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Top 5 Most Obnoxious Food Portmanteaux

An example of a good food portmanteau
An example of a good food portmanteau
Image by Joanna O'Leary

I have no objection to a clever and useful portmanteau. Tween, hazmat and Spanglish come to mind, not to mention less obvious ones embedded in everyday parlance such as dumbfound (dumb + confound) and goodbye (God + be(with) +ye). In the food world, however, there are many, many portmanteaux that are stupid, unnecessary and/or just plain obnoxious. Here are five in particular that annoy me:

5. Spork (spoon + fork). Not the worst but not the best either. There's risk of mistaking the fused elements as "spam" and "pork" or "sausage" and "pork." Plus, its necessity is dubious: Are people really using these things anymore? Hopefully, the term's extinction will follow as the utensil's popularity declines.

4. Turducken (turkey + duck + chicken). I know I'll get some pushback on this one given that turduckens can be quite tasty. My main issue with this word is its sound, specifically the scatological allusion with the initial morpheme turd. Poop does not get me in the mood for Thanksgiving.

3. Kentaco Hut (Kentucky Fried Chicken + Taco Bell + Pizza Hut). I cannot deny these things exist and we need to call them something. But that something should not be "kentaco hut," which suggests some sort of depraved Star Wars-themed restaurant.

2. Lupper (lunch + supper). I'm cool with brunch and brinner; the former describes a meal that has evolved into a unique dining experience and the latter is a useful descriptor for eating bacon and eggs at night. Are we really eating such vastly different things at lunch and supper that we require a middle term to merge them linguistically? Also, when is this meal served so it won't be confused with a late lunch or an early dinner? Just between 3 p.m. and 5 p.m.? That's teatime, fools.

1. P'zone (pizza + calzone). Thank Pizza Hut for this ridiculous neologism. Albeit similar in taste and ingredients, pizzas and calzones are two separate dishes with distinct culinary and cultural traditions. What Pizza Hut actually made in combining them is more like a stromboli. Are there any Italian-Americans in their R&D department? Sigh.


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