Stinky Tofu; Surf & Turf; Italian Iced Tea

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Mon Jan 10 20:46:30 UTC 2005

At 3:19 PM +0100 1/9/05, Paul Frank wrote:
>>  ...
>>  Thanks to Ben Zimmer for using "bean curd" to track this to 1980.  It's
>>  often
>>  transliterated as "dofou," which is why I thought "tofu"  would be used.
>>  But
>Actually, it's often transliterated as doufu, because that's what it's
>called in Chinese (in the pinyin transliteration). Tofu is Japanese.
>It's too bad that "bean curd" has been replaced by "tofu."
I don't know.  "Bean curd" would evoke negative reactions, I'd wager,
even if (or maybe because) it's more compositional and transparent
than tofu.  (Mostly because of the "curd" part, but it's also true
that "bean" doesn't immediately evoke "soybean" for English
speakers.)  So the use of a borrowed form, whether doufu or tofu, is
a kind of euphemism, much as in the case of "calamari" replacing
"squid" for culinary purposes, or "mahi-mahi" for "dolphin(-fish)".


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