August Food Related Neologisms

Mon, Aug 31 • 0

A monthly look at new words and phrases about food.

rito n. A clipping of burrito. “I just got out of a noise violation because the cop recognized my roommate as his favorite chipotle burrito roller. just another reason I love ritos.”

weed in a can n. Drank” is being billed as the anti-energy drink, to help you relax and soothe out the day. The key ingredients in the grape-flavored drink are melatonin, valerian root and rose hip. Those are all herbs used to help in relaxation and trouble sleeping. The concept of the “relaxation beverage,” has led some people to refer to the drink as “weed in a can.” (Not to be confused with Purple drank, which is the slang term for a recreational drug popular in the hip-hop community of the southern United States. Its main ingredient is prescription-strength cough syrup containing codeine and promethazine.

vampire n. A traditional dish in the Republic of Chad in central Africa that is made with animal blood. “Vampire,” as it is jokingly dubbed, is making a comeback amid a global surge in food prices that has left meat too expensive for many. It is made with peppers, salt, onions, spicy sauce and maggi [stock cubes], and then fried together. Some nutritional specialists say that “vampire” is a good source of nutrients and protein, especially for children. One local was enthusiastic about its culinary merits too, stating: “The taste is good, a bit like liver. I really like it. … I suppose it doesn’t sound very good to be associated with sucking blood, but I don’t really care. Perhaps it will give me the strength of a vampire!”

Courtesy of The Double-tongued Dictionary, Word Spy, and Schott’s Vocab.

The Price of Seasonal Buying at Trader Joe’s

Fri, Aug 7 • 4

A crankygram to the people who run Trader Joe’s.

I’m kind of annoyed at my local Trader Joe’s. A few weeks back, I walked into the store to find it stocked like some communist era grocery store — most of the shelves were bare. Their excuse that time was that the corporate warehouse was moving, and due to some sort of snafu, the last shipment for my store didn’t arrive, but, rest assured, the shelves would be stocked in a day or so. This sort of thing has got to be a one-off, but I’ve noticed that it happens all the time on a smaller scale at Trader Joe’s, moreso than any other grocery store I frequent.

I find some great new product that I really like, and then, without warning, it’s gone. It’s happened often enough to make me annoyed. This time, it was a Brazilian roast beef hash in one of those foil packages you can keep in your pantry forever. Another time, it was a mixture of organic frozen vegetables that I really liked. There one day, and then gone forever. I don’t think it’s the fault of an inept stockboy at my local store. I think it’s an issue with the whole corporation.

Their website claims that they stock their store based on seasonal variables. I can understand it if, say, peaches are in season now, but they’re not in January. There’s the assumption that peaches will be back on the shelves again, in time. And maybe this is just their way of introducing variety and spontaneity into the lives of their shoppers — no more complacency! Don’t get used to anything! I guess I’m at the age where, if I find something I like, I want to keep buying it. And I don’t want to have to buy 50 units and stockpile it. And all that will do is make the person coming after me encountering the same empty shelves or missing products that I am finding.

Or maybe it’s an evil plot to get me to come back more frequently, in the hopes that my beloved missing items will be back the next time … or the next time. Whatever the cause, it’s almost enough to make me not want to shop there anymore. I guess if they expect to be people’s main grocery store, and not just some impulse buying adjunct to a more traditional grocery store, they have to get more reliable supply lines for the products they sell.

Foodie Jargon for July

Fri, Jul 31 • 0

A monthly look at new words and phrases about food.

eatertain v. Kessler spends a lot of time meeting with (often anonymous) consultants who describe how they are trying to fashion products that offer what’s become known in the food industry as “eatertainment.” Fat, sugar, and salt turn out to be the crucial elements in this quest: different eatertaining” items mix these ingredients in different but invariably highly caloric combinations.

phantom fat n. Body-image experts say it’s not uncommon for people, especially women, who have lost a lot of weight to be disappointed to some extent to discover that they still aren’t “perfect.” Some specialists use the term “phantom fat” to refer to this phenomenon of feeling fat and unacceptable after weight loss.

Courtesy of The Double-tongued Dictionary, Word Spy, and Schott’s Vocab.

June Jargon

Wed, Jul 1 • 0

A monthly look at new words and phrases about food.

chicken on a throne n. We are not made of stone, and we could not resist including a clip of America’s most surreal superstar, humbly demonstrating in his own kitchen how he makes roasted chicken with pears. More important than the crazy vocal cadence or his recipe, though, is the technique, sometimes referred to as beer can chicken or “chicken on a throne,” though technically known as indirect grilling. (This refers to the famous viral video of Christopher Walken.)

enhanced chicken n. People shouldn’t be paying chicken prices for saltwater. But some unscrupulous poultry producers add as much as 15 percent saltwater—and then have the gall to label such pumped-up poultry products “natural.” Some in the industry euphemistically call chicken soaked or injected with salt water “enhanced chicken.” Of course this isn’t really about enhancing chicken, it’s about enhancing profits. Someone’s clucking all the way to the bank.

VB6 n. VB6 is short for Vegan Before 6, the increasingly popular veggie-heavy diet that converts say can do wonders for both the body and the planet. Coined and devise by food writer Mark Bittman, the regime is pretty self-explanatory: No animal products, processed food or simple carbohydrates during the day. After 6 p.m., anything goes.

Courtesy of The Double-tongued Dictionary and Schott’s Vocab.

Portion Control and Plate Size

Wed, Jun 3 • 3

I’ve never been much on the importance of plate presentation, and I’ve got no scientific proof to back it up, but I can tell you that if you’re looking to lose weight, one of the first things you could do is get rid of all your plates and bowls. My wife and I are trying to lose weight — she’s using an organized program, and when she first started, I would dish out her evening meal, and it would sit, lonely, in the vast emptyness of the plates we had. Not long after, I bought a bunch of plain, white salad plates from a discount housewares store. These plates are probably 8 inches across instead of the 12 inches of our old plates. Now when I serve up our servings, the plates seem more overflowing. I also bought smaller bowls. These hold about a cup or so of liquid, half as much as our old bowls. If nothing else, it helps us both feel like we’re not skimping on our meals, and I do believe we both feel more satisfied, and less likely to opt for seconds.

Foodie Lexicon, May ’09

Sun, May 31 • 0

bogo acronym In the retail industry that stands for Buy One Get One. “Unfortunately, the bogo deals tend to favor families with more mouths to feed than ours. What am I going to do with a second ham?”

bet dieting pp. Betting money on losing weight, particularly where the money goes to a charity or other organization that one disagrees with. “Bet dieting is the newest rage and there are a few websites that enable it, but has an extra ploy: the ‘anti-charity.’ Choosing the most politically controversial non-profit charities to motivate someone to achieve their goals is a great idea. Science and the stock market know that risk is a much more powerful motivator than reward.

medible n. Food containing marijuana. marijuana + edible. “Eating edibles (often referred to as Medibles) gives some suffers of chronic ailments more relief or a different kind of relief than simply smoking or vaporizing it.”

jacket fries They’re what some restaurants call “jacket fries”: oblong slices of fried skin-on Idaho potato. “Crisp at the edges but thick enough to be fluffy in the middle, they’re a lovely hybrid of chip and french fry that’s worth the 75-cent upgrade from the standard crinkle-cut fries.”

veggiedag n. The Belgian term for a day upon which people abstain from meat – literally, “veggie day.” Officials in the Belgian city of Ghent are to forgo meat once a week (on Thursdays) in an acknowledgment of livestock farming’s detrimental effect on the environment. “The UN says livestock is responsible for nearly one-fifth of global greenhouse gas emissions, hence Ghent’s declaration of a weekly ‘veggie day.’ Public officials and politicians will be the first to give up meat for a day. Schoolchildren will follow suit with their own veggiedag in September.”

eco-kosher adj. The trend among some kosher-keeping Jews to eat only food that has been ethically, sustainably and, where possible, locally sourced. “The book of Leviticus requires that meat come from animals that chew their cud and have split hooves in order to be considered kosher. But for eco-kosher Jews, those laws have come to represent only part of the equation.”

credit munch n. Recession-prompted comfort eating. “There is an apparent correlation between dwindling finances and expanding waistlines. Stressed-out Britons have piled on 20 million stone in a year trying to ‘comfort eat’ their way through the recession. The condition – dubbed the credit munch – has seen three-in-five Britons put on weight in the past 12 months. The term has also been used to describe a trend for bringing home-prepared lunches to work.

cookprint n. What do you call the impact you make on the planet when you cook? It’s your “cookprint“— the entire chain of resources used to prepare meals, and the waste produced in the process.

Courtesy of The Double-tongued Dictionary, Word Spy, and Schott’s Vocab.

Cooking for a Crowd

Tue, May 19 • 3

I don’t often get a chance to cook for more than one or two, so when I go up to Cincinnati to visit my in-laws, I’ve fallen into the pleasurable habit of doing all the cooking. It’s almost a given that I’ll be doing it, too. My mother-in-law prepares an envelope full of cash, so they subsidize all of the grocery shopping. My sister-in-law’s kitchen is pretty well stocked, but each trip always means she’ll be getting something new. Last time, she got a food processor out of the deal, this time, all she got was an oven thermometer and a few new utensils.

My menus are never particularly elaborate — in fact, when I do try to get too fancy, it usually fails. The trickiest part is to make sure that there’s enough variety each meal so that there’s something that falls into everyone’s dietary comfort zone. My wife and I, for example, can’t do a meal that relies too heavily on carbs, like pasta. My mother-in-law will only eat vegetables, and no red-meat. Each meal also ends up having the left overs from the day before rolled in, either wholesale or reincorporated.

This year, I started with two grilled and bbq’d spatchcocked chickens, with grilled asparagus, corn on the cob and cole slaw.

The next day was rainy, so I knew I needed to cook indoors. I was going to try pan fried trout and baked beans, but when I got to the store, the only trout they had was still floating, alive in a fish tank. While part of me knew that they’d be the absolute freshest fish I could ever get, another part of me just couldn’t bear to order the execution of 5 of these trout. If they were already fillets in the butcher case, I wouldn’t have thought twice. So I ended up making baked flounder fillets with fresh pesto, brown rice risotto, more corn on the cob, plus salad and cole slaw.

The third night, I was cooking for 9 people, total, so I made grilled strip steaks, and a whole salmon fillet, along with grilled yellow squash, salad, coleslaw, and fresh corn bread, with leftover corn. (I tried to turn the fish and rice left over from the night before into fish cakes, but I ended up using all of my eggs in the double batch of corn bread, and the fish cakes disintegrated in the frying pan with nothing to hold them together.) For dessert, a strawberry-rhubarb cobbler with vanilla ice cream.

The final night, the goal was to finish off everything that was left over, so it was the most varied menu of the week. I grilled up some marinated bratwurst and italian sausages, plus the leftover steaks from the night before, as well as the last of the chicken (a wing and a thigh). The leftover salmon was turned into a cold salad with macaroni. I made some more grilled asparagus and yellow squash. For dessert, angel food cake with blackberry preserves, and fresh berries, topped with whipped cream.

As I said — this isn’t haute cuisine, by any stretch. And there also wasn’t a cookbook in sight. The recipes were stuff I either make so often, I know them by heart, or I improvised. Nevertheless, I end up pleasing everyone at the table, and they all leave happy and satisfied, so what more can you ask than that?

Holy Crap.

Sat, May 9 • 2

For her third anniversary of blogging, Pioneer Woman gave  away five 14-cup food processors last week. She asked people to post what they were making for dinner last Wednesday.

The contest rules specifically insisted on only one entry per person. Still, she got 18,710 entries!

Southern Restaurants

Mon, May 4 • 0

On a recent trip down south, my (other) brother, his son, and I managed to hit a couple of fine and famous eateries on a road trip to Nashville and Memphis, Tennessee, ending up in Huntsville, Alabama. Although we only went to each place once, we tried to go for variety in what we ordered.

We all agreed that the Loveless Cafe in Nashville was, hands down, the best meal we had. Down-home-style food, friendly waiter, and an endless supply of homemade buscuits. I had the country ham plate, with a side of collards and carrots. My brother, Tom, had their pit-smoked turkey breast with cranberry barbecue sauce. My nephew, TJ had the fried chicken. (TJ, 16, born in Richmond, but raised on Cape Cod, claimed it was the best fried chicken and the best biscuits he’d ever eaten in his life.) I have a feeling, if I were a local, I’d be a fixture at this place. So, so very good, and definitely worth revisiting. (Open 7 AM – 9 PM, 7 days a week. 8400 Hwy 100, Nashville, Tenn. 615-646-9700.)  Review @ / Loveless Cafe Menu

I’d intended to make this trip all about southern barbeque, but neglected to confirm this with my traveling companions, who only had a very limited appetite for the delicacy. Internet searches claimed that the best bbq in Nashville was in the touristy part of town. Called Jack’s, the ribs were pretty smokey, almost too smokey for my taste, and they were served dry, though there were several options of sauce to choose from. Tom had a pulled pork sandwich, and my nephew had the pulled chicken. They both thought it was pretty good.

The other bbq restaurant we tried was called Interstate, in Memphis, the city of bbq. I’d gotten several recommendations about this being the best place in the best city for bbq. I ordered the combination platter, so I could try everything they had to offer. It came with a couple beef and pork ribs, some pulled pork, and pulled beef, and some smoked sausage. It was all covered in a thin bbq sauce, so the plate looked bloody. The spicy sausage was the best, I think, while the pork ribs and the pulled beef were close runners up. It also came with a side order of bbq’d spaghetti, which I was told to specifically look out for. I wasn’t too impressed, unfortunately. Regular spaghetti coated in more of the sauce and bits of pulled pork, I think. I guess I was hoping for a transcendental experience, being in the best of the best bbq restaurants, so maybe I was expecting too much. I almost think I’ve had better bbq here in Virginia than the stuff I got that day. I’ve since read that some locals think the place has gone downhill in recent years.

I really should have sampled more places while I had the chance. The other places we ate were unmentionable — chosen for convenience rather than quality food — a necessity on a road trip. I do hope to get back to the Loveless Cafe again, though.

Foodie Lexicon, April ’09

Fri, May 1 • 0

A monthly look at new words and phrases about food.

Citrus Fruit Conspiracy n. A theory proposed by an Iranian official to explain how Israeli citrus fruit were (illegally) imported into Iran. “The media showcased the contraband citrus, the warehouses where it was stored were shut down, and the authorities pledged to bring to justice the miscreants involved. A senior Iranian politician even accused the opposition of a citrus fruit conspiracy.”

Georgia ice cream n. Rogers merely shifted the ideas that worked at Toddle House, such as waffles with pecans, into the Waffle House concept. He always served lots of grits, which Rogers likes to call “Georgia ice cream.”

cheat meal n. By setting aside one day a week to eat junk food or whatever you want you take control of your cravings and eat on your terms. This is often referred to as a cheat mealbecause you are deliberately cheating on you diet. This is a method of rewarding yourself for eating well during the rest of the week and provides a much needed psychological boost.

black and pink n. Pity the coffee vendor in New York who doesn’t know that a black and pink means a black coffee with a packet of saccharin.

Courtesy of The Double-tongued Dictionary and Schott’s Vocab.

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