Professionals from all walks of life have their own slang that can go viral as new trends gain popularity. And that’s completely normal. But someone who has a silver tongue (or corporate backing) can spin the truth and hype up something that is entirely ordinary.
For some, a deconstructed meal is the pinnacle of the fine dining experience. For others, they've heard the word so often that it’s a sign that things have become entirely too corporatized, that the chef might be lazy and pretentious, or that their ‘foodie’ friend wants to show off. Redditor u/zzzzzzzzzra started a discussion on r/Cooking, asking folks to share popular foodie terms that they find particularly annoying. Scroll down to read their opinions, and remember to upvote the ones you agree are overused.
We wanted to learn more about the evolution of food trends and terms, so we got in touch with pie artist Jessica Leigh Clark-Bojin, @thepieous. She is a published author, the founder of the Pies Are Awesome project, and you'll find Bored Panda's full interview with her as you read on.
#1I had guests visiting and I ordered us all Indian takeaway (since our local place was honestly one of the best I've ever tasted). While eating, they discussed the food and shared their favorites, and it pleased me to see them enjoying it! Until they looked at me with zero irony and said "'...Oh, sorry. We're foodies! We like to find new tastes and discuss them just for fun.' What did they think I'd done the multiple times I'd eaten from there before?! Just ram it into my mouth hole while sniffing detergent to block out the taste? Yeah, self-identifying as a 'foodie' makes me cringe at the soul level.
Image credits: SnifterOfNonsense
Pie artist Jessica, @thepieous, shed some light on food terms that get overused. "Language evolves. Trendy terms and neologisms (like 'Foodie') are subject to an even faster evolution… It seems invariably with any trend connected to new language use, we go through the same stages."
According to her, everything starts with relative obscurity where "only a few niche initiates are familiar with the new meaning of the term." Then, we move on to the so-called mainstream breakthrough, "usually connected to a trendy journalist breaking the story and introducing the term to a wide audience." Inevitably, this is followed by the 'corporate co-opting' of the term and, then, by "public rejection of the term by a population sickened by the new corporate connotation."
Jessica told Bored Panda that "it’s the path from 'refreshing authenticity' to 'cringe-inducing inauthenticity' that all trends must walk… and trendy food terms do not get a pass." Since people crave novelty, "when a famous chef, food journalist, or other notable personality in the space serves us up a new term that paints a new picture, a new way of looking at or thinking of the same old same old, well, we’re all over that!"
#2I'm Indian and we have so many dishes which have no animal products. Suddenly some of my favourite dishes are vegan and people start telling me the benifits of the dishes I have been eating decades.
#3"Sinful". Any recipe trying to make you feel evil for eating a slice of cake is stupid as hell
Image credits: rileyrulesu
The term goes viral and "suddenly everything is about 'artisanal small batches' or 'deconstructed mouthfeel' for a few months. But sooner or later, the people tasked with creating new content/products for us to purchase take note of the trend and jump on board—oftentimes changing the original meaning of the term in the process," Jessica said, giving an example of how even McDonald's tried to present its coffee as artisanal.
"Sometimes the concepts behind the trendy terms have legs that outlive the co-option of the term itself. Look at the word 'artisanal'—even though this term is sooo played right now, we still actually do really like the idea of small batch, locally sourced, hand-crafted food products. So as the word artisanal becomes meaningless, savvy markers simply find another, similar term to replace it with."
#4'Better-Than-Sex'. I saw a story somewhere about a woman who sold Better-Than-Sex Banana Bread at her local farmer's market. One day, it was changed to Almost-Better-Than-Sex Banana Bread. Girl must've had QUITE the experience...
#5Stop deconstructing my food. Just tell me you were too lazy to present me a completed dish.
Image credits: daughter_of_tides
#6The whole idea of 'superfoods' is toxic and reductive. It’s the reason culture gets fixated on singular savior-foods like kale or quinoa and we have to deal with them being in everything for years. No single food should be fetishized like that.
Pie artist Jessica told Bored that she's starting to see the term 'bespoke' replace 'artisanal' in some contexts, including "bespoke waffle bar experience" and "bespoke nachos," referring to "customized, small batch products delivered with a hands-on human touch." Another 'foodie' term gaining popularity is 'upscaled' which refers to "high-end versions of comfort foods, and the practice of making simpler/cheaper ingredients into something fancier."
"This trend is still growing in light of the food price inflation the world is still reeling from after the pandemic, but I have a feeling that the term 'upscale' in the culinary context may be due for a refresh shortly," she shared her thoughts about the future with us.
"As food insecurity continues to be a global concern and we start to see more of a shift towards sustainable sources of nutrition that are easy to grow like fungi, seaweeds, and insect proteins, keep your eyes peeled for a new foodie term to take the place of the less palatable and less sexy 'sustainable' moniker. 'Superfoods' is already taken... I'm curious to see what term will ultimately emerge to blanket this new food trend!"
#7Can’t stand “artisanal” anymore, I think it’s been used now to describe subway’s “artisanal bread”…yeah right
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#8Describing healthy food as “Clean”
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#9STOP SAYING MOUTHFEEL. It's literally called texture.
Many of the terms featured in this list would be perfectly fine if they weren’t overused to the point of absolute absurdity. If everything’s rustic, clean, and artisanal, then nothing is. Similarly, if every chef uses umami bombs and aioli, those words lose any and all meaning.
Naturally, the terms that foodies use will change over time. New trends are going to pop up, old ones are going to wither (until, inevitably, some of them return with a vengeance). The world of food isn’t all that different from the fashion world in this regard.
Terms rise and fall as new techniques and ingredients rise and fall in popularity. All that the internet asks is that people use them where they’re genuinely applicable, not just to say, well, anything at all.
#10i cant stand the excessive cost trend...like the $1000 burger or whatever. adding gold leaf and caviar and diamond dust or whatever for no other reason than the "bling" factor is so dumb. gold leaf on pastry i kind of get, but its absolutely pointless in savoury dishes...it has no flavor or nutritional value.
#11*Guilt free* anything, I absolutely hate that. Why associate food with guilt? Just don't eat too much of an unhealthy food
#12I love when a product label says it's gluten-free, when there's no gluten in it in the first place.
The redditor’s thread got 6.2k upvotes and really showed the extent to which some folks are tired of some chefs’ pretentious comments. It’d be fair to say that people want to deal with grounded chefs cooking tasty food with quality ingredients, without making everything seem fancier (and more expensive) than it really is. Yes, image matters. But customers want a genuinely good experience, not just the illusion of one.
One of the worst sins any chef can commit is to focus on the presentation and deconstruction of the dishes at the expense of taste. Which reminds us—if you haven’t yet seen director Mark Mylod’s movie ‘The Menu,’ it’s a very fine, well, deconstruction (pardon the pun) of fine dining culture in the modern age.
Sometimes, a tasty cheeseburger is all that’s needed to leave a customer satisfied. It does not need to be rustic. The cheese doesn’t have to be artisanal. And the meat doesn’t have to be described as coming from grass-fed cows. The dish can speak for itself.
#13Stuff like za or za's for Pizza, sammy for sandwich, nugs for chicken nuggets, etc. Each time I'm at my sister's and she wants pizza delivered she will say something like "so how bout sum zahs, brah?" and it is one of the most grating things for me. I physically tense up and have to try not to frown.
#14“Authentic” and “not authentic”. I’m sick and tired of the authenticity police when someone doesn’t use a speciality ingredient found in the Amazon or they don’t have a 1000 year old wok in their kitchen.
#15God I hate the whole idea of food porn. Nothing makes me more uncomfortable than someone eating food and making pleasure noises like there's someone feeling them up under the table. Just say it's nice! Don't be weirdly sexual!!
#16I've been making stock since I was a teenager. My daughter (who saw me make it often) tried to introduce me to 'bone broth' like it was some new and magical invention.
#17The word porn in food. Hey guys don't want to turn on TV and have some idiot keep shouting porn in front of my kids.
Image credits: Life_Percentage_2218
#18“Hack” when it’s just a fast food order.
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Image credits: RobMcD222
#20I hate recipes that refer to the food as “crack” or “crack-like”.
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#21'Deconstructed'. Next thing you know, you'll have a restaurant charging $40 for a Deconstructed Caesar salad that's just a bowl of lettuce next to a bowl of croutons next to a block of whole Parmesan.
#22Just the exhagerated "omg soooo good" faces people make on their cooking channels after they take the first bite.
#23Rustic, for just about everything.
Image credits: rope-springs-eternal
#24Any abbreviation of sandwich, i.e. "Sando" or "Sammie"
#25I can't stand 'hack' when it's literally just an alternative recipe to a popular dish...like 'ramen hack'
#26'Handhelds'. They're talking about sandwiches like they're a Game Boy. It's so weird.
#27The hipster convention of naming a restaurant two random, unrelated nouns, (e.g. Wrench & Rodent Seabastropub.)
#28'Nom' and 'yummy' are both VERY high on my list of words that make my body retract into itself. I have no defense for this, but it absolutely is nails on the chalkboard for me.
Image credits: Film_At_Eleven
#29Grass fed… like ok I know that in America a lot of cattle are grain fed so it actually means something, but it’s become pervasive in Europe too where almost all cattle are fed outside on grass, like, it means nothing.
Hen’s egg. So many menus with a hen’s egg. Like, if it’s a f*****g duck egg, or a quail egg, just say that, but if you just say egg I think we’ll get which damned bird it’s coming from.
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#30'Umami bomb'. So many TV chefs and YouTube personalities use this term. You know, like 'I’m gonna drop an umami bomb and add some miso to this...'
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#31"Crack". Every recipe on Pinterest: 'Tuna Casserole Crack!! My kids can't get enough!!!!'"
Image credits: Majestic_Definition3
#32I hate it when people say or type “chef’s kiss”, especially with emojis. It triggers irrational anger and annoyance in me.
#33'Better-than-takeout'. Of course the burger you spent $30 and four hours on is better than the Big Mac they slap together for $4.
#34Gastropub. Just stop it.
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#35Aioli. Stop calling anything with a glop of mayo in it aioli.
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#36I have two: the entirety of “Thug Kitchen” (my sister got me the cookbook as a gift, very thoughtful but the whole book is cringe) and “better than sex”. Ma’am if that chocolate cake is better than sex I am concerned your needs are not being met.
*Edit* I am fully aware asexual people exist, I apologize if this joke came off as insensitive.
Image credits: dani_oakley_69
#37Farm to table. If you grew up on a farm this will set your hair on fire!
#38Unctuous. It doesn't mean what people think it means. It used to be pejorative.
1. (of a person) excessively or ingratiatingly flattering; oily.
2. (chiefly of minerals) having a greasy or soapy feel.
Image credits: pdxscout
#39That trend where people called stock "bone broth" for a while.
Image credits: Saint_Jiub_
#40I'm a sous chef at a local restaurant that has various 'aiolis' on the menu. What we've found is that you can put chipotle mayo on a menu and it'll do OK...call it aioli, though, and suddenly it's 'high class' and people want it on everything.
#41These food porn sandwiches that have an entire chicken worth of fried cutlets and a full jar of sauce dripping over it with 100 slices of melted cheese all on a roll. First comment is an emoji with heart eyes and “I must have this in my life”.
#42I’ll add _protein(s)_ _crisp up_, _mouthfeel_, _food porn_ and anything to do with orgasms or sexual pleasure_.
#43Maybe it's more of a trend than a term but it feels like it's just a turn of phrase to me where now everything is a god damned "bowl". Noodle bowl, burrito bowl, etc. It's a damn bowl of noodles and I could put that "burrito bowl" on a plate and it would be a taco salad. Just give me some damned stir-fry not an "asian bowl".
#44I love the idea of a gastropub. A place that serves high-quality pub grub with great service and a nice atmosphere is super appealing to me! Too bad most 'gastropubs' serve the same junk you can get anywhere...just on a square plate with truffle oil on the top.
#45'Clean' is a big one for me. I follow a few weight-loss motivation groups, including a couple of fitness-focused ones. I freaking hate when someone describes their diet as 'clean-eating.' It literally tells me nothing about what they're eating..." In bodybuilding/CrossFit groups, 'clean eating' seems to be ingrained into their lexicon. I can't stand it.
#46Restaurants that refer to themselves as an “eatery” annoys me for no reason
#47An ex back in the day couldn't stop raving about their Grandma's 'Dump Soup,' and could hardly wait for the day that I'd finally try it. Just the name alone turned me off to ever wanting to experience it
Image credits: Truthamania