When food gets weird…!

I always find it interesting how dishes and styles of food go in and out of fashion and how, sometimes, food gets weird! The Elizabethans had their sweetmeats while the Victorians used oysters in almost everything. Obviously, recipes reflect the cost and availability of ingredients – oysters used to be cheap, while chicken was a luxury.

I love reading about food and I was chuckling over some funny terms recently…

A few years ago, ‘fusion’ cookery was all the rage. This always sounded a bit too much like physics to me, but it was the combination of various forms of cookery, so you might have South Asian and Pacific Rim, or Texan and Mexican (Tex-Mex). This is fine it theory, but chefs do get a bit carried away. I remember reading about curried porridge, spaghetti tacos and Japanese Scotch eggs. Hmmm…

Chocolate soil, copyright www.epicurus.com

One of the very ‘on-trend’ additions to posh restaurant dishes at the moment is soil. I think our friends on Masterchef are probably responsible for introducing this one! Call me old-fashioned (and people do!) but I instantly think of my flowerbeds, and I’m not sure I want a version of this, no matter how delicious, on my plate. It’s just… odd. Mostly, it is dark chocolate and I’d be a lot happier if we stuck to ‘sprinkles’ or possibly even ‘shavings.’ If you want to have a go at making some chocolate soil, there are recipes online. Here’s one from www.epicurus.com

Hand salad
Yes, I know, weird! Apparently, it’s just a salad you eat with your hands, dipping lettuce and cucumber into dressings. So really, it’s simply an American term for what we used to call crudités – dipping veg into dips and sauces. Here’s a recipe idea for hand salad from www.bonappetit.com

A nice bit of hand salad with buttermilk, grapefruit, and mixed seeds, copyright www.bonappetit.com

There are so many trendy terms out there, I sometimes feel I need a translation app to find out what’s on the menu!

Jus ­– why can’t we call it gravy or sauce any more?

Pithivier of chicken, squash and sage by Sally Abé, copyright www.greatbritishchefs.com

Pithivier – it’s a pie! If you want to make a posh pie, have a look here at www.greatbritishchefs.com

Foam – this isn’t quite as bad as soil, but… Anyway, it applies to things that are full of air bubbles… we used to call them things like whipped cream, meringue or mousse!

Deconstructed – this one makes me smile! All the ingredients of a classic dish, but the chef didn’t want to assemble it!

Big dipper
I had to sneak this one in as it left me speechless! For Easter this year, a certain supermarket was offering ostrich eggs for sale. They recommended 50 mins cooking time to produce a runny yolk, perfect for dipping into, like a large, vegetarian fondue. They even suggested using a baguette as a ‘soldier’ I don’t know why… but that struck me as very peculiar!


7 replies
  1. Caroline Reed says:

    Hi Joanna,
    Totally agree with you! Why can’t we just stick to plain old English
    description! You need a degree to decipher some of them! haha! xxx Really enjoy reading your blogs, always interesting and lots of facts that many of us may not know!
    Have a lovely bank holiday weekend too! Hope you had a fun time with Grace at Longleat! Enjoyed your last two shows with the safari and skyscapes! will have fun playing with all those dies! Just couldn’t resist buying those! Especially the Paris one as we went there a few years ago and had a wonderful time!
    from Caroline R.

  2. Sandy says:

    Hi Joanna,
    I’m with you on this one! I love watching Masterchef, but I get so annoyed with all the so called “on trend” terminology. Sometimes it’s just plain silly! Let’s call a spade, a spade!

  3. WheelyBad says:

    Hi Joanna

    Trendy food speak drives the Mister and I nuts. I’m glad we’re not the only ones yelling at the screen “it’s called (add good old fashioned English cooking terminology here)!” during Masterchef!

    Have enjoyed lots of good BBC programmes over the last couple of years focusing on how we ate in years gone by, which I guess kind of makes up for the annoying trendy food vocabulary!

    Always enjoy your thoughts Joanna even if I’m not always able to comment

    All the best x


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