5 Cooking Terms Let’s Leave Behind in 2007

1. Dressing

It’s not dressing, it’s stuffing.
Get it? It gets stuffed in the bird. That why it’s called stuff-ing. Even if you don’t use it to stuff, you’re not ‘dressing’ the bird. The mere mention of the word ‘dressing’ makes me wince down to my you-know-what. (It’s even hard for me to type.)

If you want further proof, it’s Stove-Top ‘Stuffing’ Mix, not ‘Dressing’ mix. I don’t care what the dictionary says. Don’t argue with me. Or Kraft.

Ok, you can call Kraft on it. But not me. I’m too thin-skinned.

2. Veggies

Perhaps the worst offender. They’re vegetables, my friends. If you’re too lazy to pronounce two extra, teeny-tiny syllables, all hope for humanity is lost. You deserve to read about the mindless antics of Britney and Paris for the next decade.

And I don’t mean my mindless antics in Brittany, or Paris.

3. Combine

The jury’s still in recess on this one.

Judith Jones swears this word means nothing, but I beg to differ. ‘Combine’ means to incorporate two or more ingredients. To merge them. If I say “Combine the oats and cranberries with your hands”, I think most people would get the drift.

Still, who am I to argue with Julia Child’s editor. I’ve ditched it a while ago, so let’s leave it behind us once and for all, shall we?

4. Sammies

I have nothing against Rachel Ray. Really. She’s as cute and perky as all get-out. And she can smile non-stop for far longer than I’m capable of doing. I don’t mind those other words like ‘evoo’ or whatever she says.

But I can’t get this friggin’ word out of my head!

It’s been a couple of years now and it’s really the stupidest word used in relation to food ever. I just can’t shake it!
Please, make those voices in my head stop….aarrgghh…..

5. Seasonal

I’m guilty of this as well. But it’s been so overused, it’s as tired as those endless post-Presidential debate discussions on the cable networks, discussing the same stupid stuff over and over and over and over. I was back in the US for less than 48 hours and I had it up to my neck and ending up watching Blind Date and transfied on I Love New York 2 on VH1 for two days, which, surprisingly, was far more interesting.
(Which perhaps says something about me…)

Anyhow. I’ve had raspberries served to me in ‘seasonally-inspired’ restaurants…in New York…in January. And who really wants all that asparagus in the winter from Argentina—unless, of course, you live in Argentina? If people haven’t gotten the message to cook seasonally by now, it’s a lost cause, folks. Let’s drop it. I’m going to give it a try. If I use the word ‘seasonal’ again around here, next time, you can call me on it. After you call Kraft, that is.

Any others I missed?





  • “Dressing” and “stuffing” ARE different. You may not like it, but it’s a regional thing and you are not going to change it. You can’t be literal about meanings–otherwise ganache on a cake could never be called “frosting” or “icing.” Moreover, Richard’s complaint about Italian pronunciations speaks to Sicilian-scented slang. I never knew that “gavadell” was actually ‘cavatelli.” The Italian language is extraordinarily divided among regions, with several dialects (the country wasn’t even united politcally until the late 19th Century)–but the way a lot of people in the northeast hear it pronounced by true Italian ‘descendants’ is nothing more than a guttural, lazy southern Italian slang that would be disowned by people who spoke the language properly. Many of them who say “pasta fazool” would never deign to speak English with so pronounced an accent. And happy birthday, David…

  • David, thank you. I agree with every word on your list — this from a cook who grew up on farm foods in Iowa.
    Others have spelled out the regional stuffing versus dressing issue better than I can, so that needs no elaboration.
    Two more points:
    *In my home state, “combine” is the machine you use to harvest the corn and soybeans. And yes, I grew up driving one every fall.
    *Could someone just put Rachael (Rachel?) Ray in a bag and drop her off of a bridge? Please? I’m having skin cancer treated soon and that will be far more pleasant than watching her insipid behavior on that dreadful show. I cannot stand that blabbering mouth. Someone needs to slap her hard and tell her to grow up and not talk like a baby when she is sucking so much money out of gullible advertisers. I even quit serving and eating Ritz Crackers because she is endorsing them.

  • I don’t know who this Rachael Ray person is (another veggie and snag consuming Aussie, I’m afraid), but she sounds like a nightmare.

    How about this one: just yesterday I saw an episode of Nigella, in which the domestic goddess described herself as ‘Jackson Pollocking’ some melted chocolate over the top of her cheesecake. Yes… she actually used someone’s name as a verb – deliberately. It’s right up there with the ‘vociferous cheddar’ she mentioned a couple of weeks ago.

  • Post-prandial. If I read it again in a food-travel piece I will vomit.

  • Richard.. I have to say.. as an italian, I was bothered by the same thing.. however, my family is half northern and half southern and when I asked my dad (whose family is from Sicily) about the messed up shortened pronunciations, he told me that that’s how a lot of those words are pronounced in Sicily.. it’s just dialect. maybe this will help you be less annoyed? It helped me..

    As for my own gripe, this has nothing to do with food, but will people please stop confusing anxious and eager??? If you are “so anxious to try out a new recipe”, that means that your are nervous and worried, not excited. I’m pretty sure that you’re eager to try it!!

    One more thing.. will restaurants pleeeeeeease please please learn to use apostrophes correctly? I don’t think I can stand to look at any more noodle’s, burrito’s, or crab’s in 2008!


  • and why does olive oil always, always have to be “drizzled”? can it not be poured?

  • “Pre-heat the oven” – No oven I know has a “Pre-heat”-mode. “Heat the oven” will do.


    It drives me crazy when watching cooking competition shows such as Top Chef, the contestants CONSTANTLY overuse the word “little” when describing their dishes. For example, “I have for you a little poached halibut over a little pomegranite puree and topped with a little kumquat salsa”.


  • I know it’s a legitimate cooking term, but I do not want to see the word coulis ever again. A menu I saw last week had a dish containing both asparagus coulis and beetroot coulis. The dessert menu mentioned raspberry coulis, mint coulis and blood orange coulis. Stop it. Now.

    I never ate dressing, but I love a good stuffing. And filling is something you put in a cannoli.

  • I scanned Room for Dessert for the word “decadent” before buying it. You managed to describe chocolate without it, which is just one of the many reasons I love that book. Another one that bugs me is “crusty” bread. These adjectives are out of vogue in food writing these days but man, 15 or 20 years ago there was no escaping them. Rachel Ray will pass, too. Just turn off the box and keep cooking!

  • Hi Carole: I don’t like to use words that are off-putting or that make people feel like it’s ‘sinful’ to eat dessert (there’s another one!)

    ‘Decadent’ is one of those words.

    Another thing I dislike is when people use words like ‘Chocolate Heart Attack’, ‘Coffee Brain-Blast’ or ‘Toffee Infection’ (ok…the second one I made up.)

    What is it with people using disease to describe food? Ick.

  • Around my place, with a toddler, we say ‘the veg’ meaning all vegetables. It’s a new one, so we’ll see if it sticks, but I think it lends an importance to all of them.

  • Filling? For something you put in a bird? That’s just wrong!

    As for the others, they can come or go as far as I’m concerned. My grammar pet peeve is using fresh (fresh baked bread) when you should use freshly.

    Mostly, I’d like people to realize that they don’t need to like every show on any given network. Change the channel and move on if you don’t like it.

  • I agree with whoever said “pop.” It drives me nuts!

  • man i’ve committed a lot of veggie crimes!!!!

  • one more thing, david. i really don’t mind seasonal that much. but since you do, you might want to replace that term with something else in the second to last paragraph of your bio! :-)

  • Hi Marni: I would change that phrase on my Bio page…except I can’t make changes to the other pages on my site; only my webmaster can do that.

    And he only does them seasonally.

    ; )

  • When did baking something become “bake off”?

  • I must needs disagree with Joan – ‘pan-fry’ is the means that people who have never heard, or find pretentious the use, of the term ‘saute’ (please forgive my keyboard, which does not speak French), to distinguish the practice thereof from deep-fat frying, which can also be done in a pan, further confusing the issue.

    I have long since given up any hope of seeing or hearing correct usage. I’m now willing to settle for just being able to understand what someone is trying to convey. For that reason, I am deeply appreciative of the person who explained what ‘evoo’ meant, as I do not watch Rachael Ray, which so many of you who are panning her seem to do, or you wouldn’t recognize her umm… looseness of language.

    That said, I gotta say I lurves youse guys! Especially you, David. Hope everyone has a great 2008!

  • Please don’t hate foodie. Happy New Year David.

  • The soft and runny from-a-box concoction you refer to as “pudding” is an American shortening of “custard pudding”, which most of the English-speaking world calls “custard.” A pudding most often is a dish consisting of bread or cake combined with an egg and liquid base and boiled, steamed, or cooked in an oven until set; it can be sweet or savory. Of course, by this definition, neither stuffing nor dressing is correct; by ingredients and technique, it’s bread pudding.

  • I’m with RDW — “bake off” drives me insane. Why should I bake off my cookies when I could just bake them? What, exactly, am I baking off of them?

  • Oooh. I hate “Sammie”. My son is named Sam, and he is definitely not a sandwich.

    But he does love his veggies!

  • Someone please get rid of the term “amuse bouche”…
    it’s another overused trendy term!

  • A little late to the party but had to chime in with one of the things that makes me cringe: ingredient lists instead of a useful name for a dish. I really hate it when menus say ‘pork – shallot – rosemary – red bulb’ instead of ‘pork with red bulb glaze’ because preparation matters to me. I might like ‘pork with red bulb glaze’ whereas ‘stewed pork chunks combined with red bulb seeds,’ not so much.

  • Nils: My oven (a 1970-something model, needing replacement) does have a pre-heat setting.

    I will not refer to dressing as stuffing when it’s not stuffed into something! Ludicrous. (And I’m not a Southerner, I’m from Oregon, with one parent from Vermont and one from Arkansas.) I’m not fond of the term ‘bread pudding’ because what I’ve mostly had was undercooked and too sweet, but I’ll accept it as a compromise if you can get anyone else to!

    Enthusiastically 2nd the correct use of apostrophes, only please don’t stop with restaurants. A mis-places apostrophe can change the meaning not only of the word but of the whole sentence.

  • No more foam, please. And I would rather have my food mixed than “infused with…”

  • I agree about stuffing. I probably have used veggie myself, but now I’ll be self-conscious about it at least.

    Anything Rachael Ray says cannot be trusted. She can’t toast bread and is proud of it. The other day, she washed leeks AFTER she had chopped them in tiny pieces, so that she would have to dry them in some new towel that has her name on it.

    Slightly off topic, but you reminded me of it and it’s worse than all of the above, are people that don’t know to pronounce MOET. It drives me crazy.

  • Now that you’ve culled quite a collection of culinary malaprops, check out these Top 40 Vocabulary Pet Peeves, but warning… you may cringe on a few that you have misused.