[lg policy] Hangry? Piecaken? The top new food words for 2015

Harold Schiffman hfsclpp at gmail.com
Fri Dec 18 16:16:29 UTC 2015

 Hangry? Piecaken? The top new food words for 2015
Originally published December 16, 2015 at 6:02 am Updated December 18, 2015
at 7:10 am
A ring displays the word “Hangry,” defined as the state of being so hungry
that you become angry or irritable. (TONY CENICOLA/NYT)
A ring displays the word “Hangry,” defined as the state of being so hungry
that you become angry or irritable. The language of food is changing at
breakneck speed to reflect new menus, new mashups, new diets, new hashtags.

Here are the 10 most interesting food words that arrived, and stayed, on
our radar this year.
Section Sponsor
The New York Times

The language of food is changing at breakneck speed to reflect new menus,
new mash-ups, new diets, new hashtags.

“We need new words and labels to give voice to our food obsessions and
anxieties,” said Josh Friedland, the author of the new book “Eatymology:
The Dictionary of Modern Gastronomy.” “And we especially need more words to
describe gastronomic emoting,” like “hangry.”

Friedland said he himself suffers from “Nordepression,” a state of acute
ennui brought on by the words “new Nordic cuisine.”

Dictionaries don’t always keep up, but the online Oxford English Dictionary
adopted plenty of food slang this year, such as “cakehole” and “cheffy.”
And this year’s long-awaited revision of the Scrabble Tournament and Club
Word List added useful food words like paczki (23 points), mojito (15
points) and yuzu (16 points).

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Here are the 10 most interesting food words that arrived, and stayed, on
our radar this year:

1. Cat cafe (n.) A concept imported from Asia (where many new residential
buildings do not allow pets). This is a high-end coffee bar where patrons
can also enjoy the attention of free-roaming cats. A cat cafe, Meow
Parlour, opened in New York City in December 2014. The term was added to
the Oxford English Dictionary in 2015.

2. Climatarian (adj.) Referring to a diet whose primary goal is to reverse
climate change. This includes eating locally produced food (to reduce
energy spent in transportation), choosing pork and poultry instead of beef
and lamb (to limit gas emissions), and using every part of ingredients
(apple cores, cheese rinds, etc.) to limit food waste.

3. Cookie butter (n.) A sweet spread of pulverized cookies mixed with
butter, condensed milk and peanut butter, or another soft ingredient.
Cookie butter was first made in Belgium and the Netherlands with the
locally popular spice cookies, speculoos. (A popular childhood snack there
is white bread spread with butter and sprinkled with crushed cookies, or
chocolate sprinkles.) In the United States, recipes have proliferated for
butters made from Oreos, graham crackers and Thin Mints.

4. Cuisinomane (n.) The new official Canadian French word for “foodie,” as
determined by the Office québécois de la langue française. This agency is
tasked with maintaining French as a living language in Quebec, and is
particularly reluctant to adopt words from English. “Cuisinomane” follows
the same form as “balletomane” and “bibliomane,” meaning a person who is an
obsessive fan of a certain art form.

5. Foodspo(n.) Formerly known as food porn, foodspo is used mostly on
Instagram to tag a particularly beautiful or inspirational picture of food
(a homemade pie or cake, very often). Foodspo was back-formed from “inspo,”
Internet shorthand for “inspiration.”

6. Hangry (adj.) The state of being so hungry that you become angry or
irritable. (The state itself is not new, of course, but used to be
described as “having low blood sugar.”) Added to the online Oxford English
Dictionary in 2015.

7. Mayo (n.) Surely 2015 will go down in linguistic (and condiment) history
as the year an eminent lawyer engaged in a protracted battle with the
federal government over whether “mayo” is the same thing as “mayonnaise.”
The story began when Unilever (makers of Hellmann’s mayonnaise) and the
American Egg Board (a lobbying group) tried to force the vegan-food company
Hampton Creek to change the name of its popular eggless product Just Mayo.
Citing the Food and Drug Administration standard for mayonnaise that
defines it as a mixture of vegetable oil, vinegar, egg yolk and lemon
juice, the groups persuaded the FDA to order Hampton Creek to change the
name. But the company’s lawyers fought back, arguing that “mayo” is not
“mayonnaise,” and therefore their product need not conform to FDA
standards. In the meantime, emails were leaked, dirty tricks were revealed,
and in October the chief executive of the American Egg Board was forced to
step down. At press time, the is-mayo-mayonnaise issue had not been

8. Piecaken (n.) A multilayered dessert in which three 9-inch pies are
baked inside three 10-inch cakes, then stacked. The tradition of stuffing
foods inside other foods inside other foods (a practice termed
“engastration,” according to Friedland) for festive meals is an ancient one.

This particular confection has been around for a long time, with multiple
online recipes, but was previously termed a “cherpumple.” (Referring to its
contents: cherry pie, pumpkin pie and apple pie.) For obvious reasons, once
the word “piecaken” (with its echoes of “turducken”) was introduced this
year by the pastry chef Zac Young of the David Burke Group restaurants, it
caught on immediately on Twitter. The dessert has now spread to Britain and
Australia. Up next: the pielogen, a pecan pie, a cheesecake and a yule log
welded together with chocolate buttercream.

9. Wine o’clock, beer o’clock (n.) One’s personal assessment of the right
time of day to start drinking a particular beverage. Added to the online
Oxford English Dictionary in 2015.

10. Zarf (n.) The cardboard collar placed around a paper coffee cup to
protect your hands from the heat. This item has usually been called a “cup
sleeve” in modern times, but “zarf” is an old Arabic word, recently
revived, for an ornamental holder for a coffee cup with no handle. Added to
the online American Heritage Dictionary in 2015.

Postscript: “Foodie,” the controversial term adopted by the Oxford English
Dictionary in 1980, had a good run. But it hit the end of the road this
year: It appears on the 2015 list of “banished” words published annually by
Lake Superior State University.


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