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Why we need a better language for food-love

An honest appreciation of good grub is to be applauded – but why is the terminology used to describe the objects of our afection often so toe-curling? Debora Robertson explores the lexicon of food and finds a whole glossary of cringe-making words and expressions that have her reaching for the kitchen knife

While it’s true that a rose by any other name would smell as sweet, will a cake labelled ‘scrummy,’ ‘yummy,’ or ‘to-die-for’ still taste as good? Well, yes, clearly it will, but my inclination to eat it diminishes with every infantilising adjective. Call me a grump, but my eyes itch at the words we use to describe food and its associated world. Let’s start with ‘foodie’. What do we, the happy tribe of dedicated kitchen-botherers, call ourselves? Foodie sounds so smug and twee in a way that the French equivalent, gourmand, simply doesn’t. Though we can’t call ourselves that without sounding impossibly pompous. For now, I’ll just settle for sheepishly identifying as someone who likes her dinner.

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About delicious. Magazine

Happiness is… the keep-you-warm February issue of delicious. magazine: try Dan Doherty’s home cooking (spicy beef stew with cheddar scone topping, mmm), childhood favourites reinvented by Georgina Hayden and a Chinese New Year feast from Ching-He Huang. Share the love with our Valentine’s Day ideas and spice up your life with Judy Joo’s KFC (Korean Fried Chicken, that is) and Chetna Makan’s healthy Indian suppers. Our expert cooks’ tips will have you cooking like a pro, ready to tackle an Italian-style pork roast, foolproof cheese soufflé or Richard Bertinet’s flaky kouign amann. It’s easy when we show you how.