Eatymology: The Dictionary of Modern Gastronomy

Eatymology: The Dictionary of Modern Gastronomy

by Josh Friedland


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Do you like your garlic Goodfellas thin? Have you ever been part of a carrotmob? Why are bartenders fat washing their spirits (and what does that even mean?)

Eatymology demystifies the most fascinating new food words to emerge from today's professional kitchens, food science laboratories, pop culture, the Web, and more. With 100 definitions, illustrations, and fun food facts and statistics on everything from bistronomy to wine raves, Eatymology shows you why it's absolutely imperative to adopt a coffee name and what it means to be gastrosexual, and is the perfect gift for everyone from foodiots to brocavores.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781492626244
Publisher: Sourcebooks
Publication date: 11/03/2015
Pages: 256
Sales rank: 1,169,029
Product dimensions: 8.10(w) x 5.00(h) x 0.90(d)

About the Author

Josh Friedland is an award-winning food writer and author and is the creator of "Ruth Bourdain," a Twitter mashup that won the James Beard Award for Humor. His work has has appeared in The New York Times, Washington Post, Olive (BBC), Time Out NY, epicurious, CHOW, and Tasting Table.

Read an Excerpt


The Dictionary of Modern Gastronomy

By Josh Friedland

Sourcebooks, Inc.

Copyright © 2015 Josh Friedland
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-4926-2625-1


100 NEW WORDS about FOOD

A·PORK·A·LYPSE (noun): A calamitous event involving a precipitous decline in the supply of pork.


Fears of a worldwide shortage of bacon in 2013, dubbed the aporkalypse, exploded in social media following the dissemination of a 2012 report by the UK's National Pig Association, which claimed that heavy drought conditions in Europe had so damaged corn and soybean feed crops that a sharp reduction of pork production was inevitable. The hysteria appeared to be unfounded, as the global pig supply actually increased from 970 million animals to 977 million in 2013, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. Nevertheless, bacon lovers live in fear that this could actually become their reality one day.


The word aporkalypse (and synonyms parmageddon and snoutbreak) had a brief appearance in 2009 as a buzzword for the panic over the worldwide swine flu pandemic.


The "Aporkalypse" is the name for an annual stunt launched in 2012 on the Sportsman Channel's Pigman series, where hunter and host Brian "Pigman" Quaca launches a helicopter assault on feral pigs. Aporkalypse is also the name for a sweet and savory bacon and chocolate porter created by the Brains brewery in Wales, and Aporkalypse Now is an oatmeal bacon stout sold by the Hogsback Brewing Company in Ottawa, Canada. Either beer might pair nicely with an Aporkalypse breakfast sandwich, launched in 2014 in Ontario, Canada, by the fast-food chain Carl's Jr. It contains egg, cheese, and a trifecta of pork products: sausage, bacon, and ham.

A·RU·GU·LANCE (noun): A perceived attitude of superiority and snobbery manifested in a predilection for pricey — yet delicious — peppery greens.


Arugula has come a long way from its humble roots as a weed in the Mediterranean to its status as a symbol of food snobbery in the United States. One of the earliest references to the word arugulance, a blend of arugula and arrogance, appeared in 2007 when conservative blogger Michael Bates chastised then-presidential candidate Barack Obama for his "typical liberal arugulance" at a Democratic primary campaign stop. "Anybody gone into Whole Foods lately and see what they charge for arugula?" Obama had asked a crowd in Adel, Iowa. "I mean, they're charging a lot of money for this stuff."

Arugulance got further traction in the media following a 2009 New York Times op-ed article by columnist Maureen Dowd profiling the renowned chef and food advocate Alice Waters. Defending herself against charges of elitism, Waters told Dowd, "I'm just put into that arugulance place. I own a fancy restaurant. I own an expensive restaurant. I never thought of it as fancy. People don't know we're supporting 85 farms and ranches and all of that."


The Oxford English Dictionary dates the first appearance of the word arugula in American English to a 1960 New York Times article by food editor Craig Claiborne on the culinary charms of the green and its many names (rucola, rocket, roquette, etc.). "The phrase 'secret ingredient' is a slightly ludicrous thing since it conjures up images of Mephistophelean brews," wrote Claiborne. "Most Italian chefs know, however, that arugula or rocket — call it what you will — is the secret ingredient of many of the salads-about-town."


Centuries before arugula made its way from peasant dish to bludgeon wielded in the class wars, it had an ancient reputation as an aphrodisiac. "Moretum," a poem ascribed to Virgil, contains a reference to eruca, the Latin name for arugula, in the line "et veneris revocans eruca morantuem" ("the rocket excites the sexual desire of drowsy people"). Think about that the next time you stroll the produce aisle at Whole Foods.

BA·RIS·TA WRIST (noun): A painful condition afflicting some coffee workers as a result of repetitive motions involved in making coffee drinks.


A survey of 475 coffee workers by the website found that 47 percent of those surveyed had experienced upper-body repetitive stress injuries that they attributed to their jobs. In addition, 20 percent had experienced heart palpitations or chest pains, and 62 percent believed "their job or caffeine intake had caused emotional problems such as mood variability, depression, or trouble interacting emotionally with others." Samantha Lino, a former Starbucks barista, told the New York Post in 2014 that her doctor recommended she leave her job because she was suffering from medial epicondylitis (also known as golfer's elbow) "caused in this case by the repetitive stress of lifting heavy pitchers of milk and making multistep drinks in complicated machines."


To avoid injuries while tamping coffee grounds to make espresso, some coffee shops teach their employees stretching techniques to avoid injury, employ yoga instructors to train employees in better posture, and alter counter height to improve the ergonomics of making drinks.

"My doc said surgery for carpal tunnel is pointless. I essentially had to let my body heal, which meant that I had to quit being a barista. Now I sit behind a desk and I wish every day to be out with my customers, exploring the coffee world, and seeing farms! But those jobs are so hard to find without being forced to deal with torn ligaments."


BEER MILE (noun): An athletic competition in which runners must run one mile while consuming four beers. Vomiting is penalized.


According to a 2014 article in Runner's World, the first beer mile competition took place in August 1989 when seven runners in their late teens and early twenties came together at Burlington Central High School in Burlington, Ontario, to chug and race their way around the track. Since the 1990s,, an online clearinghouse for suds-fueled contests, has logged more than ninety thousand entries and five thousand races in its database.


At the inaugural Beer Mile World Championships held on December 3, 2014, in Austin, Texas, Corey Gallagher, a twenty-seven-year-old Canadian mail carrier, won the men's title with a time of 5:00.23. Beth Herndon, a twenty-nine-year-old environmental geochemist from Fort Wayne, Indiana, was the top finisher in the women's division with a world record time of 6:17.76.


The Queen's Chunder Mile: Competitors must drink one twenty-ounce imperial pint of beer every quarter mile for one mile (vomiting allowed).

Clydesdale Division: A standard beer mile, but runners must be thirty-five years or older and weigh at least two hundred pounds.

The 3000 m Vodka Steeplechase: Runners must consume seven shots of vodka while completing a standard three-kilometer steeplechase race.

4 × 40 Beer Relay: A team event involving four runners per team. Each must drink one forty-ounce beer and run a quarter mile.

The Beer Half Marathon: Competitors must drink thirteen beers while running thirteen miles.

BEST·O·VORE (noun): One who eats foods they deem to be the best in taste and quality whenever possible, regardless of their geographical origin.


Bestovore (alternate spelling bestavore) was coined by food writer and former New York Times restaurant critic Mimi Sheraton, who described her philosophy of eating in an interview with the food blog "If it tastes good, then that's fine. I'm not a total locavore. I'll say that. I consider myself a bestovore. Never mind local if it is not the best. But if I were faced with a Pennsylvania peach or Georgia peach, I would take the Georgia peach every time and let them sort it out in Pennsylvania."


The opposite of a bestovore is a locavore, one who limits their consumption to foods grown locally. Locavore was the New Oxford American Dictionary2007 "Word of the Year."


Somewhere between the extremes of locavorism and bestovorism lies "glocal" cuisine, defined by the Globe and Mail in 2010 as cooking that blends international recipes with local ingredients: "In Canadian restaurants, chefs are matching food traditions from other countries with ingredients from nearby producers to create a new made-in-Canada global-local cuisine. Call it glocal.'"

"As someone with a love for the exotic (being of Scottish and Maori descent, raised in coastal New Zealand and trained in one of the worlds [sic] best culinary centres — Melbourne) the thought of having to create and produce food that stays close to my roots (whatever they are) would be like telling a painter not to use blue or red."


BIS·TRON·O·MY (noun): A Parisian restaurant trend toward reenvisioning bistros as places where creative chefs serve reinvented classic dishes at affordable prices.


The term evolved from bistronomique (a combination of bistro and gastronomique), coined by French journalist Sébastien Demorand, which morphed into bistronomie and is now anglicized as bistronomy. It was the title of a 2007 article by food writer and editor Christine Muhlke on the French food trend in the New York Times Magazine. French chef Yves Camdeborde is considered to be the father of the bistronomy movement, starting the trend in 1992 when he opened his Paris restaurant La Régalade serving high-end prix-fixe menus at low prices.


Bistronomic restaurants have become known as "néobistrots." According to a 2010 Wall Street Journal article on the trend, "the defining features of the néo-bistrot appear to be an innovative, cosmopolitan approach, with a refreshingly casual atmosphere and often prix-fixe menus that are priced at less than &8364;50 per person, which passes for cheap in Paris, at least."


In 2014, Australian food writer Katrina Meynink published Bistronomy: French Food Unbound, compiling one hundred recipes from néo-bistrots around the globe.

"The word bistronomy used to be almost an insult. Pejorative. I'm not a bistrotier monsieur, I'm a chef. What's funny is that this pejorative ring to bistro and attempt to separate us from them has gone the other way. Now the word bistro means quality and good atmosphere, it's astonishing."


BLOOD CASH·EWS (noun): Nuts processed by workers under abusive labor conditions.


Blood cashews are a play on the term blood diamonds, gems mined in war zones and sold to support military causes. The neologism was coined in 2011 by Human Rights Watch (HRW) after it investigated the conditions under which cashews were being processed in Vietnam, the world's largest exporter of the nuts. A report by HRW found that drug users were being punished and detained by the Vietnamese government in "treatment" centers where they were forced to process cashews under abusive and often dangerous conditions. Writing about the abuses for Global Post, Joe Amon, director of the health and human rights division at HRW, decried these so-called blood cashews: "Vietnam advertises itself as a tourist paradise and low-cost hub for manufacturing. But unless the government ends the torture and forced labor of drug users in the name of 'treatment,' it may be equally well known as well as the source of 'blood cashews.'"


In 2012, the Coalition to Abolish Modern-day Slavery in Asia called upon consumers worldwide to boycott cashews exported by Vietnam: "The ultimate goal of this boycott campaign against the 'blood cashews' from Vietnam is to free all Vietnamese detainees and prisoners, including political prisoners, from modern-day slavery."


Que Phong, who spent five years in one of the drug treatment centers, was given a daily quota of cashews to husk and peel. According to HRW, "Although the caustic resin from the cashews burnt his hands, he was forced to work for six or seven hours a day. Asked why he performed such hazardous work, he said, 'If you refused to work they slapped you. If you still refused to work then they sent you to the punishment room. Everyone worked.'"

BLUE·WASH·ING (noun): The dissemination of misleading information by food retailers about the environmental bona fides of the fish they sell.


Bluewashing is a corollary to greenwashing, marketing and public relations aimed at distorting the ecological commitment of a corporation. The term was coined in 2010 in an article in the journal Oryx on sustainable seafood initiatives. The study noted that in 2002, UK supermarket chain Sainsbury's had committed to sourcing all its wild fish from sustainable sources by 2010. But after working with the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC), a seafood sustainability nonprofit, MSC-certified fish only amount to 1 percent of Sainsbury's total fish sales.

"Just as consumers experienced fatigue in the 1990s after corporate eco-advertising amounted to little action or outcome, so may this decade witness the same fatigue in sustainable seafood campaigns," wrote the authors of the study. "The 'greenwashing' that corporations were accused of in the 1990s could turn into a 'bluewashing' today."


In 2013, the journal Biological Conservation published a study of nineteen formal objections made to the MSC concerning its certification practices since 1997 and concluded that the organization's imprimatur of sustainability "may be misleading both consumers and conservation funders." Reporting on the study, Nature noted that it "raises the possibility that the scheme will come to be regarded as 'bluewashing'— analogous to the derogatory term greenwashing' leveled at companies that attempt to put a sheen of environmental responsibility on their activities."


Bluewashing has also been used as a term to critique corporations that seek to burnish their ecological credentials by agreeing to the sustainable, fair labor, and human rights practices of the United Nations Global Compact.


In the same way that bluewashing misleads consumers about the ecological provenance of seafood choices, the term farmwashing refers to the deployment of idyllic images of farming to create false messages about how food products are made.

BONE BROTH (noun): A stock made from animal bones cooked for an extended period and consumed as a hot beverage.


While broth made from animal bones and meat has been around since the prehistoric era, it has gained popularity as a nourishing hot beverage (and coffee replacement) in paleo diet circles. The New York Times documented the new trend in a 2015 article: "To those who have taken up 'broth-ing,' it is the content of the bones — including collagen, amino acids, and minerals — that is the source of its health benefits. Extracting the nutrients from bones is accomplished through long cooking and by adding some acid to the pot, like vinegar, wine, or a bit of tomato paste, which loosens and dissolves the tough bits."


Advocates of the healing power of bone broth argue that boiling down animal bones, skin, cartilage, tendons, and ligaments into broth will help restore collagen in the body and benefit the musculoskeletal system. Scientists are not convinced. William Percy, an associate professor at the University of South Dakota's Sanford School of Medicine, told NPR, "Since we don't absorb collagen whole, the idea that eating collagen somehow promotes bone growth is just wishful thinking."


In 2014, New York City chef Marco Canora opened Brodo, which serves gourmet "sipping broths" by the cup with add-ins such as ginger juice, Calabrian chili oil, shiitake mushroom tea, freshly grated turmeric, grass-fed bone marrow, beet kvass (fermented beet juice), and organic garlic.


In 2015, Pistola restaurant in Los Angeles introduced "From the Kitchen with Love," a broth cocktail made with six ounces of lamb consommé and two ounces of Glenlivet fifteen-year-old single malt scotch.


Excerpted from Eatymology by Josh Friedland. Copyright © 2015 Josh Friedland. Excerpted by permission of Sourcebooks, Inc..
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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