Monday, June 04, 2007

On Food Writing

I regularly trawl the web for all things food. And like most of the stuff out there, food writing ranges from terrible to the downright dreamy (that's the kind I like). I understand its difficult to describe something as personal and ephemeral as taste, hence the need for comparisons and quantifiers. Unfortunately the web is littered with too many examples of bad food writing and the liberal (and often atrocious) use of the following in the context of food is plain nausea inducing:

Nutty- if you expound the virtues of every morsel of food that goes through your gullet as nutty, I cannot help but wonder if you are referring to your state of mind instead.

Earthy - you mean smelling of fresh earth or from earth..right? So here's the spiel, if you refer to an exquisite knob of fungus (that probably cost you your first offspring in addition to some limbs) as earthy it's allowed. White button mushrooms from Safeway, that potato kurma which was lovingly assembled for hubby or even a plain dish of rice pilaf should under no circumstance be earthy. Try yummy, tasty, scrumptious instead. Might not sound high-falutin' but its believable.

Succulent - when paired with words like long, large, juicy etc. this one can create some really wrong and disturbing images and traumatise innocent minds forever.

Moist-est - ditto for moist-est. Is it even a word?

Ethereal - is star dust the latest food fad?

Spiritual experience - If a bowl of organic pasta and vegetables dressed with artisanal olive oil really did the trick Deepak Chopra would be out of a job and you would not feel the urge to pay your shrink either.

Orgasmic - really! I want some of what you ate...right now!!

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