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The new lexicon for food. Food is not just “good” anymore.

Yesterday, I had a track back from Gigabiting.com and decided to check it out.  A post on the hatred chefs feel toward some customers had a link to my post on sushi chefs hating some customers on the bottom of it.  I really enjoyed the article that my post was linked to.  So, I read more.  As I was reading post after post, I realized that I was really enjoying the work.  Sometimes you happen upon a style of writing that feels comfortable and has your style of humor.  Gigibiting was that for me yesterday.  Over the dozens of posts I read in that one day, One post has stuck out above all the others.

This post touches on something that my wife and I laugh about often:  particularly while watching Iron Chef America, The Next Iron Chef, Top Chef, Top Chef Masters, etc.  – The new lingo that has been adopted by the food pundits (Mr. Steingarten in particular)  in an attempt to separate the viewer and judges.  Let’s face facts.  A  judges’ sole job on a food contest show is to tell the chef,cook, or home maker one thing:

Good or Not Good

Telling the preparer WHY is completely showing off.  (Most common:  “I need some more acid on the dish.”) I do not see the point in purposely making a distinction between the common viewer’s reality (who really can not relate to Donatella Arpaia’s critique of civiche) and the air put on by the “judges” on these shows.  The language they use is the only method they have to separate themselves from “somebody who is eating Michael Symon’s custard.”  This is only made more apparent when a celebrity, (a non-food world celebrity who happens to own 12 restaurants) like Keyshawn Johnson is put in as a “judge” on Iron Chef America.  He commented on an avocado mousse with the eloquence of a common food eater by saying  “It looks mushy.”  I get it.  I understand that.  I am sure that Alan Richman threw up a little in his mouth when Keyshawn said that.  It is a ridiculous practice that goes to ridiculous lengths- but i watch it none the less.

Here is the post from Gigabiting.com that got me thinking about this.

The Epicure’s Farm-to-Table Artisanally-Crafted Post of Over Used Food Terms

They are trendy or inane, over-worked or over-wrought, misused and abused. These are the words that grate on our nerves.

Artisan

Wheat Thins artisan crackers? (Can’t you just picture them painstakingly rolled out and hand-cut by the master bakers of Kraft Foods Global, Inc.?) How about artisan flatbreads from DiGiorno’s Frozen Pizza? Like you’re back in the piazza in Naples. And pre-washed and bagged artisan salads? We’re not sure how lettuce can be artisanal, but leave it to Fresh Express, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Chiquita Brands, L.L.C., to figure it out.

Mixologist

It’s true that a well-mixed drink is the result of a kind of happy alchemy. But bartending as a scientific discipline? We don’t tip the guy that runs the particle accelerator at the FermiLab, and we aren’t looking for the next Appletini that will cure cancer.

Veggies

Just say the whole word. It’s not all that onerous. Ditto for sammies (sandwiches), resto (restaurant), breakie (breakfast), chix (chicken), and apps (appetizers).

Nom nom for foodies

Let’s add to the list any word that sounds like it was coined in a nursery school (crispy, yummy, comfy, et al.).

Restaurant reviewer jargon

Toothsome; mouth-feel; authentic; playful; sauces that are napped; and dishes that are tucked into— does anybody speak like this? Can we make them stop writing like this?

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My Food Network Wish

If I were granted some wishes from a genie in a bottle one would be to have dinner with 6 Food Network chefs.  Not because of their cooking style or food of choice, but because they look and appear on TV to be cool.  So, here are my top 6 Food Network chefs that I want to have dinner with. (In no particular order.)

Alton Brown:  Host of Good Eats and all around smart cookie.  I think this man is hilarious and wicked smart.  I would expect him to say things like, “You know pomegranates were once used for arthritus medicine because of their molypeptidal antioxidant qualities.”  (or something like that) He is cool plain and simple.

Michael Symon:  Iron Chef America icon.  He wasn’t chosen, he earned his way to Iron Chefdom!  I named my dog Symon after this man.  Humorous and always polite, I think he and I could talk about “guy” stuff  like why Van Halen was better with David Lee Roth and just hot Nigella Lawson really is.

Guy Fieri: Host of Diners, Drive Ins, and Dives,  He and I would just eat things while not caring that we had food on our faces.  He bleaches his hair…I will let that pass because he KNOWS where some good grub lives and isn’t afraid to eat it.  After eating we would cruise in the ’65 and pimp our way on down the road listening to AC/DC or Jimmy Buffet.

Ted Allen:  the host of CHOPPED is hands down one of the funniest and arguably  the smartest man on FN.(NOTE: It’s between Ted and Alton for the Food Geek Crown.) As the host of Chopped he tells punks that don’t include one of the ingredients “Sorry, you don’t get ten thousand dollars and you aren’t the Chopped champion.” He and I would talk about how good a gin and tonic is in the summertime and why Guy Fieri needs to wear long pants in the kitchen.

The Neelys:  Hosts of Down Home with the Neelys

I love these people.  Being from Memphis, they are in the same geographic mindset I am in.  We could talk about Channel 5 news, why the pyramid was a bad idea, and “the spice fairy.”  If you have never seen their show, it is the most sexually charged chemistry between a married couple in a kitchen EVER.  She will say things like “Rub that meat big daddy!” and it not be too sexual for TV…but you know what she means.   He says things to her like “You know I am gonna whip this merangue up, Momma!”  It is kinky bedroom talk in the kitchen. AWESOME!

NOTE:  If you watch FN, you may notice that they put star anise in everything now days.  Don’t do it.  Trust me.

I was corrected by the wife after posting on 2 points:

1) Star anise is “UMAMI” enhancing (I still feel it doesn’t go in EVERYTHING)

2) Nigella Lawson is not a “beauty for the ages” but she is “incredibly sexy.”   My wife is so right, esp. about Nigella. <growl>

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