Open Thread: What Words Should Never Be Used to Describe Food?


[Photograph: Robyn Lee]

As professional food writers, it's our job to convey the sensation of eating or cooking food in a way that's actually, you know, appetizing. To that end, we have a not-so-secret list of banned words for reference, but there's always room for more. What words do you hate seeing in any sentence involving food?

To get the, ahem, juices going, we asked SE staffers to come up with their absolute worst description of the Juicy Lucy burger above, designed to completely destroy whatever appetite you may have had before scrolling down (and hopefully give you a bit of a laugh, too). Some choice cuts:

  • "Ahh, a Juicy Lucy, a melting, meandering mass of viscosity. Its primordial ooze in the center lends a certain je ne sais quoi to what's between the bun halves." —Ed
  • "The Juicy Lucy isn't content to just be so good that it's an orgasm in your mouth—it's so eager to please it's a flavor orgasm on the plate.*"—Max
  • "Creamy, melty cheese oozes through hot pink, beefy squiggles. Juices soak into the bun, rendering it soggy with meat sweat." —Leandra
  • "If you enjoy watching YouTube videos of sebaceous cysts being lanced, then this might be the burger for you." —Kenji
  • "The blistered, crusty exterior of this fleshy mass is enveloped in a slippery membrane of viscous tomato innards. But the true delight crouches in wait within the patty's moist, pulpy folds: a quivering bundle of cheese, eagerly awaiting your probing lips." —Niki
  • "The meat juices and cheese juices from this moist burger will dribble down your chin, and the well-oiled burger is a bit slippery in its bun. This loosely ground meat patty is rare enough to be considered beef tartare, with a pool of cheese secreted away inside." —Maggie

*True story, we've interviewed chefs and restaurant owners who describe their food this way. And yes, those quotes are cut before the story is published.

What are your least favorite food phrases? Tell us in the comments!

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