For the grand prize of $1 million, can you properly pronounce and list the ingredients in bibimbap and sriracha and describe what “EVOO” and “arancini” have in common?
It is now not good enough to simply post cellphone images of plates of food on social media. If you want “table cred” among true foodies, you have to be able to accurately drop culinary buzz words into dinner conversations. The know-how may also come in handy if you are ever on Jeopardy.
Merriam-Webster recently decided to accept 250 “new” commonly used words and phrases. The food-related items on the list are a disturbing mix of trending terms, words that dictionaries should already contain, and one completely obscure fruit.
It makes sense that “acai” and “arancini” would be included — they’re hot — but “farmers market”? What has Merriam-Webster called that event where gathered growers sell to local consumers for the last 100 years or so?
Then there is the callery pear, a fruit native to China and Southeast Asia that is totally unfamiliar to me. I’m happy to admit ignorance, but sources I consulted say the tree is invasive, the bitter fruit is virtually inedible, and the flowers stink in the spring. Why is this word being added to the “food” dictionary while “pumpkin spice” is not?
My generation gap is also showing. I was unaware that “pregame” — when used as a verb — means imbibing alcohol prior to a game, party or workshop.
Study the following list. There will be a quiz.
• Sriracha: For a while I said sir-ah-chah and then sri-rah-cha before I started pronouncing it properly as see-rah-cha. The red table sauce is usually made from chilies, garlic, sugar, salt and vinegar.
• Froyo: How fans of The Hobbit refer to “frozen yogurt.”
• California roll: The white bread of sushi rolls is defined as “avocado, cucumber and cooked crabmeat or imitation crabmeat with a wrapping of seaweed and rice.”
• Bibimbap: Pronounced bee-beem-bahp, this Korean dish is rice with cooked vegetables, usually meat, and often topped with a raw or fried egg. Bibimbap is served in Boulder at Korea House Restaurant, A Cup of Peace and the Goody Monster.
• Choux pastry: Everything looks and tastes classier in this light eggy dough used for cream puffs and pastry. Buy it frozen and impress guests.
• Cordon bleu: Meat or vegetables stuffed with ham and Swiss cheese before cooking — as in: breaded chicken cordon bleu pan-fried in EVOO.
• Saigon cinnamon: All cinnamons are not the same. The bark of a Vietnamese tree (Cinnamomum loureirii) yields a sweet and spicy cassia. Mix it with other cinnamons for a bigger flavor in apple dishes.
• Cross contamination: As in: “Don’t make salad on the cutting board you just used to chop raw chicken while pregaming or you’ll be sorry post-game.”
• Acai: Pronounced ah-kuh-ee, it’s a superfood berry that always gets mixed with another flavor because it really doesn’t taste that great.
• Arancini: Truly yummy Italian fried rice balls.
• Artisanal: When you see this word on frozen dinners you know that “artisanal” — like “natural” and “gourmet” before it — has jumped the shark and become meaningless.
• EVOO: Not a Pokemon character, EVOO is short for “extra virgin olive oil” and a word not used conversationally by savvy foodies.
Local food news
Next Door American Eatery (from The Kitchen group in Boulder) has opened at 1232 S. Hover St., in Longmont. … Congratulations to the local breweries that took home medals at the Great American Beer Festival: Cellar West Artisan Ales, Twisted Pine Brewing, Wibby Brewing and Finkel & Garf Brewing, which won a gold for its Oatmeal Milk Stout. … Coming soon: Waffle Lab, 1335 Broadway, Boulder; Coabana Cuban Fusion Restaurant, 701 Main St., Louisville. … Arugula Restaurant was his dream restaurant, but chef Alec Shuler will shutter it in July when his lease is up or when the business is sold. He will concentrate on Tangerine, his brunch/lunch eatery, opening a second location soon is Lafayette. Plus, he has four kids. … First Bite Restaurant Week Nov. 10-18 features $29 three-course meals at more than 40 Boulder County eateries including Bacco Trattoria, Cafe Aion, Emmerson, Riffs Urban Fare, River & Woods, Basta, Boulder Cork and Leaf. firstbiteboulder.com. … Learn to make roasted winter squash ravioli in brown butter sauce with crisp fried sage leaves and everyone you feed will love you forever. The class is Oct. 28 at Southern Hills Middle School. bvsd.org/lll/Pages/default.aspx.
Sad Colorado cheese news
Avalanche Cheese Co. will no longer make cheese after the goat milking season ends in December. The company has produced goat cheddar, blue cheese, robiola and chèvre that won awards at national competitions. Owner Wendy Mitchell wrote in the Aspen Times: “We aspired to do something special with our cured meats and cheeses. At the other end of the food chain, we appreciate there is a limit to what customers will pay for food that is made in this way. … It comes down to a struggle to be profitable while sticking to our principles about how to manage a farm, how to treat employees and how to care for animals. … So, we’ve decided to wind down the operation rather than run a business that we’re not proud of.”
Local food news
Think chai minus the black tea or milk and you have Boulder-bottled all-organic Hanuman Ayurvedic Karha. Found in the refrigerated drink section, this potent, uplifting brew includes lemon juice, turmeric, ginger, cinnamon, cloves, saffron, cardamom, tulsi and a hefty pop of black pepper.
Words to chew on
“Eat food leisurely, son, and really enjoy it. A well-cooked meal has lots of delicate flavors that have to be held in the mouth for appreciation. So chew your food and give your salivary glands a chance to function.” —Tennessee Williams, The Glass Menagerie
John Lehndorff hosts Radio Nibbles at 8:25 a.m. Thursday on KGNU (88.5 FM, 1390 AM, kgnu.org).