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When food is wrongly named....

I know, I shouldn't let it bother me. And yet, I am still fretting (mildly) about Sunday. We had lunch at mother in law's retirement home dining room. One entrée option was ham with pineapple soufflé. I chose something else but my son to my right got the ham and the soufflé turned out to be bread pudding with a pineapple flavor, probably crushed pineapple mixed in. It was not bad but...not soufflé.

Any other egregious/funny examples of misnaming?

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  1. Boston Cream Pie!!! CLEARLY NOT a pie. We always wonder if we should allow it at our pie party. No one has ever tried to push this boundary yet.

    5 Replies
    1. re: quirkydeb

      Jumping on that band wagon, cheesecake! It's a (custard) pie, not a cake. Let's start grassroots campaign for Boston Cream Cake and Cheese Pie. ;-)

      1. re: quirkydeb

        The Boston Cream Pie and Cheesecake examples are a different situation than what the OP is addressing. While they are not "pies" and "cakes" as we know them, these names do in fact have a generally recognized meaning as encompassing the specific dish that is commonly served when described by those names -- just like "Rocky Mountain Oysters" are not oysters.

        The OP is addressing a situation in which a restaurant or other food purveyor describes a dish as "X" -- which has a generally recognized meaning -- and then delivers something that is not X. E.g, a pudding that was passed off on the menu as a "soufflé."

        1. re: masha

          Right- makes you wonder if the cook or chef really knows the difference between the two.
          Boston cream pie is what it is, whether the name is categorically correct.
          Bread pudding is definitely not souffle.

          It's like if I served a frittata with pizza toppings (tomato sauce and cheese) and called it pizza (referring to "Hungry Girl").
          You're either really stretching the definition, or you don't know the difference.

          1. re: monavano

            I bet it wasn't the chef who came up with the menu description - probably the facilities event or activities person decided to make the dish sound more festive.

        2. re: quirkydeb

          "Boston Cream Pie!!! CLEARLY NOT a pie. We always wonder if we should allow it at our pie party. No one has ever tried to push this boundary yet."

          Cooks in New England and Pennsylvania Dutch regions were known for their cakes and pies and the dividing line between them was very thin. This cake was probably called a pie because in the mid-nineteenth century, pie tins were more common than cake pans. The first versions might have been baked in pie tins. Boston Cream Pie is a remake of the early American"Pudding-cake pie."

        3. Restaurants always call flavored mayonnaise aioli when 90% of the time it is not...I guess mayonnaise doesn't sound appetizing anymore.

          1 Reply
          1. re: MucousMembrane

            "guess mayonnaise doesn't sound appetizing anymore."
            it sure does to me-love my mayo by any name

          2. My mother often made "pineapple stuffing" to serve with ham. It sounds like the "soufflé" you describe, really a bread pudding not a soufflé or a stuffing/dressing.

            We have a local restaurant that is well known for its Vidalia Onion "Cobbler", which is basically a moist corn bread with sweet onions in the batter. There is no crust on the top. It is delicious, but it is not a cobbler. I also doubt if it is truly Vidalia onions, since they make it all year long and Vidalia's are only available seasonally.

            I was about to mention Cheesecake, but I see somebody beat me to it.

            1 Reply
            1. re: Springhaze2

              no matter what it's called I'd sure like that moist cornbread with sweet vidalia onions in batter

            2. Eggplant caviar. Unless the eggplant is really made of eggs.

              1. Is bread pudding a pudding? Or is it a casserole?

                5 Replies
                  1. re: jbsiegel

                    Well if you go back to the origins of pudding, bread pudding is more true to the name than something like chocolate or vanilla pudding which is more like a custard. You could say that is just another bastardization of words that happened in America. Love me some blood pudding.

                      1. re: paulj

                        Oh lordy, I've been craving Yorkshire Pudding for years. I need to just make some. It's one of those things that I don't think of a lot, but if somebody told me I could never have it again, I might go postal.

                      2. re: Bkeats

                        Indeed even in the US, popular association of "pudding" with commercial custard-shortcut products that come ready-made or in mixes is a weird peculiarity of the modern convenience-food market.

                        "Hasty pudding" and "Indian pudding" have much longer North American histories --centuries -- in fact the idea of cooking a grain mush and flavoring it with maple syrup was native, and caught on among European settlers. UK senses of "pudding" have also evolved a bit in the intervening centuries, but US "bread pudding" is far more classic than anything marketed by Jell-O™.

                    1. On this note hummus that doesn't contain chickpeas. If it isn't a garbanzo it's just bean (or whatever) dip.

                      5 Replies
                      1. re: melpy

                        *shudder* @ green pea "hummus"

                        1. re: tcamp

                          Little Big Head calls that "pea pesto".
                          Doesn't look bad, actually.

                          I'm not a hummus purist, and bastardize/improvise my dip, but still call it hummus.
                          Close enough for me!

                          1. re: tcamp

                            That's just insulting to both hummus and beautiful green spring peas.

                          2. re: melpy

                            You're right. Hummus means chickpeas. In fact, if you go to an Arabic speaking country and ask for hummus, they'll just give you chickpeas. You have to request "ḥummuṣ bi ṭaḥīna" to get what we call hummus in the West.

                            1. re: ninrn

                              Hummus in Arabic speaking countries means both - the full phrase isn't necessarily required, though asking for hummus with hummus does specify hummus topped with chickpeas. The only time you'd need to specify would be if you were in a grocery store to differentiate between prepared hummus and the beans.

                              Regardless, black bean hummus does irk me.

                          3. Most of what Pioneer Woman names her ranch-themed foods.
                            Prairie Sushi is a wrap.
                            Cowboy butter is compound butter.

                            DH and I crack up at her reaching for themed names.

                            1 Reply
                            1. I'll add a ricer- never put rice in it.

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: monavano

                                Good one! Though potatoes do sort of resemble large grains of rice once pressed through it, probably how it got its name.

                                Best use for a ricer I picked up from a reader submission in CI eons ago—squeezing the liquid from cooked spinach. Works like a charm!

                              2. That's a bit of a tricky question to answer. Many of the dishes at Chinese-American restaurants vaguely resemble the "authentic" version of the dish: chow mein, egg foo young, stir-fry dishes, etc.

                                1. I have a tough time with the term flatbread to describe pizza. More times than not, it's yeast leavened crust.

                                  The Aioli example is spot on.

                                  Ceasar salad. Grey area on this one I know, but there is a difference between being poorly made and bearing no resemblance.

                                  1. 90% ??? more like 99.99%

                                    watered down mayo with some red coloring or whatever, and they call it "aioli" . Yeah, they wouldn't know an aioli from a chimichurri if it were served to them on a shingle...

                                    1. "yogurts" with no live/active cultures. I think Go-gurts (the tubes favored by my neighbor's kids) fall into this category.

                                      1. I don't really care about stuff like cheesecake, boston cream pie, bread pudding etc. I don't have a beef with things being allegedly being put int he wrong category.

                                        I care about people making stuff like "caesar," dressing without anchovies and egg, and still call it caesar.
                                        Or making "carbonara," and using bacon instead of guanciale, cream instead of pasta water etc. Just call it what it is: a carbonara inspired pasta dish. You only confuse people and spread misinformation. Basically, if you're not sure of something, don't repeat it to other less informed people.

                                        Also, mixing up yam and sweet potatoes is annoying and misleading.

                                        44 Replies
                                        1. re: EatFoodGetMoney

                                          The original Caesar salad had no anchovy in it so that's okay with me. And to me, if carbonara needs water added at the end, then there's something wrong. Mine never has.

                                          1. re: c oliver

                                            Oh shit, I dunno why I added that, had cacio e peppe on the brain apparently. Ya, no pasta water in carbonara, my bad.

                                            1. re: c oliver

                                              I always add a ladle of the hot pasta water to the beaten eggs to temper them before adding the eggs to the pasta and other ingredients in the skillet. I think I learned this watching Mario Batali's show. Greatly reduces the chance of the eggs scrambling when they hit the hot skillet.

                                              I have seen lots of recommendations for reserving a cup of the pasta water for adjusting the consistency of sauces of all kinds.

                                              1. re: pamf

                                                Oh, I know about reserving some of the water just in case. I make the M. Hazan recipe. The eggs, cheeses, pepper and parsley are in the bowl, beaten together. The pasta gets added to that and then the pork, oo, wine combo. I've made it dozens of times and have never had that issue. You may want to try that sometime.

                                                1. re: c oliver

                                                  I made the Hazan recipe once - it didn't need pasta water, due to the extra liquid in the form of wine, but I felt like the wine gave it a strange flavor that doesn't really belong in carbonara. I prefer the classic approach with just eggs, cheese, pepper and pork, and in that case a little pasta water is often just what's needed to get the perfect sauce consistency.

                                                  1. re: biondanonima

                                                    So true - wine and parsley just not required.

                                                2. re: pamf

                                                  Ya pasta water is great to use in all kinds of stuff.

                                              2. re: EatFoodGetMoney

                                                What's annoying about this yam v sweet potato thing?

                                                If you want to completely avoid confusion use the botanical names, Dioscorea and Ipomoea batatas.

                                                'yam' comes indirectly from some West African language. While dioscorea was native there, they readily adopted batatas, and used the same name. So the use of 'yam' for certain varieties of batata has a long history.

                                                The word 'potato' is equally confusing. 'batata' is an native American term. 'papa' is a native word for Solanum tuberosum. 'potato' is a merger of those two.

                                                For a while in Europe, 'pototo' meant batata. The solanum tuber was called the white or irish potato. The current distinction between 'potato' and 'sweet potato' is only a few centuries old.

                                                1. re: paulj

                                                  I'm W. African and find yam for sweet potatoes very confusing. Yams are massive tubers - so large that they could be the size of a human leg - length and width. Yams are so large you buy them cut to some extent.

                                                  So when you ask a salesperson for yam and they ask how many you want, just know you're not getting yam.

                                                  1. re: nikkib99

                                                    What are the names for yam and sweet potato in your part of W Africa?

                                                    For produce that can go by different names in different languages, it is better to go by appearance than name. Either that, or take time to learn the variety of names.

                                                    yucca, cassava
                                                    poblano v pasilla pepper
                                                    culantro v Ngo Gai (v cilantro)

                                                    1. re: paulj

                                                      Here's a picture of what we call yams in Nigeria - notice the size - http://www.vivienne-mackie.com/articl... and it's common to have them sold like this - with pieces already cut - http://www.sweetplantains-stjohn.com/...

                                                      Back in Nigeria, I've seen yams a lot larger than these - another reason why it's common to have them cut. When you cut them, the cut ends eventually dry out - thereby sealing the rest of the yam.

                                                      Sweet potatoes are what Americans also call sweet potatoes.

                                                      Produce of different names are very confusing. The easy ones are red bell peppers vs capsicum, peanuts vs groundnuts, etc. In this case, you're referring to the same item.

                                                      Then you have a similar sweet potato vs yam confusion and an example is eggplant. In Nigeria, we refer to the US-type eggplants as aubergines. Our eggplants or garden eggs are much smaller - the size of limes/lemons. They also come in different colors and are eaten raw with a peanut butter. Of course, our peanut butter is somewhat different from the US peanut butter - US peanut butter seems sweeter.

                                                      Eggplant/Garden Eggs:


                                                      Don't get me started on locally named ingredients! There are many languages spoken and different dialects. So you may have the same item with different names based on language or the form it takes.
                                                      One is Alligator pepper - it's a pod with tiny seeds in it. You crush the pod and use the seeds. These are also called atariko, mbongo spice, grains of paradise, you name it. LOL

                                                      1. re: paulj

                                                        We also eat cassava, but we call it gari or garri. Our garri is cassava that has been peeled, grated and dried - best way to describe is tiny grains smaller than steel cut oats. It's eaten with soup (what Americans call stew - haha) and it's cooked/served the way grits are prepared (no butter), but much firmer like Jamaican dumplings.

                                                        Garri looks different based on region - you have the white garri, yellow garri(prepared with palm oil), sometimes ijebu garri(when it's not fully filtered or something - might be the skin, who knows).

                                                        What I really love is going to restaurants/markets of other nationalities and find something that's a staple in our food. These days I'm finding what used to be rare African ingredients at the Asian markets.

                                                    2. re: paulj

                                                      Yes, that is technically true, but for all intents and purposes in American English, sweet potato = yam. Apparently, there are regions that prefer one word over the other, but people are talking about the same thing. This is not a recent development.

                                                      1. re: Wawsanham

                                                        In another post I found a Library of Congress reference claiming that African slaves used the term 'yam' because of a resemblance to what they were familiar with in Africa. I'd be interesting in seeing some primary material on the matter.

                                                        But what appears to both some posters is the fact main-stream groceries sell 2 varieties of sweet potato, and label one (the orange color) 'yam' (following, no doubt, the practice of their supplier, as marked on the box).

                                                        I'm used to seeing other varieties, and couldn't care less whether they are labeled 'sweet potato' or 'yam'.

                                                    3. re: EatFoodGetMoney

                                                      I had a "Caesar Salad" in Sri Lanka that had no romaine lettuce and no dressing that would resemble what westerners would consider Caesar dressing. Instead, it was head lettuce, cooking cucumbers, onion, and tomato with a lemony type of vinaigrette.

                                                        1. re: tcamp

                                                          You just gotta wonder sometimes what they were thinking.

                                                          1. re: c oliver

                                                            It's often because tourists want to eat familiar home foods and not try the local stuff. But the local chefs can only do a pastiche of the real dish because they can't source ingredients. My mantra is to always eat local never expect to replicate a dish from home in a far flung country.

                                                            1. re: PhilD

                                                              It's true that romaine lettuce did not exist in Sri Lanka. I didn't see it once in the eight or so years I lived there.

                                                              Which leads me to my next point. Eight years in a country. There are times when I *don't* want local food. While I love Sri Lankan curries - and know how to cook them quite well - I do like eating other foods at times. And this particular restaurant offered mainly "western" dishes. Or dishes that were supposed to be western, anyway.

                                                              1. re: LMAshton

                                                                But as a foreigner in another land you do get used to it - I live in Hong Kong.

                                                        2. re: LMAshton

                                                          Are you saying that the Caesar salad is known to all Westerners? I believe the average German, Pole, or Chilean wouldn't recognize one. Perhaps, it's a salad known to Americans (US)?

                                                          1. re: Wawsanham

                                                            1. I didn't say all westerners. 2. I'm not a USAian, so I'm not limiting westerners to just USAians.

                                                            I do, however, think it's fairly safe to say that for those westerners who are familiar with Caesar salads, there are certain expectations as to what it contains. That would include romaine lettuce, croutons, and an appropriate Caesar salad dressing that would likely include egg yolks, lemon juice, anchovies, Dijon mustard, parmesan cheese. This particular salad that was called a Caesar salad had none of the above. And this restaurant was geared towards westerners, not locals.

                                                            1. re: LMAshton

                                                              You said what "Westerners consider caesar salad dressing"--I'm just saying to be careful when using a very broad term like that since it includes a lot of people; the term shouldn't be conflated from "Americans" (or North Americans or USians). It's a very, very broad category similar to saying "Asians" (which could mean everything from Israelis to Koreans). Besides, if the restaurant was geared toward Westerners (maybe, foreigners would be better as there might be the occasional non-Srilankan, non-Westerner) maybe a lot of those Westerners didn't know the difference. Just as a lot of Westerners don't know what scrapple, kolacky, or tortilla española are--despite being "Western" dishes.

                                                              1. re: Wawsanham

                                                                I am not from the US and understand what a Caesar salad is. Its a pretty much international dish these days found across the world. I also live in Asia so can support LMAston by saying its generally understood (across locals and foreigners) what is meant by a "western" restaurant.

                                                                I hadn't heard tortilla espanola before but I suppose thats because most of the countries I go to understand its a spanish dish. I must admit the other two are mysteries to me (despite having worked in The Netherlands) but I suspect that is because they are more US centric.

                                                                I know the geographic definition of Asia is quite broad, but I would say the commonly accepted term doesn't include the middle east...

                                                                1. re: PhilD

                                                                  Phil, scrapple is a pork-based dish (generally a breakfast side) made by the "Pennsylvania Dutch" -- i.e., descendants of German settlers of Pennsylvania. Kolacky are pastries, of Bohemian origin I believe.

                                                                  1. re: PhilD

                                                                    "I know the geographic definition of Asia is quite broad, but I would say the commonly accepted term doesn't include the middle east..."

                                                                    Wawsanham's point however was that the word Asia is fundamentally geographical with unambiguous definition, including large regions also labeled "middle east" like Anatolia and Iran, even though individuals sometimes use or perceive the term as if it had various narrower meanings according to personal taste, which can confuse other people.

                                                                    1. re: eatzalot

                                                                      I suppose I don't really agree with the underlying point. "Asian" is used as a descriptor which is widely recognised and it's not based on the literal geographic definition.

                                                                      When we talk about Asian food we know what we talk about, when we talk about Asian people we know what we talk about (and I say we as I live in Asia). The same is true of western, so when we talk about western food we understand it's not Asian, Indian, Japanese etc. And if I wanted to find recipes for Syrian, Iranian, Turkish Eric food I would look for a Middle Eastern cookbook not an Asian one. So I think the terms, in general useable, are quite clear.

                                                                      Another example is how the regions of the world are labelled like APAC, APJ, EMEA, MENA etc.

                                                                      1. re: PhilD

                                                                        "when we talk about Asian people we know what we talk about"

                                                                        Which "we?" _My_ underlying point is that some people using a broad term -- with unambiguous dictionary definition -- in a special way is fine, so far as those reading it also understand it the same way. In my part of the world, people use the adjective "Asian" in ways both narrow and different from other people's use -- people from different parts of Asia use it differently -- which can create honest confusion, on a diverse medium like this one.

                                                                        Wawsanham sounded this caution re "Westerners consider," which can mean various things (besides speaking for an awful lot of people, however anyone may understand "westerners").

                                                                        Thus, LMAshton's "Westerner's" Caesar salad includes egg yolks, lemon juice, and mustard. In my part of the world (where the salad originated and is common), some recipes include anchovies and (partly-cooked) eggs, but "standard" US recipe per Mariani has "romain lettuce, garlic, olive oil, croutons, Parmesan, and Worcestershire sauce." No lemon, mustard, or egg. Caesar Cardini's original omitted anchovies, as I quoted earlier.

                                                                        1. re: eatzalot

                                                                          I think your over analysing the use age of the terms. Asian and Western are generally well understood across the world and used to communicate concepts quite clearly. I work in Asia - my Asian colleagues won't have any doubt what is meant by an western restaurant and my western colleagues know what is meant by an Asian restaurant. In my experience they are broad well understood definitions across the world - I have never had an issue with people not understanding the term in Europe, Asia, Australasia or the US.

                                                                          And on the Caesar salad recipe, you do realise that Cardini changed his recipe over time and adapted it so the original first version may not have had egg (to thicken the sauce) or the leaves torn but later versions did.

                                                                          1. re: PhilD

                                                                            PhilD, maybe I can't get this across but I would never have commented without real experience of that word causing ambiguity and confusion, literally for decades. Even if you have not experienced such. One US CHer recently wrote "Asian," then made clear that in his particular usage, even India and Pakistan (never mind Central or Western Asia) weren't part of "Asia." So it's a reasonable concern when communicating on an international medium like this. Smaller examples abound on CH -- this whole thread is about a side of the same issue.

                                                                            I see it as about humility, not just clarity. To the extent my reader perceives the same sense of a word I intended, no problem. But I, or even everyone I know, being accustomed to using a word one way doesn't mean the whole world is.

                                                                            My point on Cardini wasn't eggs, but that what he considered essentials of his salad -- also what many Americans consider the essentials, I quoted a reference source -- lacks ingredients that one CHer thought typical in the "Western" world. (The one thing about which Cardini was "adamant" -- already mentioned -- was no actual anchovies, yet by some modern personal understandings, it's not a Caesar salad then!)

                                                                            1. re: eatzalot

                                                                              I understand your point and its valid. However, is it not better for us to use terms/names correctly (or as they are generally understood), and correct if required, rather than assuming that others won't understand?

                                                                              1. re: PhilD

                                                                                What I'm trying to express isn't about assuming others don't understand something, but different populations unconsciously differing from each other in their everyday consensus understandings of a word in common. Famous food examples across US and UK English include "T-bone steak" and (in recent decades) "French" salad dressing. (Both surface occasionally on CH). Both phrases are commonly but differently used in US vs UK; what's more, the understood meanings are related enough that the conflict often isn't noticed. (Same formerly for "corn" and "billion," two words with traditionally very different understandings in US vs UK English, yet a casual reader could easily not realize it.)

                                                                                The CHer I alluded to earlier even asked pro-actively not to be nitpicked on his personal use of the word "Asian," so it's an open issue.

                                                                                1. re: eatzalot

                                                                                  I do agree. But I think there is a difference.

                                                                                  In the examples you give these really do have different meanings in the countries they are used in (although slightly mystified about T-Bone?) so are both correct my example would be "entree".

                                                                                  But obviously context is very important and its important to understand the double meaning and exercise care to avoid confusion. An ex-boss, when introducing the new US dress code to a UK audience, did once say at a town hall meeting that women employees were not allowed to wear pants. He was mystified why everyone started laughing (pants being underwear in the UK).

                                                                                  I was more focussed on the mis-use of commonly accepted terms, in those castes I see no reason not to correct misuse even if someone doesn't want to be nitpicked. After all language is defined by consensus not individual opinion.

                                                                          2. re: eatzalot

                                                                            And my point still holds. Even using your recipe for Caesar salad - which I would consider acceptable - includes "romain lettuce, garlic, olive oil, croutons, Parmesan, and Worcestershire sauce." The Caesar salad at that restaurant contained none of those things, so it's *still* not remotely close to being a Caesar salad as recognized by those who are familiar with a Caesar salad.

                                                                            1. re: LMAshton

                                                                              Do they even grow romain in Sri Lanka?

                                                                              1. re: paulj

                                                                                They might in Nuwura Eliya, but I don't think so. I've never seen it. But they do import food from other countries, so they theoretically could obtain it.

                                                            2. re: EatFoodGetMoney

                                                              I doubt many places mix up yams and sweet potatoes here in the states, as true yams aren't sold here. The words yes. It's irritating.

                                                              1. re: Becca Porter


                                                                "Several decades ago, when orange-fleshed sweet potatoes were introduced in the southern United States, producers and shippers desired to distinguish them from the more traditional, white-fleshed types. The African word nyami, referring to the starchy, edible root of the Dioscorea genus of plants, was adopted in its English form, yam. Yams in the U.S. are actually sweetpotatoes with relatively moist texture and orange flesh. Although the terms are generally used interchangeably, the U.S. Department of Agriculture requires that the label "yam" always be accompanied by "sweetpotato.""

                                                                Library of congress

                                                                "Why the confusion?
                                                                In the United States, firm varieties of sweet potatoes were produced before soft varieties. When soft varieties were first grown commercially, there was a need to differentiate between the two. African slaves had already been calling the ‘soft’ sweet potatoes ‘yams’ because they resembled the yams in Africa. Thus, ‘soft’ sweet potatoes were referred to as ‘yams’ to distinguish them from the ‘firm’ varieties."

                                                              2. re: EatFoodGetMoney

                                                                Yeah but guanciale isn't in the supermarket and bacon isn't far off.

                                                                There are much worse offenses .

                                                                1. re: EatFoodGetMoney

                                                                  EatFoodGetMoney: 'I care about people making stuff like "caesar" dressing without anchovies and egg, and still call it caesar. Or making "carbonara," and using bacon instead of guanciale... Basically, if you're not sure of something, don't repeat it to other less informed people.'

                                                                  (1) Italian authorities have pointed out for at least 40 years that bacon (from US sources, no less) was the original meat in "spaghetti carbonara" circa 1947, as I already cited down the thread. That dish is not among Italy's classic pasta traditions. Some purists writing in Italy term it "spaghetti with bacon and eggs" rather than carbonara. (2) No one reading John Mariani's "Encyclopedia of American Food & Drink" (latest ed., 2013) will think Caesar Cardini prescribed anchovies in his salad, first improvised July 1924 (though I once thought so too, from hearsay):

                                                                  "Cardini was adamant in insisting that the salad be subtly flavored and argued against the inclusion of anchovies [preferring their faint flavor from] Worcestershire sauce."

                                                                  Online sources have a wonderful role in clouding such issues. For a clearer or authoritative picture you generally need the real thing (texts).

                                                                  1. re: eatzalot

                                                                    carbonara was specifically a dish invented in the aftermath of WWII, using cheap, available ingredients - most notably, powdered milk and eggs in US aid packages. much like pad thai, which was similarly a product of post-war shortages (in thailand's case, a shortage of unbroken rice grains). the king ordered his chefs to create a dish to lift the national spirit, and lo! pad thai, literally meaning "thai (stir)fry/cook". it made use of broken rice milled into flour then noodles, and preserved/readily available sauces, seasonings and veggies. the protein component could be varied to the ingredients available. likewise, twinkies were filled with banana (not vanilla!) creme until a banana shortage in the war caused the filling to change. this has nothing to do with caesar salad nor really misnamed foods at all, but i thought (especially for carbonara) it was relevant to point out that sometimes dishes "evolve" in their expectations over time - substitutions deviating from the modern norm are not necessarily wrong or "less traditional". sometimes they're more so, or the tradition is less than 100 years old anyway! :-)

                                                                    1. re: eatzalot

                                                                      Many people think the story of carbonara originating in WWII with American GIs cooking with their ration of bacon & eggs to be a myth. There are references to carbonara before this time. It was more likely an evolution from a dish called unto e uova, where guanciale eventually replaced lard.

                                                                      1. re: calumin

                                                                        calumin, I don't go by "many people think" but by particular sources. Would like to see your "references to carbonara before this time" and why your suggested alternative is "more likely."

                                                                        My sources btw are not online. Massimo Alberini wrote a learned survey of regional Italian pasta history (aside: among other interesting trivia, Alberini identified -- long before the internet made such info common! -- the October 1929 US trade journal article that created the notorious myth of Marco Polo introducing pasta from the East) in 1974, when WW2 was still a living memory to many Italian adults, and examined carbonara history.

                                                                        The pioneering 1839 pasta cookbook by Ippolito Cavalcanti (Duke of Buonvicino) cited pasta served with cheese and beaten eggs, "maccaruni col caso e le uova sbatutte;" but, Alberini explains, that dish is only mentioned, without recipe; nothing like "spaghetti alla carbonara" appears in Artusi or any other later cookbooks, "not even in the 'Cucchiaio d'Argento' published in 1950." Alberini explains "carbonara's" appearance in Rome restaurants around 1947 as I wrote earlier, as "an emergency invention made by the American army of occupation in Italy. It was common for GIs on leave to go to little restaurants with their daily rations and ask the cook to make a spaghetti dish out of them."

                                                                        Since carbonara became widely known after that, it would be natural, as often with successful ideas, for people to go looking after-the-fact for plausible longer history; however I've yet to see anything authoritative contradicting the account above. The only references I've seen so far in cookbooks by Italian authors support Alberini. These professionals in Italy would presumably have incentive to credit Italian roots for a pasta dish if they could.

                                                                  2. The perennial problem --well, annoyance really-- of calling a salad "caesar salad" just because it uses romaine, or has a few anchovies on it.

                                                                    Was watching an installment of the PBS show Julia Child and Friends (I think it was called) where she would get together with some guest chef and learn about what the guest chef was serving at his/her reataurant. There was some guy from TX who served a so-called "Caesar" salad in his Tex-Mex restaurant which he made for the viewers on the show. Julia would not give the poor fellow a break about how it was NOT a real Caesar salad. She went on and on about it. He was very embarassed. It was pretty amusing. I wonder if the guy changed the name of the salad on his menu.

                                                                    1. I went to a family run Italian place and ordered penne carbonara. What I got was a penne in cream sauce with bits of bacon and peas.

                                                                      10 Replies
                                                                      1. re: jpc8015

                                                                        Ouch, that's just wrong.
                                                                        I call it the "alfredoization" effect.

                                                                        1. re: monavano

                                                                          "I call it the "alfredoization" effect."

                                                                          Love it

                                                                        2. re: jpc8015

                                                                          monavano's metaphor is superb.

                                                                          Here in the US West Coast where earnest immigrant regional Chinese cooking competes with generic Americanized Chinese cooking (sometimes all prepared by the same, pragmatic, Chinese-born chef), an equivalent figure of speech is the "ma po tofuization" effect. I've yet to see the limits of what tofu-based concoctions can bear that once proud and specific (hence, marketable) label. The worst outrages always entail frozen vegetable bits.

                                                                          Then again, Europe has its 10,000 conceptions of "Spaghetti Bolognese." (None recognized in Bologna, whose people even call "Spaghetti Bolognese" a contradiction in terms: Bolognese meat sauce being seldom served there with spaghetti, on the grounds that it poorly adheres. Italians seem to retain some respect for the natural order of things.)

                                                                          1. re: eatzalot

                                                                            The Wiki article on Bolognese cites a source that claims, as you do, that spaghetti is not used because 'sauce is left behind on the plate'. But the Italian Wiki article cites a different source that gives a different reason - spaghetti is a foreign product (south Italian, dry, made from durum wheat). The 'native' pasta is fresh egg based.

                                                                            So are they respecting a 'natural order of things', or a 'cultural (regional) order of things'?


                                                                            1. re: paulj

                                                                              A reasonable question; but I have several print references by Italian writers none of whom ever once suggests Bolognese ragù with spaghetti -- though they suggest other dried durum pastas ("rigatoni, ziti, conchiglie, and rotelle" -- Marcella Hazan, 1973). Certainly on its home soil, traditional uses for this ragù are with freshly made egg pasta -- tagliatelle or lasagne (Massimo Alberini). The Italian WP page you cited introduces the spaghetti application as "Un uso molto comune all'estero" -- a use very common abroad -- "now" common in Italy too.

                                                                              Much more central to my comment above is the contrast between those writers and the myriad versions of "spaghetti Bolognese" I've seen around Europe and even the US. And the Italian respect for natural things, transcending any mere noodle. "A properly made ragù clinging to the folds of homemade noodles is one of the most pleasurable experiences accessible to the sense of taste" - M. Hazan. (+1!) Alberini lamented debasing of sound Italian cooking principles via gratuitous complications and showy presentations.

                                                                              (I envision a proud Italian expat running an authentic restaurant in another country, answering a query about "spaghetti Bolognese" with "I'm sorry, we serve only Italian food here." A variant of what famously occurred with a Chinese-expat US restaurateur, asked once for chop suey.)

                                                                              1. re: eatzalot

                                                                                The pellagra associated with a high polenta diet in northern Italy is an example of Italians not respecting tradition and 'natural order' of things. They adopted maiz without the traditional methods of processing. Not that the Italians were unique in this. They were just a ignorant as the rest.

                                                                                1. re: paulj

                                                                                  Well, that's an unusual case and as you say, not unique to Italy. I'd call it an example of importing a new food without learning how to use it -- "not reading the manual."

                                                                                  The people who'd figured out how to make maize into a staple food were the people who'd lived longest with it. And those people in their turn came away from European contact with worse problems than pellegra: smallpox and other diseases they had little history or natural immunity for.

                                                                                  1. re: eatzalot

                                                                                    Yea, the manual wasn't written in Italian!

                                                                                    In general imports don't come with the whole cultural package. I've read that certain pasta shapes are supposed to go with certain sauces, but I have not internalized any of it. Some explanations make sense, others sound more like rationalizations of tradition. So I end up making my own 'rules'.

                                                                            2. re: eatzalot

                                                                              and with canned tomato soup, Worcestershire sauce. vanilla extract Ms Dash and Cajun seasoning I think we have a winner


                                                                            3. re: jpc8015

                                                                              Oatmeal Carbonara
                                                                              in Maximum Flavor, book by the http://blog.ideasinfood.com/ideas_in_... couple.

                                                                              It's oatmeal seasoned with pancetta and cheese, and topped with a soft-cooked egg.

                                                                              The name caught my attention (more so that 'savory oatmeal with egg ...'). I tried something along that line this morning, using manchego and a soft poached egg.

                                                                            4. The Vidalia onion cobbler sounds more like a spoon bread to me.

                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                              1. re: jpc8015

                                                                                I find it REALLY annoying when people use the term "Vidalia" to mean just any sweet onion. If it's not got the little sticker on it, it's not a Vidalia.

                                                                              2. Why can it not be a pudding and a casserole?

                                                                                1. The "yams" that we see here in America are just a variety of sweet potato. The term "yam" was given as a marketing gimmick.

                                                                                  10 Replies
                                                                                  1. re: jpc8015

                                                                                    Yams ARE becoming somewhat available in the US but not many..

                                                                                    1. re: c oliver

                                                                                      Whole Paycheck sells Japan yams that are white and absolutely delish.
                                                                                      I've been whipping them up with chipotle and maple syrup.

                                                                                      1. re: monavano

                                                                                        Good to know. I'll have to check mine. Sounds like a great combo. Could you elaborate please?

                                                                                        1. re: c oliver

                                                                                          I cook peeled, quarted (or whatever works) yams in water until tender. Drain.
                                                                                          Meanwhile, smash up 3-4, or more, chipotles with a bit of adobo sauce.
                                                                                          Mix in maple syrup until you like the balance of sweet and hot.
                                                                                          Add cooked potatoes, a pat or three of butter and a splash of milk/1/2 & 1/2/cream.


                                                                                          1. re: monavano

                                                                                            That sounds like one of the most delicious things I've heard about in a LONG time. Also I've never quite figured why so many people think chipotles are so, so hot. Yeah, there's heat but to me/us it's more the smokiness. Thanks a lot!

                                                                                            1. re: c oliver

                                                                                              Enjoy- they look beautiful too, with specks of chipotle.

                                                                                        2. re: monavano

                                                                                          Yes, but those aren't 'real' yams. :) They are a variety of sweet potato.

                                                                                          1. re: paulj

                                                                                            I don't know about those but all over google one can find references to the fact that 'real' yams ARE available in the US. Not often but you can find them in some places.

                                                                                            1. re: c oliver

                                                                                              But why are they considered more real? I think it is just because we don't have another common name in English for Dioscorea.

                                                                                              At a large Asian grocery I get a choice of 'Japanese yam', 'purple yam', 'red yam', 'white yam', all sweet potatoes. In the freezer section I find filipino purple yam, Dioscorea alata.

                                                                                              1. re: paulj

                                                                                                Wow, I'm jealous! I personally don't label either as "more real" and I'm pretty sure I've never cooked a yam. Growing up in the South, they were always called "sweet potatoes." In other words, I don't know :)

                                                                                    2. I get your point, but were you really expecting a souffle in a retirement home dining room?

                                                                                      4 Replies
                                                                                        1. re: gourmanda

                                                                                          Oh no, I had no expectations whatsoever. I've eaten there lots; it is food service, not fine dining. And, TTTT, the pineapple thing was pretty good. Just nothing like a soufflé, which is how I had described it to the kid ordering it.

                                                                                          Just like I appreciate an editorial eye looking over menus, I'd appreciate a person who actually knows something about food perusing the menu to identify blatant errors. I'm pretty forgiving.

                                                                                          1. re: tcamp

                                                                                            Did your pineapple souffle look like the recipe that is the first result on Google when you look up "pineapple souffle?" http://allrecipes.com/recipe/pineappl... Or perhaps like this? http://www.examiner.com/article/pinea...

                                                                                            Bready, eggy pineapple souffle is one of those old-fashioned open-a-can-and-put-it-together dishes I associate with the likes of ambrosia, tuna casserole or the Old Country Buffet. If your souffle was on the sweet side, you'd have gotten what I'd expect if I saw "ham and pineapple souffle."

                                                                                            1. re: JungMann

                                                                                              Yes, what we had looks a lot like the first link, although no visible pieces of pineapple. It was not overwhelmingly sweet but mildly so. I might give that Examiner recipe a try..

                                                                                              Maybe I'm the one with the out of whack soufflé meter.

                                                                                        2. That's a cover up for the kitchen getting large low quality eggplants delivered to them that have too many seeds, so they just call it 'caviar'. If they had smaller, higher quality eggplant, there would be no need for the 'caviar' moniker.

                                                                                          1. Recently a friend ordered a pear tarte tatin for dessert at a new restaurant run by a favored local French chef. Instead of a tarte tatin with fruit and flaky pastry, what came out was an upside-down cake, with fruit and (overly sweet, gummy) yellow cake. I was surprised this chef let that one fly.

                                                                                            1. I am annoyed by various pork cuts that have nothing to do with ribs around here being labelled something like "country-style ribs" (from shoulder) or "boneless ribs" (usually cut and sliced from end-loin, it appears).

                                                                                              7 Replies
                                                                                              1. re: Bada Bing

                                                                                                My local Safeway sells "Boneless Shoulder-cut Ribs." The name always makes me laugh (and wonder), but I do buy them for carnitas and pork lo-mein. It's like an SAT question-- How can all of these things be true?

                                                                                                1. re: monfrancisco

                                                                                                  Boneless ribs. That's a new one to me. Surpasses even "fat-free half-and-half!"

                                                                                                  1. re: monfrancisco

                                                                                                    I've seen these! I figured they pulled the rib bones out of the meat. Is that possible? Grocers like to sell the bones and
                                                                                                    consequently it has become hard to find soup bones! At least that is my experience.

                                                                                                    1. re: sueatmo

                                                                                                      You mean the grocers like to sell the bones, but just not to you? Or are you expecting to get them for free?

                                                                                                      I have seen packs of 'finger meat' which looks like the meat from between beef ribs.

                                                                                                  2. re: Bada Bing

                                                                                                    Oooh! Who knew! I love pork shoulder and I love those "country-style ribs" for making souvlaki. Now I know why I like that oddly named cut: fairly good ratio of fat & good flavor.

                                                                                                    1. re: linguafood

                                                                                                      Indeed. They're not ribs. But they're not bad, either!

                                                                                                  3. My friend's family (upstate New York) serves vegetables with what they call hollandaise sauce that is in fact ketchup and mayonnaise mixed together. None of us have any idea how that [mis]name evolved.

                                                                                                    4 Replies
                                                                                                      1. re: cookie monster

                                                                                                        At least that "hollandaise" won't break or curdle on them.

                                                                                                        Throw in some pickle relish and Thousand Island time

                                                                                                        1. re: cookie monster

                                                                                                          Do they live near in or near the 1000 Islands region of NY?

                                                                                                        2. How about the chicken marsala i recntlt recieved made with white wine sauce? Gee... What kind of wine goes in MARSALLA?????

                                                                                                          1. We have a local Italian restaurant that serves a pasta "Bolognese" that includes fresh mozzarella in the sauce, so that it is pink and essentially a tomato cream sauce. It's very tasty but it's not "Bolognese."

                                                                                                            1. BBQ beef that is nothing but sauteed ground beef drenched in BBQ sauce. Ugh.

                                                                                                              3 Replies
                                                                                                                1. re: tcamp

                                                                                                                  That would be a BBQ loose meat sandwich. It got the moniker Sloppy Joe when we moved to Pittsburgh.

                                                                                                                  And Isaly's chipped chop ham sandwiches drove it from the quick dinner rotation.

                                                                                                              1. Cooked beef carpaccio, almost like a Bresaola, in one of the first Jamie's Italians (Jamie Olivers' chain).

                                                                                                                When queried the waiter said they didn't think the diners would like raw meat....!

                                                                                                                1. Would a pineapple bread pudding by another name be less sweet?

                                                                                                                  Some pop-fashion food names are self-contradictory. A personal favorite is "fat-free half-and-half" (INEVITABLE explanation for non-north-Americans: "half-and-half" is a US idiom for a type of light cream, the phrase comes from mixing half [medium or "whipping"] cream and half regular milk). Since the point of half-and-half is to contain more fat than milk does, a "fat-free" version is absurd except from a particular, sort of Orwellian, commercial perspective. . .

                                                                                                                  . . . like those Kraft-subbrand frozen pizzas whose packaging boasts "Real Parmesan Cheese!" yet contain no Italian ingredients. Implying the interesting question of what, on earth, the same manufacturer would consider "unreal" Parmesan cheese.

                                                                                                                  "Herbal tea" is a famous no-no per botanists and pedants. Since tea (Camellia sinensis) is a specific herb, saying "herb tea" or "herbal tea" when you want a non-caffeinated infusion of something other than the tea herb is literally illiterate; the real term is tisane. However, everyone still says "herbal tea."

                                                                                                                  Not to start on perennial bizarre notions like "Alfredo sauce," subject of 1000 past threads.

                                                                                                                  1. Egg creams do not contain egg or cream.

                                                                                                                    If your drink consists of raspberry vodka, chocolate syrup and mint, then it is NOT a martini.

                                                                                                                    1. Those Japanese "yams" are sweet potatoes. Sorry.

                                                                                                                      3 Replies
                                                                                                                      1. re: jpc8015

                                                                                                                        The Japanese name is SATSUMA IMO

                                                                                                                        Imo is a general term for tuber
                                                                                                                        an includes

                                                                                                                        sato imo (taro)

                                                                                                                        yama imo (Nagaimo) (a variety of Dioscorea, I think)

                                                                                                                        satsuam imo - note the wide variety of colors available in Japan

                                                                                                                        jayaga imo - potato

                                                                                                                        1. re: paulj

                                                                                                                          I like Anno-Imo, do you know how those are called in English? Sorry for the random interjection.

                                                                                                                          1. re: Tokyoite

                                                                                                                            I'm not familiar with it, but it looks like it is a particular cultivar of sweet potato.


                                                                                                                        1. How about recently invented dishes with manufactured or second-guessed histories?

                                                                                                                          Like the traditional-sounding "Ploughman's Lunch" dating to the 1950s and the British Cheese Bureau.

                                                                                                                          Spaghetti Carbonara (already mentioned here): An Italian expert I'm reading wrote that it appeared about 1947 in Roman restaurants. While Italian food supplies remained scarce after the war and "the concomitant black market" flourished, this became one of few hearty offerings available -- evidently improvised from the abundant bacon and egg rations of the American army of occupation in Italy, which became trade goods, and also were customarily brought by GIs to local restaurants for improvised meals.

                                                                                                                          Or pasta primavera, an apparent improvisation when originated (1970s North America), which "went viral" in the US. Giuliano Hazan (a teenager when the dish appeared) in a 1990s Italian cookbook called it a "classic" recipe, without citing its origin.

                                                                                                                          3 Replies
                                                                                                                          1. re: eatzalot

                                                                                                                            It's an interesting question about how old a few needs to be to be traditional. Is the time horizon living memory or shorter. There are are lots of great invented dishes that are classics now: negroni's, Caesar salads, Waldorf salads, ramen, martini's etc etc. it strikes me that carbonara is nearly 60 years old so must have stepped over the line by now.

                                                                                                                            It's also interesting to reflect on the dishes that were once common that have slipped from the repertoire, in my youth: tournedos rossini, Steak chasseur, beef stroganoff, chicken Kiev, prawn cocktails, etc etc were all common on menus but are now museum relics dusted off by hipsters.

                                                                                                                            1. re: PhilD

                                                                                                                              Hipsters -- God help us (or anyway, them). But I'm old enough to remember those dishes too -- and interested enough to've read most of their histories in the years since. Most had origins not so long ago in generational terms, and runs of popularity in the US. The "Gourmet Cookbook" (the real one, the original: 1950) is a compendium of those, and many other or earlier dishes -- like shrimps de Jonghe, Russian salads, cold veal in aspic -- which were of an earlier era still, and already old by the 1950s.

                                                                                                                              Prawn cocktails (I'm happy to say) remain easy to find.

                                                                                                                              1. re: eatzalot

                                                                                                                                "Prawn cocktails (I'm happy to say) remain easy to find."

                                                                                                                                I bet they are not real: they will have been gussied up with rocket, or langoustines or some other tricksy reinvention of the original to make it more original than the original.

                                                                                                                                A bit like authentic carbonara now has to have guanciale, and just the right mixture of parmesan and pecorino to make it real.

                                                                                                                          2. "Cooking bananas" instead of plantains. Bananas are sweet and are normally eaten raw. Eating a raw plantain is similar to eating a raw potato - just not done.

                                                                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                                                                            1. re: nikkib99

                                                                                                                              A Burro banana is cooked when green, but can be eaten raw when ripe.

                                                                                                                              When you write 'Bananas are sweet...', you only have the Cavendish in mind.

                                                                                                                              A plantain is just as much a banana as a burro or cavendish.

                                                                                                                              A while back there was a thread complaining that a FN chef (Aaron) called platano a 'root vegetable'. The complainer did not realize that there is a well established food category in Latin America called vianda, that includes root vegetables (tubers etc) and other starchy foods like platano.

                                                                                                                            2. I like the food I just think something is going to also contain chickpeas if it has the word hummus.

                                                                                                                              Pea dip, spread, puree, mash, etc. all seem viable options.

                                                                                                                              1. I'm even ok with roast red pepper hummus, which is again the garbanzo base with the pureed peppers in it. It's when the correct bean is removed that I get kerfluffled.

                                                                                                                                1. This is all they serve where I live. Except one restaurant which will do it right.

                                                                                                                                  I hate that the peas are usually dull green and over cooked. Actually they typically use ham here. I hate it.

                                                                                                                                  I will allow bacon or similar (not ham) meats instead of guanciale when unavailable. Falls into the close enough category.

                                                                                                                                  1. I agree. I think those are just the "white" sweet potatoes we sometimes get. I like both the white and the orange but I won't call them yams.

                                                                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                                                                    1. re: melpy

                                                                                                                                      I think Popeye the Sailor Man had it right...

                                                                                                                                      "I Yam Wot I Yam..."

                                                                                                                                    2. This is what they do in cental PA but sometimes it is pulled beef.

                                                                                                                                      I was disappointed.

                                                                                                                                      1. On the topic of souffles, I often find restaurants will serve molten lava cake but call it a chocolate souffle.

                                                                                                                                        1. I am not a terribly demanding diner but this irritating thing happened to me twice, in two different cities. The menu described a nice cream of tomato soup, or a tomato soup, and what I got was tomato sauce from a can, with herbs. There was no way this was soup. I was shocked and of course could not eat it. It wasn't soup. This happened twice to me!

                                                                                                                                          Once a menu promised a pork chop "grilled to perfection" and what I got was a reheated chop that had never been grilled. It possible been cooked, frozen and then reheated.
                                                                                                                                          It most certainly was not perfection.

                                                                                                                                          I agree about the comments about Caesar salad. I now expect romaine lettuce, cheese and croutons in a mainstream Caesar. I don't normally detect any anchovy at all.

                                                                                                                                          Another over promised and under delivered dish is the grilled chicken breast. These are often offered on a menu for the calorie counter diners. They are never properly grilled and no matter how the menu described them they always are overdone and dry. I won't order them any more. Same as when the menu describes them as roasted. They aren't and they taste awful.

                                                                                                                                          10 Replies
                                                                                                                                          1. re: sueatmo

                                                                                                                                            The authenticity of anchovy in Caesar salad is debatable. Some good authorities claim the original used Worcestershire sauce, not straight anchovy.

                                                                                                                                            1. re: paulj

                                                                                                                                              Yes, see new post quoting Mariani (who has more detail onthis dish's history than I've seen online).

                                                                                                                                              1. re: paulj

                                                                                                                                                paulj, I am aware of that. The first Caesar I experienced most definitely had anchovy in it though. This would have been over 40 years ago. I don't remember many others since that have had.

                                                                                                                                                1. re: sueatmo

                                                                                                                                                  sueatmo, see origins posted in this thread: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/9734...

                                                                                                                                                  The Ceasar salads with explicit anchovies are the inauthentic ones.

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: eatzalot

                                                                                                                                                    Well, OK. I am not a zealot either way, but I did enjoy the version with anchovies.

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: eatzalot

                                                                                                                                                      The interesting thing is that Cardini's brother Alex claims that he made the first version of this salad. At the time it was called Aviator's salad, but later the name changed to Caesar's salad because of the restaurant name. Alex's version smeared anchovy paste on croutons. It is true that Cardini did not like anchovies on this salad.

                                                                                                                                                      So while anchovy on a Caesar may not be technically accurate, it's probably wrong to call it inauthentic.

                                                                                                                                                2. re: sueatmo

                                                                                                                                                  Boy, you've had some bad restaurant luck. I'd become a complainer with this track record.

                                                                                                                                                  That said, while I know how to prepare a chicken breast grilled (I can send my plan), they are so lean and meaningless in flavor these days that I would have low expectations at any restaurant, as with boneless pork, now that I think of it.

                                                                                                                                                  These items cannot be cooked well without CAREFUL attention now to temperature. When restaurants don't do that, you're screwed.

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Bada Bing

                                                                                                                                                    Actually I agree with you. What's happened to pork anyway? Its gotten easier to cook, but harder to make taste like anything. The best pork roast I ever produced was roasted on a bed of sliced onions. But you have to serve pork hot, or it tastes like nothing.

                                                                                                                                                    Chicken breasts are not my fave. I almost never cook with them, except occasionally when I make cutlets for Chicken Parm. But if you want lean and mean at a restaurant that's usually your choice. As I posted, I won't order them anymore.

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: sueatmo

                                                                                                                                                      I recently cooked a picnic shank end roast in about as plain a fashion as possible (no salt or rub even)
                                                                                                                                                      and thought it had plenty of good flavor

                                                                                                                                                      I am also happy with the flavor in pork tongue and heart.

                                                                                                                                                  2. re: sueatmo

                                                                                                                                                    I will almost never order chicken in a restaurant.

                                                                                                                                                  3. It can be truly enlightening when one leaves home and travels through foreign and inscrutable lands with a different language. For me, this meant leaving Florida and traveling the back roads of Minnesota looking for the original family homestead.

                                                                                                                                                    So here I am getting a light lunch during the early October blizzard along the Mississippi and see Spanish Omelet on the menu. Having been introduced to the joys of hopple popple for years, I decide to try it out instead.

                                                                                                                                                    I watch the cook take one of those useless 6 inch cast iron pans, fry the potatoes, tangy onions, pepper. tomatoes, sausage,and then add the eggs. Invert it on a plate and served it up. For those in the know, this is basically a frittata. There is none of the folding over associated with an American omelet. He freely admitted the difference, and said they never sold any when it was a frittata, but did well as an omelet.

                                                                                                                                                    So, a couple days later, I am in Neu Ulm spending a wonderful morning learning all about beer making, broken treaties, farm life, and the industrialization of the family farm after World War 2. I love county museums. See a sandwich board on the sidewalk for Bauernomelette. For those lucky enough to have visited Bavaria, this is a late winter dish using sausage, hard cheese, onions, and old potatoes fried together. Then add eggs and keep stirring so they do not bind together. Scoop out giant portions on a plate and drink a Mass of bier, preferably dark, along with it.

                                                                                                                                                    So what I get are Sysco frozen hash browns warmed on the flat top, a slice of Sysco breakfast sausage chopped up, "You want onions with that?' out of the plastic bag, and a slice of cheese freshly removed from its' confining plastic. She then whisks 2 eggs, lay them out, deftly move the mass onto half of the eggs, folds them over, and there I am. Memorable to say the least.

                                                                                                                                                    Got the wrong name for the town that nurtured a quarter of my ancestors after the 1848 revolution and subsequent upheaval in now Germany, so I will return at least once more into this wonderful land of culinary surprises.

                                                                                                                                                    5 Replies
                                                                                                                                                    1. re: INDIANRIVERFL

                                                                                                                                                      It would have been even more confusing if they'd called it a
                                                                                                                                                      tortilla espanola

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: INDIANRIVERFL

                                                                                                                                                        Your post reminds me of a brunch I had on the UES of Manhattan a few years back where I opted for what was described on the menu as a "spinach frittata" and was served a fold over omelette stuffed with spinach. I was really disappointed.

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: INDIANRIVERFL

                                                                                                                                                          "He freely admitted the difference, and said they never sold any when it was a frittata, but did well as an omelet."

                                                                                                                                                          In the venerable tradition of tuning the name to the market. As when Robert Mondavi opened up US interest in varietal Sauvignon-Blanc wines by rechristening them "Fumé Blanc." Or Victor Bergeron Jr. renaming his tavern Hinky Dink's to Trader Vic's. And I don't remember any mainstream US restaurant menu listing a particular popular dessert as "chocolate foam," but it has always sold well under the equivalent French word "mousse."

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: INDIANRIVERFL

                                                                                                                                                            But, the "fritata" you describe is an omlette! Fritata is just a fancy name for omlettes that haven't been flipped. I've always called those omlettes, grew up calling it that. I would salute that chef for not calling it a fritata and getting onto some bandwagon of misnaming things with new names so as to jack up prices and make them sound fancier. Now, as to being a "Spanish" omlette that would be another matter.

                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Wawsanham

                                                                                                                                                              Potato and onion are the normal fillings of a tortillas espanolla (Spanish omelette). Spaniards use other fillings in tortillas. I have, for example, made a recipe that used eggplant. So including tomato and sausage with the potato and onion is probably not something you'd find in Spain, but it isn't totally foreign either.

                                                                                                                                                          2. This seems like somethng that would happen at a retirement home. I've been quite a bit to one (my grandmother, in Germany), and noticed that the menu descriptions make the meals sound really at a restaurant level, but then when it arrives it's "retirement home level"--not really a restaurant type meal, perhaps a cafeteria type dish. I found that dishes tended to be simplefied, or dumbed down. I'd imagine that a sufflé that is REALLY simplefied would be pudding-like, such a bread pudding. Of course, it's not a "real sufflé".

                                                                                                                                                            1. It may have been mentioned before but, IMHO, Manhattan clam chowder does not qualify as a chowder. It is more of a tomato soup with clams.

                                                                                                                                                              10 Replies
                                                                                                                                                              1. re: mucho gordo

                                                                                                                                                                unlike the potato soup with clam seasoning ?

                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Gastronomos

                                                                                                                                                                  You could conceivably call it a potato chowder with clams to differentiate it from potato/leek or cream of potato but, theoretically, clams are the primary ingredient and hence, its name. Manhattan style could also be called tomato/clam. Then there's the 3rd style which is broth based.

                                                                                                                                                                2. re: mucho gordo

                                                                                                                                                                  Manhattan clam chowder works perfectly as a name because it describes a certain dish. If you see it on the menu you know what to expect. Just because it is not technically a chowder, that is a milk based soup, does not mean it communicates badly what the dish is. I don't know how old the dish it, but certainly many decades. If Manhattan clam chowder is listed on a menu, and you were to get chicken based soup, then the listing does not communicate well.

                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: sueatmo

                                                                                                                                                                    Agree. It's the same as observinging that "Boston Crème Pie" is not a pie (see upthread). True, but both terms have a fixed meaning, and the dish delivered typically fits the conventional understanding of the name.

                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: masha

                                                                                                                                                                      Indeed. The name of the dish should communicate well what the diner has come to expect. If it differs substantially, or features a special prep or ingredient, then the menu should explain a bit, IMO.

                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: mucho gordo

                                                                                                                                                                      In a previous incarnation of this thread (a half dozen lives back?) a sometime Maine resident insisted that flour did not belong in a New England chowder. It can only have the clams, potato and milk. The thick 'creamy' stuff served in bread bowls in San Francisco (and elsewhere) was wrong. But it was clear he was talking about the NE style, not chowder in general. RI and NY were free to define their own versions of chowder.

                                                                                                                                                                      I learned in the course of that thread the word probably comes from a Breton fisherman's term for a pot, and that the earliest versions were fish and ships biscuits layered in a pot and stewed till soft. Potatoes were not commonly used in USA before the 1800s. Milk would not have been used on fish boats either; that would have been used at home.

                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: EM23

                                                                                                                                                                          I wish I knew about that collection during that previous thread. Milk doesn't become a regular part of the chowders until the 1920s. A thin flour slurry ('paste') is acommon cooking liquid in the earliest ones. Also the earliest ones are slow baked in (camp) dutch ovens - with embers above and below. And most of the early ones layer salt pork, fish, biscuits/potatoes. Some wet the biscuits and added them near the end.

                                                                                                                                                                          Newfoundland fish and brewis might be closer to those early chowders than anything else we encounter now.

                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: paulj

                                                                                                                                                                            Some wet the biscuits and added them near the end.
                                                                                                                                                                            Or, if you're Barbara Lynch, you would crown your soup with black olive potato chips.

                                                                                                                                                                    2. I ordered pasta w/pesto at a well-known Italian restaurant and was sorely disappointed when they brough pasta with a basil cream sauce.

                                                                                                                                                                      When I sent the dish back and told them why, the waitperson said that is what they "call" pesto.

                                                                                                                                                                      2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: laliz

                                                                                                                                                                        That would be a pesto cream sauce and should have been labeled accordingly. My wife is lactose intolerant and would have done the same as you.

                                                                                                                                                                        1. just the kind of recipe I expected to find on allrecipes.com:


                                                                                                                                                                          With a high enough egg to bread ratio it probably puffs up in the oven like a souffle. But once cool it is sure to fall (but that's true for any souffle).

                                                                                                                                                                          1. Dry Brining is poorly thought out term.

                                                                                                                                                                            A brine is a 3.5% to a 26% solution of salt & water; thus there is no such thing as a "dry" brine, there is just salt.

                                                                                                                                                                            So if you're applying a layer of salt to meat, you are "salting" meat.

                                                                                                                                                                            When you apply a layer of salt and spices to meat, you are applying a "rub" to the meat.

                                                                                                                                                                            7 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: deet13

                                                                                                                                                                              but is it a derivation of brining a piece of meat rather than a derivation of brine? So its once removed from the technical meaning of brine and could be argued to make sense as it relates to the cooking process not the more scientific term.

                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: deet13

                                                                                                                                                                                " Technically, this is not actually brining—by definition, a brine is a wet mixture of salt and water in which an ingredient is soaked. A dry salt mixture is actually more of a "rub" or perhaps a "cure." But proponents of the technique started using the term "dry-brine" to invite both a comparison and contrast with a "wet-brine""

                                                                                                                                                                                Quite often something new is named after something 'similar'. There are few rules as to how similar, or in what way.

                                                                                                                                                                                'deet13' - I doubt if you are bug repellent. Nor a number.

                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: paulj

                                                                                                                                                                                  I do understand what a brine is. All I was saying is that "dry brine" probably comes from the technique of brining rather than from the technical name for a salt solution. I agree its lazy naming but I can see how it evolved.

                                                                                                                                                                                  What I would say is that the use of the "dry brine" is wrong not because its not technically a brine solution, but more importantly I would think the chemistry is different. Brining in a solution works because of the salts actions on cells protein to denature them and stop them shortening whilst cooking, this in turn changes the concentration of salts in the cells and allows the protein structures to pull more water in from the brine.

                                                                                                                                                                                  A salt rub or dry brine simply dehydrates the meat (and kills bugs), the salts may react to create flavour compounds, and they may denature proteins to tenderise but there is no additional water (from the brine) to add to the meat so it shouldn't make it juicier.

                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: PhilD

                                                                                                                                                                                    Are you sure about the 'simply dehydrates'? I thought the movement was complicated than that, something about drawing some water out, which then dissolves the salt, which then acts like a wet brine. But I'm not an expert on either method...

                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: paulj

                                                                                                                                                                                      Probably true - but the salt rub has no additional water so the can't be a net gain of moisture to the meat as there would be with a brine.

                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: PhilD

                                                                                                                                                                                        Adding moisture is only one effect of brining, and not necessarily the most desirable one.


                                                                                                                                                                                        "Why does it work? Parsons explains that "normal brining requires soaking the bird in a saltwater solution. While it does keep the turkey flavorful and moist, the added liquid makes the meat a little spongy. With dry brining, the salt pulls moisture from the bird, which is then reabsorbed, so you get the flavor and moistness without any added water, improving the texture.""

                                                                                                                                                                                        See, the name is promoting a comparison!

                                                                                                                                                                                      2. re: paulj

                                                                                                                                                                                        Applying a rub or salt curing is exact same thing as "dry brining".

                                                                                                                                                                                        I suspect that "dry brine" was a marketing buzz term created to attract trendy upper-middle class urban dwellers who were looking for the next big thing.

                                                                                                                                                                                        IMO, it's on par with the corporate buzz terms "Paradigm Shift" or "Synergy".