>More Writing Commandments

>Let’s talk about lazy, sloppy food writing. The following words are hereforthwith unbearable and may result in traffic accidents while I try to drive while bleeding from multiple orifices on my face:

Offerings – food, menu items, wines, whatever. Stop calling them “offerings.” It brings to mind loin-clothed natives kneeling and presenting various choices of bành mí or smoothies before a foodie god (see “Foodie,” below).

Nestled – a Chinese hole in the wall doesn’t “nestle” in the corner of a strip mall. Fawns nestle; Easter eggs nestle. Acceptable alternatives: squatting, lurking, and emitting off-putting smells.

Foodie – every time you say this, a butterfly gets eaten by Andrew Zimmern. Adding a cutesy “-ie” to the end of a word we all require to survive implies a ridiculously misplaced sense of superiority. Instead, why not “epicurean” or “gastronome”? Oh yeah, because it doesn’t disarm those around you who might mistake you for someone smart and grown up. Scary-wary! To be fair, plenty of people for whom I have a great deal of respect have succumbed to this word usage, just like that one time my boyfriend got bit by the zombie and we had to cut off his head. That sucked almost as much.

Yummy/Nummers/Nom-nom/Nom – see what I did there? Read out loud, that shows the precise decay of the English language, once a very fine language (but before that, absolute garbage, an ungainly mishmash of Germanic and Romantic languages). It’s like the whole Kristen/Kirsten/Kiersten/Karsten/Kastin/Smashmash/Glahgah thing. Our brains are sloshing around in our heads from all the high fructose corn syrup and this is how it manifests. If you say “nom nom” at a hospital cafeteria, I do believe they will rush you to the ER, mistaking you for a stroke victim. Or maybe it’s no mistake.

It’s really just laziness, which, when you troll the food blogs and free-for-all review sites, is blisteringly common — no, most people are not writers, but now they can be read by just about anyone. The danger is that we are an impressionable species – already, I’ve seen apostrophes misused by even businesses who paid a great deal of money for professional signage.
“Saturday’s and Sunday’s!”
“Walk in’s welcome!”

With our education system in ruins, don’t you think kids are going to grow up thinking that’s the correct usage? THINK OF THE CHILDREN!

Never mind them, plenty of grown-ups are mimicking each other’s lusterless, dull language.

Oh yes, which reminds me:

Lackluster – the use of “lackluster” to describe food, experiences, wines, whathaveyou is just silly, given that the word itself is lackluster. Again, it’s lazy to point out what something isn’t rather than having to think about what it is. (And I know lazy.) Except “mirthless”… “mirthless” rules.

Examples of better words than “lackluster”: sullen, limpid, flaccid, puny, dull, blah (blah is okay – it’s onomatopoeic, the sound of barfing; unlike “yummy,” which is just insipid.)

Words best convey your feelings when they put an image in the reader’s mind. Words with no image – you can tell them by their lack of poetry – are lazy words. And if you don’t care, you’re not really a writer, no matter how many “hits” or “cools” your posts get.

It’s a brave new world, but time will sort you out.


About emc

Out beyond any ideas of right-doing and wrongdoing, there is a field. I'll meet you in it.
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2 Responses to >More Writing Commandments

  1. Pizza Girl says:

    >I must admit to using 'yummy' in a conversation (but not a food review!), but I agree that precision of language is a requisite skill for food blogging.

  2. emc says:

    >Dude, totally – my beloved has let a "yummy" rip now and then and I'm still marrying him. I'm just a hard ass about writing for public consumption because, well, who else is going to be, now that we no longer have the guardianship of editors and publishers? (Which can be argued as a positive and a negative.)

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