Eater National's Banned Food Words List. All of Your Favorites but Banned! Go Fondue Yourself, Eater! This is AMERICA!
We don't need no thought control!
Praise god! It's food writer fatwa time! That's when a foodie website decrees from on high what words are coolio and which ones are lame-o. The last time I read a list of so-called "banned food writing words" was courtesy of Grub Street New York. In fact, I was so grateful for list compiler Alan Sytsma's work that I incorporated every single, juicy, forsaken word into a glorious restaurant review. I thought it turned out quite well, even literary.
Speaking of literary, what is with these New York food blogs dictating which words are acceptable to use? I know New York is a literary town, but Los Angeles is a visual city, and we're not nailing dicta to trees ordering food pornographers how to snap a sexy plate of oysters or restaurant's banquettes. Although we should, right, Martha?
So, the latest dicktater (yes, that's a portmanteau of dick and tater tots) to deliver his commandments of the words thou shalt not write is Eater National's former editor, Raphael Brion (visually rhymes with prion, the thing responsible for Mad Cow Disease).
Here's Brion's abridged list (because the entire list is too snarky—Brion hates "snarky", even though his list is snark-riddled):
- toque (please do not ever refer to a chef as a "toque." A toque is a hat. Give people the respect they deserve and use a proper title.)
- douche, douchebag, douchey (be more creative!)
- foochebag (a portmanteau of "foodie" and "douchebag" - use foodiot instead)
- suck, sucks (be more creative.)
- chow down
- nigh (as in "the end is nigh." it is not the 1830s.)
- kerfuffle (it is not the 1940s.)
- brouhaha (why)
- foofaraw (seriously)
- hullabaloo (come on)
- tussle (stop it)
- Hold yea ol' britches (for real?)
- food fight (too cheap and easy. use sparingly or not at all.)
- a-snicker (as in "food blogs had been a-snicker for days." People have actually published these words.)
- pens (as in "pens an article." no one does that. use "writes.")
- penned an ode
- tome (when describing a book)
- jumping the shark (just no.)
- at the end of the day
- drool-worthy, mouth-watering, yummy
- unctuous (courtesy Bourdain)
- BBQ (or barbeque or bar-b-que. use barbecue. the only exception is the rubric ZOMG BBQ or if "BBQ" is part of a restaurant's name)
- sat down with (especially when it was a phone or email interview, it reads funny.)
- java (instead of coffee)
- vino (instead of "wine." see http://blog.zagat.com/2013/03/wine-time-momofuku-gets-new-vino.html)
- "grape juice" and "juice" (instead of "wine" too uh)
- tipple, tippling
- healthful (just say healthy)
- amazeballs (cutesy internet lingo is silly and gets dated so fast)
- ! (exclamation points are silly. F. Scott Fitzgerald: "Cut out all these exclamation points. An exclamation point is like laughing at your own joke." We have all been guilty of this.)
- boo ya
Those are but a few of Brion's pet peeve words spewage. Ironic that douchery is so despised on this list since a list banning words itself is necessarily douchey. Then, you have words he's banned with vague justification like the oh-so-reasonable "why" for brouhaha or "stop it" for using tussle, or with no explanation whatsoever for innocent words like tipple and quaff. Gee, thanks for the feedback, chief!
Many of Brion's banned words are clearly personal preference bullshizzle, but then you get to his banned word healthful and it makes him look like a foodiot, a word he loves! The word healthful describes something that is good for you or conducive to good health, like certain foods, i.e. a healthful apple. Moreover, healthy means in good physical or mental condition, as in I feel healthy. I shall eat a healthful apple, so I can feel healthy. Brion's fave (I'm sure he hates fave too) healthy has been misapplied over the decades to the point of brain-dead acceptance, even by Eater National. Therefore, neither healthful or healthy should be banned since each has a distinct definition.
FYI, his banned word unctuous, which is oddly credited to Tony Bourdain, has been used often (and early-on) by the ONLY Pulitzer Prize winning food writer ever, Jonathan Gold. It seems the word unctuous has been pretty amazeballs for the celebrated Los Angeles Times restaurant critic.
These banned words lists suck (see what I did there, Raphy?) because they are mostly based on partiality whether backed up or not. Also, I hate these lists because somebody is telling me how to write. And, that's totally un-American! Yeah! (I just threw in not one but two exclamation points!!!)
I fully understand this Eater banned words list is purposed for internal use, but then it was published as if to say, "Use these words and you're a moron!" Hey Eater, next time, keep your list in your fortress of foodiedom to torment your own staff. By the way, Paula Deen should be on your banned list, sick of seeing so much of her on Eater.
And, hey, Brion, here are some more choice words to add to your precious list—Go Fondue Yourself!
See the whole goddamn list here. I'm gonna go tipple and quaff a bottle of vino to calm myself down! Boo ya!!!