There are words, cliches and phrases that we, as food writers, use far too often, and while we're all probably guilty of making your nostrils flare when we use some of the very same vocabulary that we're now going to criticize, it's when other food writers use these annoying and overused words and phrases that we cringe. You all, no doubt, have plenty of jargon to add to the list of irritants.
But first, here's ours.
If you have even the slightest grasp of the English language, there is absolutely no reason that you should ever, under any circumstances, use the word "nom" -- unless you also meow for your dinner.
Yum, yummy, yum-O, yummers, yumbolicious, or any other variation of yum Yuck. Just yuck.
Veggie This is a personal pet peeve, which I think has something to do with the laziness of abbreviating perfectly fine words that simply don't require it. Aside from that, it sounds so babyish.
Artisanal It's just so...precious.
Anything grilled, roasted, braised, broiled, fried or done "to perfection." So trite, so overused, so meaningless.
Mouthwatering Reminds me of drool, which is what a lot of us do while we sleep but should never do while we eat.
Mouthfeel If you're going to describe the texture of food, then please, for the love of God, don't use the word "mouthfeel." It's creepy.
Orgasmic When was the last time that you put food in your mouth -- real food -- and climaxed? I'm okay with "mouthgasm," but leave "orgasmic" out of the act.
Homemade We all use it, including me, but here's the thing: Just because something is homemade, or housemade, or, for that matter, hand-crafted, doesn't mean that it's good, but whenever we write "homemade" or see the word on a menu, we assume that because it's made in-house, it can't be bad. Who are we kidding? And for the record, if the guy in the kitchen made it at home, I'm not altogether sure I want it.
Fork-tender Gag me with a spoon.
Tasty Wow, that's helpful. How does it taste? Well, it's tasty. Thanks for nothing.
Moist Every time I see the word "moist" used in food writing, I think of bacteria...and where it loves to reside. I know! Disgusting!
Lip-smacking Anyone who writes "lip-smacking" should be bitch-slapped.
Delish An incredibly annoying Rachael Ray-ism that has made its way into the lexicon of food writers everywhere.
Falling off the bone If something is "falling off the bone," take my word for it, that's not a good thing.
Eatery Nothing worth putting into your mouth has ever been served in an eatery; it's a word that conjures up visions of factory food, and every time I hear it, all I can think of is T.G.I. Friday's, the Cheesecake Factory and similar chains whose chairs are squished by oversized asses.
To die for If I want food that's "to die for," I'll take my chances on fugu.
Sinful That's an adjective that can go straight to hell.
Foodie Perhaps the worst offender on this list. As long as you're not stuffing gray matter from McDonald's down your throat, you're a self-described "foodie." Get off your high chair.
Unctuous "Unctuous," when used correctly, is a fine descriptive, but all too often, it's misused.
Gourmet That and "haute" belong in the archives.
Nosh Do you also gnash when you nosh?
Guilt-free Especially when whatever "guilt-free" chocolate cake you've just consumed is simultaneously "decadent."
Flavorful Is that the opposite of flavor-empty?
Crispy "Crispy" is the result of skin scorched by a tanning bed. Crisp will do just fine, thanks.
Tapas Misused -- and overused -- to describe small plates that zigzag every cuisine. Truth is, there are very, very few bona fide tapas restaurants in the United States. It's a word, too, that makes people think they're getting tiny portions -- and paying way too much for them.
Washed it down The images of washing your food down with anything -- ANYTHING -- is just gross. Food is intended to be eaten -- not swished around in your mouth with the assistance of a liquid substance.
Umami The "elusive" fifth taste is nothing more than a pretentious way of describing a flavor that's savory.
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Drenched It just sounds icky, and I don't know of anyone who wants their food "drenched" with anything. If you want something drenched, feel free to stand in the rain.
Sammie That's what you call your pet ferret -- not a sandwich.