Blog Excerpts

Beyond "Maize": Thanksgiving Vocab for Grown-Ups

There are many things we can all love about Thanksgiving, but word confusion is not one of them. That's why, as food talk get increasingly hysterical at this time of year, and recipe words blur before our eyes, we bring you clarity.

Or, for those of us who find a profusion of new and abundant vocabulary as welcome as the pilgrims found the assistance provided by Native Americans, call it a cornucopia of delight!

Here, Chef Eve Felder, associate dean of the Culinary Institute of America, explains how words like jerk, pipe, and cure might not mean what we think they do.

In a similar vein, we love this list of cooking words you might want to check the meaning of before you find yourselves up to your elbows in turkey fat.

If you're seeking refuge in a restaurant this year, you might want to first bone up on food words like fife and semifreddo, often presented without explanation in restaurant menus like the one New York Times critic Pete Wells once referred to as a "whirling hypno wheel of [words], where adjectives and nouns spin in a crazy vortex."

Meanwhile, food writers might want to follow Wells' advice to avoid overuse of rich, fragrant, aromatic, delicate, gentle, crisp, or crunchy.

But even as you digest your meal, the vocabulary challenge continues, with the debate over the mysterious tryptophan, which turns out to be nothing but the baloney served alongside our turkey, according to Gothamist writer Nell Casey who told readers last year to "Stop blaming the turkey for your Thanksgiving food coma."


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