Language is hard, though. Especially in this age of victimhood. I haven’t checked recently, but the rate of food allergies has always been around 2 percent in this country, yet we’re allegedly in an epidemic of food issues. Which leaves those hoping to cater to the sensitive at a loss for precise words. I saw a place about to open in Philadelphia with a sign boasting it would serve “allergen-friendly” fare, which I guess means it would happily provide sustenance to peanuts. And now I see “Disney Parks Becoming More Allergy Friendly.” Take your sneezes to Orlando?
Just learned the best word ever for kids: crotchfruit. ($Palin’s, of course.) // Behind paywall, but WSJ has a good story on Citymeals helping olds with their teeth. Can’t chew, can’t be nourished. // To the point where it’s only noteworthy when Marcus is not in the WSJ. // Whose bright idea was supersizing spice jars? // Surimi is not food. // You cap the K before lime because Key is a place. // Things that are one word: Potpie. Snickerdoodles. // Ridiculousness of the day: “amateur chef.” // New rule: If you have to sniff it, maybe you shouldn’t eat it.
All the buzz over Mr. Congeniality’s new restaurant almost makes me want to smoke a baguette. My consort and I were actually out the other week with one of his collegial collaborators and passed the scene of the first success, but none of us could recall the name, even though we all agreed the reviewer who set off his success was one of the greats. (Of course, I do know who that guy’s secret arme was.) And I could dwell on what it says about the fud world that after two incarnations as a 1 percent wine the joint is now saying “let ’em eat bread.” Instead, I’ll just have to MT myself: Every time I see the name I flash on the sign at the 14th Street Garden of Eden: Olive Bastard. Which would, come to think of it, make a very good chain.
Finally, I was outdone after Tweeting that every time I read about a chef with a “signature flare” I think of burning food. @acookblog responded: “It’s only used as a distress call. Like if he’s trapped on a dessert island or something.”
Relatedly 2: I Tweeted the other day that using “infamous” in a bar/restaurant press release should be an immediate firing offense unless you represent the cannibal cook/cop. But what inspired that gets worse: The client is not just infusing Campari with guanciale grease but adding mezcal to his new-wave Negroni to minimize the bitterness. If you want a Negroni that tastes like diabetes, why not just add ketchup, with a French fry as a swizzle stick?
You can love the gift, and the givers, and still hate the label. My less judgmental consort and I are now proud owners of an “artisan plank.” Which is a W-S fancy way of saying “breadboard.” It’s a beautiful piece, as perfect for slicing a baguette as for displaying a serious array of cheeses. But I have to wonder if the language abuse was worth it. Couldn’t the branding at least be adjectival? Call it al, maybe?
One more observation: When we asked for the menu at the bar at Chez Georges, we were handed a tablet. Many words were misspelled, and clicking turned up as much additional information on the wines by the glass as the Inky/PDN “touch screen” did on news o’ the day. But as I often quote-purloin: A dog does not have to speak in complete sentences; it’s impressive enough that he speaks. This is huge progress. Unfortunately, though, I suspect restaurants that adopt the technology will still use designers who think you want a goddamn PDF menu.
Much as I love the Murdoch Crier’s local news pages because they actually cover a beat the hometown paper has pretty much abandoned, I’ll also admit I read it because I also love counting how many copy-editing glitches make it into print when anything involving food is involved. Last week it was “charcuteries and salumis.” Which I guess are like swines and geeses. So when I saw a mention of “mou sauce,” I was sure the slot had nodded off again (or was still in shock from having proofed the wackadoodle editorial pages, with all those Uranus datelines). But whaddaya know — it is a thing. Not something worth explaining, of course, so I will even though I couldn’t find it in any of my many Italian cookbooks/references, including Waverley Root and the exhaustive “Silver Spoon”: It’s a toffee or caramel or butterscotch sauce, depending on which Google link you click. Of course, you have to click. . .
File under “once a copy editor, always a nuisance:” I passed an UWS cafe that has “dougnuts” emblazoned on the window in gold type not once but twice — Doug must be speaking in a very high voice. And if one corn picker is selling, it’s a farmer’s market. If more are trying to control their anger while watching urbanites shuck their ears, it’s a farmers’ market. Never is it apostrophe-free. Does anyone go to the mens room? Also, too, I am not sure I would want to eat any sushi joint offering “Grandma roll.” Is that Japanese for Soylent?
Dr. Vino over to the Twitter passed along the best oops in a long time: an invite to a lunch showcasing Burgundy “appalachians.” I thought it meant to hint at hiking a certain trail, but he topped me with the potential of a reality show: “The Burgundy Hillbillies.”
My favorite restaurant typo lately: “Curside” service (Willard would not allow). And the stories about how Apple executives met in swankola restaurants to try to destroy competition on e-books made me think the wrong way of spelling one term might actually be right: price-fixed. Also, too, and kind of unrelated, this FB update almost works as a short story: “Claiborne memoir bought in Fort Erie for $4 bears a raised seal, ‘From the library of Felipe Rojas-Lombardi’.” So much food history, so little remembrance . . .
The other upshot of this was the flurryette of emails I got over to the Facebook. One brought up the most “galling” part of the original piece, to which I had to respond that I, too, know better about she who farts in public (or so her friend told me). There be elves in that smoke-filled townhouse.
Some recycling here: In one day I saw “enterance” and “osco bucco” and also Rocco’s food truck, and that last is the fork stuck in that trend: It’s done. Also in my travels around this little island I came across a mention of a “pea soup floater” and would not want to find that even in the litter box. I also see we can just skip Lent — the Easter candy has arrived. I was mostly amused while others were outraged that a nobody made the front page for losing her teevee gig over plagiarized recipes. It’s full circle for Ms. Perfect, from perp to victim. And finally: “Taste bud map of Italy” sounds like a boot in your mouth.
Math was never my strong suit, not least because I barely got out of high school thanks to geometry fail, but even I know one missing letter will spoil the whole message. So whenever I read about the “Buffet rule” for taxes, I envision all 330 million Americans bellying up to the bacteria bar with their accountants — free (cold) cuts for all.
Idle thoughts: I’m guessing Holy Foods bagels are not really “hearth-baked.” Red Waddle would actually be a better name for a heritage breed (especially if we’re talking mandrills). Plus it turns out “a new way to eat a burger” is not with your toes; it involves trying to turn beans into a Reuben sandwich and confusing the headline writer, not to mention the reader. And please alert the Page One editors: A hero may be just a sandwich, but it isn’t made with a bun.