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

[image via Madison Magazine]]]

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


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.


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.


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?


Culinary cliches: which ones bug you?

Read Gigabiting’s take on the cringe-inducing “F” word.


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

  1. bread says:

    A cook with some experience who wants to get their feet wet in bread making (but save the feet for wine making) couldn’t find a better place to start than the no knead approach.

  2. Eileen says:

    EVOO, definitely, and “tasty”–a generic non-descriptor, and, like “like,” a tautology.

  3. Janice says:

    I knew I’d get called out on the mixology thing. I think though, it is an insult to every self-respecting bartender. And certainly subject to misuse and overuse- again, no standardization of the requirements or the designation.

  4. Janice says:

    I think there is now an adjective pertaining to Rachel Ray-isms. You’re right-she has got to be the #1 abuser.

  5. Janice says:

    I would have to go with ‘crisp’ over ‘crispy.’
    Rustic and heirloom- yes! Enough already. The problem is that these are all words without specific labeling requirements, so the food industry figures they are fair game.

  6. C’mon now, “crispy” is a real word and an extremely useful adjective. But shoot me now if I should ever use the term “artisanal” to refer to my own creations. “Yummy” they are, “artisanal” they are not!
    How ’bout “rustic”? Or “heirloom”? Seems now that everything under the soon is being labeled rustic or heirloom!

  7. Michael says:

    Should “lunchie” be specifically banned? Just askin’.

  8. Jillyann says:

    I had to chuckle because a few of those words REALLY drive me nuts. Dare I say that I think Racheal Ray probably single handedly wore out more food adjectives than any other human on the planet?? She’s even coined a few particularly odious ones herself…”stoup” makes me want to scream. Stoup and sammies spoken together make me feel like I need to be on nerve meds. EVOO..God help me, I want to break things! I can’t speak for anyone else but toothsome makes me think of a large dog with bared teeth. Great article! Now I’ve got to go make myself a friggin SAMMIE with some toothsome artisanal bread and designer micro green veggies. I think I’ll spread a bit of playful, yummy, delish truffle mayo on has such an amazing mouthfeel. BLECH…LOL

  9. Sam says:

    Great post, would love to see this as an ongoing feature (see Schott’s Vocab)

    ‘Artisanal’ has certainly been thrown around. Like ‘organic’ it has an actual, defensible definition, but has been abused into meaninglessness. My response? Pronounce it artis-ANAL.

    Chix: acceptable as back-of-house shorthand, despicable elsewhere



    Mouthfeel: a very real psychosomatic aspect of food rheology. And the word is one of those German-inspired portmanteaus like ‘worldview’ whose ostensible crudeness belies how well it describes such a complex concept.

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