Five Disagreeable Food Dysphemisms

"Sweetbreads," "Cowboy Caviar." I understand the point of most food euphemisms: to make decent-tasting dishes get a fair shot from diners despite their unappetizing ingredients. I myself would certainly rather put my mouth around a "rocky mountain oyster" than a fried bull's testicle. What I find more confusing is when we give offensive or negative names to otherwise appealing or neutral foods. Granted, some of these labels are designed to amuse their child consumers, but if you think too hard about their association with the dish in question, your stomach might start to churn. Here are Five Food Dysphemisms I think we could live without.

5) "Ants on a Log." (Celery smeared with peanut butter and dotted with raisins.)

I get that this name is supposed to conjure an image of happy little insects perched on a log, but at some point maybe we should ask ourselves why we insist upon calling this configuration something other than what it is. Peanut butter pretty has universal appeal. (Except for those poor bastards in whom it induces anaphylactic shock.) And, do children really find eating ants really more appealing than eating raisins? Do they crave bark over celery? Well, maybe so. It's been a while since my age was in the single digits.

4) "Trash Can Punch." (Sprite, fruit, vodka, grain alcohol.)

Trash Can Punch certainly lacks the gustatory panache of a well-mixed martini, but in terms of taste and ingredients, it's not terribly dissimilar from other reasonably satisfying fruity cocktails. Since I'm no longer in college and therefore don't need to make enough to get the whole dorm drunk, I might even serve Trash Can Punch in wine glasses. But I'm certainly not going to call it something that suggests Hefty Cinch Sacks were involved in preparation.

3) "Puppy Chow." (Rice cereal squares covered in chocolate and peanut butter, and dusted with powdered sugar.)

One time in second grade I ate some dried dog food on a dare. From that day forward, I thanked God I was born a human. "Puppy chow" is the zenith of sweet-savory snack mixes and in no way resembles those dry, disgusting crunchy things people feed their canines.

2) "Mud Pie." (Varies. Usually coffee or chocolate ice cream, cookie crust, and fudge sauce.)

Mud pies are what children make when forced to play in damp backyards that lack swing sets. They are not are not delicious ice cream cookie concoctions that demand second helpings.

1) "Spotted Dick." (Baked suet -- beef fat -- pudding with raisins or currants, usually served with a hard sauce or vanilla custard.)

If you can stop giggling long enough, order some "spotted dick" next time you're at an English pub. Its delightful taste will leave you wondering why the original name hasn't been replaced with something more descriptive and less bawdy. Sure, "Vanilla Currant Pudding" won't turn heads like "Spotted Dick," but at least no one will ever think you're eating a leopard's reproductive organ.

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Joanna O'Leary