'language' on Serious Eats

Our Secret List of Banned Words

If you've ever worked in publishing, you've probably probably come across a list much like this one. Every publishing house, magazine, newspaper, major website, or even individual editor has one: a list of words that are banned from ever appearing in print. We keep ours in a shared Google doc so that editors can share their newest grievances and consult with others on whether or not the phrase or word makes our list. I keep that doc in the same folder as our "Worst PR Pitch Ever Nominees" list and our "Office Quirks Ed Has" list. More

Bacon Script

We know the bacon trend is a little passe, but when we saw this font made with actual bacon, we were admittedly curious. The letters are elaborately designed by Henry Hargreaves and Sarah Guido, who made each from actual slabs of the porky stuff. So maybe it won't replace Times New Roman, but the possibilities are endless. Bacon font holiday cards anyone? More

Food/Drink Words Rejected by the Oxford English Dictionary

Millions of words submitted to the Oxford English Dictionary don't make the cut. They are known as "non words" and according to the Telegraph, one graphic designer named Luke Ngakane uncovered loads of them. Word nerds, listen up! You might really enjoy the food- and drink-related ones, like peppier (a waiter whose sole job is to ground pepper) and spatulate (removing cake mix from the side of the below..with a spatula!). More

Translating Coffee Menus: Different Names for 'Coffee Plus Milk'

While apparently the whole "Inuits have a zillion different words for 'snow'" is a myth, it does seem that the average coffee shop uses a zillion different words to mean "coffee plus milk." You've got your café latte (Italian), café au lait (French), café con leche (Spanish), and even your flat white (the Down Under version, mates). So what's the deal? Put away your coffee-to-English dictionary and let us decipher the international language of caffeinated deliciousness for you. [Photograph:: journeyscoffee on Flickr] More

What Does Barbecue Mean? A Word with Many Origin Stories

I'll be honest: As I walked from tent to tent at the Big Apple BBQ Block Party, this year asking various cooks for their definitions of barbecue, I thought I'd come away with more controversial answers. I was happy to see barbecue recognized as the culinary glue that binds traditions from across the United States. Still, the basic response of "low and slow" seemed to preempt the semantic shouting contests that tend to go hand in hoof with barbecue culture. For every word that celebrates the diversity of barbecue,. it seems like a bible's worth of conjecture and contention has been delivered on its "true" meaning More

Ed Levine's Serious Diet, Week 121: What Is My Serious Diet, Anyway?

It turns out that my serious "diet" is actually an amalgam of all four definitions of "diet" on merriam-webster.com. "Diet" does relate to the food I regularly consume, to the kind of habitual nourishment I receive from, to the kind and amount of food I've prescribed myself to try to bring my weight under control. But it's in the derivation of the word, which dates back to the thirteenth century, that I found the true meaning of my serious diet. More

Poll: What Do You Call Cola Drinks?

©iStockphoto.com/AndrewJohnson After Adam organized his Pepsi Throwdown tasting this week, the age-old question came up at Serious Eats HQ. Are you a "soda" or "pop" person? Or, are you one of those crazy cats who just calls everything Coke (then specifies what kind of "Coke")? Take the poll! »... More

More Evidence That Trader Joe Paid Attention in Grammar Class

Grammar nerds, rejoice! [Photograph: @TimOfLegend] We've admired Trader Joe's use of good grammar in the checkout line before, but here's evidence that it's not just limited to the TJ's in Brooklyn we posted about last April. Game developer Tim Schafer finds this edited checkout-aisle sign in, I assume, San Francisco, where he lives. [via Super Punch] See also: Less vs. Fewer... More

Last Week's Poll Results

This is a sandwich, NOT a sammy (or sammie, or sammich). [Photograph: Robyn Lee] Here are the results to last week's poll: Which Food Term Should We Stop Using in 2010? Sammy/Sammie/Sammich 30% Foodgasm 17% Foodie 14% Food porn 9% Rezzie 7% ** Nom (except when said by a lolcat) 7% Flexitarian 7% Mouthfeel 6% Toothsome 4% Healthful 4% So stop eating sammies and having foodgasms, foodies! Thanks for your participation. Stay tuned for this week's poll coming at ya tomorrow morning. (As always, I take poll suggestions.) ** Many of you chirped up asking what "rezzie" means. It's just an annoying shortcut for reservation—but maybe it's still too underground to be annoying.... More

Poll: Food Terms You Should Stop Using in 2010

Certain food buzzwords just make you cringe a little deep down (as we've mentioned before). Sometimes we say the terms out of habit or convenience without realizing how irritating and shudderworthy they really are—until someone else uses it and you remember just how much you hate that word. And then you stop and think, what does that even mean. So which of these fill you with that kind of rage? Vote after the jump.... More

Why Do Phở Restaurant Names Usually Involve Numbers?

Pho 14 in Washington, DC. [Flickr: Mr. T in DC] Once you get past the pronunciation of phở ("fuh" instead of "foe"), the next question might be, why the obsession with numbers? What does the delicious Vietnamese brothy soup (with rice noodles, bean sprouts, lime, heaps of cilantro, and usually some meat strips) have to do with numbers? This thread over on Reddit.com clears it up: Oftentimes they're lucky numbers. "In some Asian cultures, eight is associated with wealth or prosperity. Repetition is considered desirable (Olympics started 8/8/08). Or to mark a date in Vietnamese history, or the owners' personal life." For example, Phở 67 could stand for 1967, the year the owner fled Vietnam during the war. The... More

Comment of the Day: Stuffing vs. Dressing

Why is "dressing" more appropriate for [the dish] when baked in a casserole pan? The term "dressing" could be equally read to imply "to dress," as in it dresses something...Just as the bird is stuffed with it, the bird is dressed (up) with it. —Lorenzo... More

'Koodie': Another Term to Describe the Children of Smug, Self-Satisfied, Food-Obsessed Parents

You've come a long way, baby koodie. ["Ravenous Girl," print available at Plan59, starting at $16] Koodie is a new term making the rounds in the online food space. Coined by Phil Lempert, "Supermarket Guru": koodie: -noun Slang. A kid keenly interested in food, especially eating, cooking, or watching reruns of Julia Child. A kid who has an ardent or refined interest in food; a mini-gourmet; usually trained by one or both parents to have an unusual, and sometimes fanatic, desire to eat unusual foods. Evolution from the now-defunct word foodie. Can my eyes roll any harder?... More

Use of the Term 'Hockey Puck'

[Photograph: Robyn Lee] Barry Popik, a contributor-consultant to the Oxford English Dictionary, Dictionary of American Regional English, Historical Dictionary of American Slang, and the Yale Dictionary of Quotations, has an entry about the term "hocky puck" on his site... More

Save the Food Words

Save the Words is a website looking out for the underdog words—the less-loved ones that could be dropped from the English language just like that. If you'd like future generations to be able to casually drop mowburnt (adjective; crops spoiled by becoming overheated) or riviation (noun; fishing), then click around on this nifty site and be a word savior. My favorite is ficulnean (adjective: worthless information regarding fig-tree wood). The digital adoption paperwork doesn't look too tough but it's unclear what special powers you're granted once you successfully adopt, say, ficulnean. Related Some New Food Words for Merriam-Webster's Dictionary Quote of the Day: Donut vs. Doughnut Spelling New Food Words in 2009 AP Stylebook... More

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