenty that sit in overpriced cafes on Friday nights, looking down their upturned noses and talking about the body and bouquet and the finish of the latest bottle of Chateau frou frou 2012.

                                                                        3 Replies
                                                                        1. re: PotatoHouse

                                                                          Ah, too bad that you never had that moment of catharsis, when wine became clear to you - like a beacon atop a distant mountain.

                                                                          I do not envy you, but such is life.


                                                                          1. re: Bill Hunt

                                                                            I do feel as though I am missing out, although I have had that moment of clarity with rums.

                                                                            1. re: Bill Hunt

                                                                              Wine and catharsis? I don't mean to be a pain, but I'm not sure that's the right word unless you mean the cathartic moment that comes after drinking too much wine and the clarity that comes after the purge. ;)

                                                                              Perhaps epiphany works better?

                                                                          2. I think this is because younger people aren't as set in their ways and so more readily absorb the current mainstream speech patterns. I feel like the mainstream attitude has become foodier (which is good, I like it!) in recent years. There are a lot of food blogs and TV shows and people think about eating well or eating interesting food much more, and you do see phrase like "Flavor Profile" used a lot in media. It's easy for a person to pick up these phrases randomly and not use them in the most appropriate way.

                                                                            1. I can't stand this!


                                                                              Ok, I'm better now.

                                                                              1. Daggum whippersnappers and their slang... No other youth of any other generation has ever hacked vernacular language to suit them to the chagrin of other generations.

                                                                                Next thing you know, people will be using pictures of cats or nonsensical cartoons with implicit names like "me gusta" our "you don't say" that convey some unspoken meaning, instead of actually typing what they mean, like OMG, :P or (>*<) of the last respectable generation.... "All your base man", it's like, u know, I mean, like, it's the cat's pajamas! LK RLY!

                                                                                5 Replies
                                                                                  1. re: ItalianNana

                                                                                    Slang, jargon, vernacular (socio-linguistic), formal / informal speech...

                                                                                    While "flavour profiles" by itself as a phrase is not "slang" according to some rigorous 1970's formal academic definition set fourth by some linguists, the specific use of language by "millenials" as described is well within what many other linguists accept as slang.

                                                                                  2. re: khuzdul

                                                                                    "Flavor profile" is the opposite of slang — it's a more formal culinary term than "taste," which is what most people would use in ordinary conversation. The OP is wondering why people choose a more formal term (with its additional meaning) in an informal conversation. The use of slang to simplify informal conversation, on the other hand, would be completely understandable.

                                                                                    1. re: GH1618

                                                                                      I hereby bestow upon "flavor profile" that most modern of slangisms, the portmanteau.

                                                                                      All hail "flofile."

                                                                                      1. re: GH1618

                                                                                        One use of slang is to simply informal conversation, but that is far from the only use of slang. Very often, the use of slang does not actually increase the entropy level of speech above "normal" informal speech. The use of slang can also actually make informal conversation more complex, especially to outsiders. If someone says "Hey man, you're harshing my mellow... bringing me down!", is not simpler and less complex than just saying "You are depressing me."

                                                                                        Just because a word has a formal professional meaning, it does not mean that all uses of the word is formal and professional. Chef has a clear and specific professional meaning, but now it seems that almost nobody in America knows what the heck a Chef should be defined as. So the words themselves, "flavour profile", may be a formal culinary term, but the usage as described is not a formal professional use that allows the users to speak more precisely or convey more information than normal.

                                                                                        To move past the actual words used, or that slang must simply informal speech, other reasons slang may be used include to prove to others one's membership in a social group and/or also to try to establish or prove a persons relative rank within the social group. It does not matter where the words were appropriated from.