Ok, here it goes. Moist. There, I said it. Sorry about that.
Until recently this was the only food-related word I found unbearable to read let alone say. As far as I was concerned, all food words were delectable. Especially “delectable”. However, all that has changed in the past few months, following the widespread overuse of five particularly annoying culinary terms. You’ve seen them. You’ve probably used them in the form of a hashtag. Worse still, perhaps you’ve used them all at the same time, tagged excessively under a single Instagram pic.
Whatever the case, I am here to put a stop to the madness. Continuing on in the somewhat negative vein of my last post (which generated my first enraged reader comment – yay!), I present to you: the food words I never want to hear again.
1. Food porn
(Instagram hashtag: 16,718,239 posts)*
Let’s kick this list off with the big kahuna as far as insanely overused food buzzwords go - “food porn.” For those playing at home, the term originated in reference to food styling and advertising, a humorous play on the titillating spectacular visual presentation of cooking or eating in visual media. In that context, food porn is fine by me.
Unfortunately its use has extended far beyond this milieu, as a quick internet search reveals. Among the millions of results are; a Starbucks cup, a bowl of cereal, a Kit Kat in its packet, and sloppily arranged dinner plates. Are you feeling aroused yet? No, I didn’t think so. In short: not all food is food porn. Ceviche? I mean, capisce?
Sorry Nazakarr but your half consumed beverage and desk fruit are not food porn
Beyond this, the word itself is a little immature, almost like the culinary equivalent of phallic paraphernalia at a hen’s party. “Ohmigod it’s a penis/delicious cake! How outrageous! Teeheheehehe.” As far as I am concerned the only thing that can truly be considered food porn is this video. Enjoy it in private. Unlike all other food porn examples, this one is actually NSFW.
2. Om nom nom nom
(Instagram hashtag: approx 1,500,000 posts)
Ladies and gentlemen, presenting the “talking in a baby voice” of food words. Om nom nom nom – a phrase so obnoxious I can barely type it let alone say it out loud – is just the worst. For those of you who may not have heard it before (in which case, lucky you and apologies for bringing it to your attention), the actual definition of this strange collection of letters is:
“An onomatopoeical adjective based on the sound emitted when something is “oh so tasty” (either through hunger or flavorological value) that one gnaws through it without regard to cleanliness or etiquette. This sort of ravenous eating will often result in an “om nom nom nom” noise being emitted from the eater.”
Ok, two things. One: how excellent is the term “flavorological value”? There’s a phrase I can get behind. Secondly: yuck. Have we become so lazy that we can’t describe the taste, flavor or texture of food using actual words anymore? Instead, all we can muster up is a series of grunts and moans like the Cookie Monster (who, strangely, I will reference twice in this article). And I might add, “without regard to cleanliness or etiquette.” Are we animals?!
Finally, whatever happened to “yum”? Yum is a fantastic, succinct, Oxford-dictionary recognized term to describe pleasure at eating. Try it sometime, it takes up less characters in a Tweet and won’t make you sound like a five year old.
No I most certainly will not!
(Instagram hashtag: 5,093, 982 posts)
Chances are if you’re reading this, you probably consider yourself a foodie. Given I studied at Le Cordon Bleu, write a food blog and regard Jamie Oliver as a religious figure, I too would consider myself a foodie. But guess what? So does everyone else. While there’s nothing particularly wrong with this word itself, it has become so overused that it has lost all meaning, like “totes” or “YOLO”.
Nowadays if you eat at restaurants frequently and own a couple of cookbooks, you’re a “foodie”. But, if everyone is a foodie, then no one is a foodie. I don’t mean to continually pick on them, but it was all over once the crew behind Four Ingredients identified themselves as “foodies.” Spinach leaves + strawberries + a tin of tuna + pepper does not a salad make!
Simon here is a self proclaimed #foodie. #ifsimonisafoodieeveryoneisafoodie
4. Clean eating
(Instagram hashtag: 4,892,720 posts)
Until very recently I operated under the naïve assumption that all food was perfectly acceptable if consumed in moderation. Then along came “clean eating,” a term so irritating it cooks my quinoa. In this strange era when the Cookie Monster describes cookies as a “sometimes food” (he’s a Cookie Monster for chrissake), and every second person you meet has coeliac disease, “clean eating” is all the rage.
For the record, I have no problem with cooking and eating healthily. It is a noble and life-enhancing pursuit. What bothers me here is the term itself. It’s ever-so preachy, and the associated movement has worrisome cult-like tendencies. The tagline for Clean Eating Magazine is “improving your life one meal at a time,” for example. I’m pretty sure I read that on a Scientology brochure once.
Also of concern is the implied judgment that food is either “good” or “bad” – “clean” or “dirty”. Surely it’s not as dichotomous as that. Labels like these only serve to stigmatize certain foods, which (from what I can tell based on an advanced understanding of human psychology), only makes you want them more. I love the thought of hardcore clean-eating proponents secretly bingeing on white bread or, I don’t know, non-activated almonds, late at night. How uncouth!
(Instagram hashtag: 1,163,380 posts)
Paleo, definition one: A modern nutritional plan based on the presumed ancient diet of wild plants and animals that various hominid species habitually consumed during the Paleolithic era.
Paleo, definition two: A highly popular food buzzword that makes me want to eat poisoned berries. Luckily, these would be accepted under the paleo diet.
My problem with paleo is that, like the other words on the list, it has been excessively overused, mostly in reference to food that a monkey could identify as being “paleo.” I actually found a picture of a whole lemon fruit on Instagram that had (among many, many others) the hashtag #paleo under it. Seriously? A lemon in its raw state is paleo? Phew! I’d been worried I was ruining my strict diet by sucking down on some afternoon lemons! Likewise, a kale salad is so obviously paleo there is no need to hashtag it as such. It’s like when packets of plain rice say “gluten free” – was there any doubt that it wouldn’t be? Rice does not contain gluten!
There’s hope for this one though. I could really see myself liking the word if its adopters truly committed to the paleo lifestyle. In addition to eating raw fruit and vegetables, they could abandon all modern amenities, move into caves and use primitive stone tools. That hashtag will have so much more resonance if you don an animal skin and scrawl it onto a rock wall.
Seriously?! New rule: a word becomes even more irritating once it has been turned into one of these
*all stats as of 12 Nov, 2013.