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10 of the Worst Food Terms

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If you catch yourself saying one of these terms, stuff your piehole with more doughnut soil.

Then hightail it to the local gastropub for craft beer.

And end the night with a deconstructed, farm-to-table, organic, signature salad. 

Don't forget to blog about the flavor profile. 

Flavor profile

What’s a snootier thing to say than “flavor profile” when describing a masticated bite of food?

For instance: I’d say the well-balanced flavor profile of this macaroni salad includes fresh jarred mayo that’s on the savory side, a perfectly diced green bell pepper that gives it that bitter edge, and nicely boiled-in-sea-salt-water elbow macaroni that allows for an edible texture for this completely bland and ordinary side dish.

Sorry. No matter the flavor profile, it’s still macaroni salad.

Artisan/artisanal/hand-crafted/gourmet/signature/authentic/locally sourced/organic

Indie coffee shops are particular offenders/abusers of these words that are basically empty calories when the shops are trying to sell a basic cup of upscale coffee.

The only way these could work is if someone literally wrote something like this on a menu:

Artisan, artisanal, hand-crafted, gourmet, signature, authentic, locally sourced, organic Americano: $3

Because that would be funny.


This is the top offender in our book. “Gastro” by itself is a horrible word. “Pub” is boring. “Gastropub” as one compounded word: blood-boiling.

Plus, what’s all that special about a restaurant that offers a menu with food, beer and cocktails that’s of a slightly higher quality?


The “finish” of a drink – whether someone pretends to actually taste the wood of a cask-matured single malt whiskey (unlikely) or the pesticide-free soil in which sustainable rose hips were hand-watered and cultivated before making it into an environmentally friendly tea bag (faker) – seems to be the dreaded first cousin to “flavor profile.”


Wow. An eatery that offers Asian dishes and Cajun yummies! And another that serves up Tex and Mex!


The marketing strategy of fusion cuisine has been around long enough that it’s now a cliché, but it’s somehow still hanging around.


“I like my paper plane cocktail to be lemon-y.”

“Try this! The bartender subtracted some sweet vermouth and instead added a touch of Fernet-Branca. This Manhattan is so licorice-y!”

“You should’ve seen the tiny craters inside of the brown rice kernels absorb the oozing yellow cascade from the over-easy egg. It was cascade-y.”


Instead, here are some suggested replacements:

Potent lemon.

Licorice (which, by itself, implies a strong and distinctive flavor).

Oozing yellow cascade.

Random, made-up-sounding ingredients

"Doughnut soil" in ice cream. A wash of pre-Prohibition-style, Pennsylvania steel mill smokestack smoke in a Boulevardier. Dehydrated New England apple bitters.

These can’t be real. If they are, we’ll instead gladly lunch at Taco Bell and happy hour at Applebee’s.

Craft beer

News alert: Small-batch beer, which Belgian monks basically invented centuries ago, is a mass marketing movement that so many folks have fallen for.


A Caesar salad is dropped off on a table. Instead of a normal bed of greens, Parmesan, dressing and a protein choice, something called “molecular gastronomy techniques” transforms the “look and feel” of the salad.

For instance, according to a post on cheftalk.com, the dressing can be turned into a “gel disc” that “flows apart” when a fork is passed through it.

We’re supposed to wonder: Is that Caesar salad I’m eating really a Caesar salad?

Somehow, "deconstructed" doesn’t make us think of the food at the front end. It makes us think of the food after it has reached the back end.

Farm-to-table and slow foods

We’d rather make ourselves sick on farm-to-freezer and -fryer fast food than to drop a bunch of cash on a teeny plate of farm-to-fork.

Fast casual

This restaurant concept – led by Chipotle, Five Guys, Panera Bread, Qdoba, Au Bon Pain and so many others – apparently offers better-for-you meals compared to fast-food trash. 

They can often be twice as expensive as a fast-food meal. But that’s okay because a greaseball of a burger from Five Guys and fast-casual pastries that are baked using tubs of dairy is so much healthier. Yeah?

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