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Thursday, September 04, 2008

Food flummery

Barry Foy's "The Devil's Food Dictionary: A Pioneering Culinary Reference Work Consisting Entirely of Lies" was reviewed yesterday in the Washington Post:

[Foy] hilariously skewers food writers, cuisines and sacred culinary traditions. The book's motto: "The most unreliable food book ever!"

Richmond, Va. wine blogger Genevelyn Steele had this observation:
I hate the word "foodie". I have a physical reaction each time I see the word on my computer screen, which is every day. [Foy's] definition of the word succinctly says it all.
"Foodie: A category of generally affluent hypergourmet that developed as a reaction to progress. This is primarily a North American designation; a foodie from Italy, by comparison, is known simply as an Italian."

To this list, I would add the word "acetaldehyde", when "green apple" would do just as well. Or "diacetyl", when "buttery" would actually describe the flavor in question. Or the neologism some beverage reviewers use: "mid-palate", which might indeed be an anatomical discovery. In this small world of food and beverage, there is no dearth of flummery.

Another 'definition' from Foy's book:
"Kitchen: Known for most of its history as the room devoted to food preparation, the kitchen has undergone several improvements and is now chiefly a display platform for color-coordinated appliances."

The lexicographer Dr. Johnson once wrote: "come, my lad, and drink some beer." Sage advice, and come to think of it ...

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