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9 Words We All Really Need to Stop Using When Talking About Food and Drinks. Please.

Artisan Tostitos? Really?
Artisan Tostitos? Really?

When you spend as much time as I do reading restaurant menus and websites and press releases, you start to notice that certain words get used quite a bit with regard to food and drink.

And then you start to look closer at those words and you realize that in many cases they're being used incorrectly or out of context. It's a shame, too, because sometimes we're talking about really good words that used to have important meaning. Then over time they've been bastardized and have come to mean nothing at all. There are also a few words that should just never, ever be used when talking about food. So read them here and them please erase them from your memory forever.

Thanks, on behalf of literate people everywhere.

See also: Food Words You Shouldn't Use, According to New York Times Critics Past and Present

Artisan

You buy artisan Tostitos at the grocery store and Artisan Breakfast Sandwiches at Starbucks. Need I say more?

Mouthfeel

I'm not sure if/when this was ever an acceptable word to use (Editor's Note: NEVER), but for the umpteenth time I'd like to reiterate that it's not to be used anymore. If you want to describe how a dish or drink feels in your mouth then just use the the word "texture." There really isn't a situation in which you can't substitute one word for the other, so just stop.

Farm-to-Table

Once upon a time this phrase used to be reserved to describe restaurants that put extra care into simplifying the process of attaining local, fresh produce and getting it onto your plate. It meant cutting out the middlemen and going directly to the food producers, which is a great thing. Unfortunately, these days the phrase has become little more than a tired cliche. Any restaurant can claim it's sourcing produce from local farms by slapping the words "farm-to-table" on a menu or website, but a better way to tell if a chef or restaurant is actually using local produce is to ask your server, or better yet, the chef.

 

Note that this cocktail comes in a coupe as opposed to a normal water glass. That's one sign you're drinking a craft cocktail.
Note that this cocktail comes in a coupe as opposed to a normal water glass. That's one sign you're drinking a craft cocktail.
Heather Hoch

Craft

Oh, so you serve "craft" cocktails do you? Well, I don't know what that means anymore. It used to mean that I could expect a drink made with fresh-squeezed juices and high quality spirits, fresh fruit and maybe even barrel-aged liquor. It used to mean that my drink would also come in appropriate glassware filled with the appropriate type of ice. Unfortunately the word "craft" doesn't guarantee any of that anymore so I say we stop pretending it still means anything at all. Here's a hint: If your recipe is just whiskey with triple sec, it's not a "craft" cocktail.

If you're confused about what a craft cocktails is please visit one of these bars.

Toothsome

Seriously, can someone explain to me what this word even means or how it came into being? If you're trying to say something tastes good there are so many other less ridiculous words to use. Try "delicious" or even "really good." Anything but "toothsome." (Editor's Note: Except yummy.)

Tapas

What most Americans think of as "tapas" is just sad. Really. There's a big difference between small, shareable plates and actual Spanish-style tapas. While I would really love if someone opened up a tapas bar in Phoenix, one where you order your drink and get a plate of delicious food with it for free, I would really not love another restaurant that serves overpriced miniature servings of food. And if you're going to serve mini-plates, let's just not call them tapas.

See also: Laurie Notaro's Eight Food(ie) Terms Past Their Expiration Dates

 

The Eagle in Clerkenwell, London is said to be the original gastropub.
The Eagle in Clerkenwell, London is said to be the original gastropub.
Ewan Munro/Flickr

Gastropub

Just take one good look at the word "gastropub" and it should be evident that you're not one unless you're also a pub, as in a drinking establishment. That means that, no, your restaurant that serves American food and has a two beers on tap is not a gastropub. Your Mexican restaurant is also not a candidate, as far as I'm concerned.

Slurpable

I'm really not even sure what you could possibly be trying to convey when choosing to use this word to describe a dish. A bowl of Campbell's chicken noodle soup is slurpable, as is a cup of gasoline. Neither is very good to eat, though, so let's skip this as an adjective for food.

Authentic

I'll admit I'm guilty of using this one, but I think we should all make a conscious effort to use the word sparingly. To call one restaurant's version of a dish more "authentic" than another seems unfair since one version may be quite authentic to the recipe used by the chef's family or even throughout a specific region. And if that's the case, feel free to say so. But generally, I think this is one word that's tossed around a little too freely.

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