Friday, March 03, 2006


Or, how to play with your food for thought

By Pierre Buldoo, a smashing short-order cook at the Carpet Knight Cafe, who spends his spare time collecting curious culinary expressions that may be useful in filling a boring breach in one of those long, awkward, pregnant pauses that often occur during a dazzlingly drab dinnertable conversation in a hoity-toity restaurant whose name you can't pronounce and a maitre d' who takes pride in exhibiting an appalling display of faux French

Whilst I enjoy flipping burgers, toasting buns, and drenching french fries, my true passion is devoted to discovering quaint culinary expressions that put the zest and zing into so many bland seasonings.

For those who appreciate a little more logic in the ludicrous side of life, I have summarized below a selection of saucy sustenance, beginning with the letter "A" in the English alphabet.

abracadabra (n.) a magical charm or incantation that a chef uses on all meals before they leave the kitchen (in the hope that he/she will receive oodles of compliments from guests)

(adj.) descriptive of one who rarely indulges in food or drink, but may on occasion resort to telling off-color jokes if it’s a slow night or the meal is unappetizing

abligurition (n.) excessive or prodigious expenditures on food or alcohol, designed to impress the heck out of those whose measure success is equated with all manner of stuff, (that makes most folks sick to death with all that food for thought)

Acorus Calamus (n.) an aromatic herb, known in the Middle Ages as “Sweet Flag”, while in ancient Rome it was associated with erotic practices and called "Venus’ plant"

accubation (n.) the practice of eating or drinking while in a prone position (which is really great if one is reclined on a King-size bed or atop an air mattress in a pool but a tad trying if one is in a full-service dining room not wishing to attract any undue attention from nearby guests)

acerophobia (n.) a fear of not enjoying the fruit of the vine; descriptive of one who suffers from sourpuss syndrome

al dente (adj.) anything that tickles the teeth, tongue or tastebuds, as in lightly cooked enough to retain a somewhat firm texture

alliaceous (adj.) smelling like garlic or onions, (which is not advisable if one is planning on a night of poetic perfumery, voluptuous verse, and tinkling trinkets)

Almond Soup (n.) a sumptuous meal whose ingredients include powdered almonds, egg yolks, chicken stock and cream; known to induce a feeling of militant well-being

alliumphobia (n.) a fear of bad-smelling bulbous bits like chives, garlic, leeks, onions, and shallots

a load of cod’s wallop ( a catchy colloquial expression meaning half-baked balderdash or nothing but blinking bunkum

amatory cooking ( culinary preparations reputed to have aphrodisiac virtues include: aubergine (eggplant), apple/pear/pineapple fritters, beef or chicken curry, cheese soup, egg omelette, milk pudding, onion soup, oyster stew, and soft herring roe

ambergris (n.) a waxy substance found floating in or on the shores of tropical waters, believed to be the secretion in the intestines of the sperm whale used in cooking as an aphrodisiac; French courtiers of the seventeenth century customarily nibbled on chocolates covered with ambergris

anchovies ( gastronomically appealing small Mediterranean fish resembling herring used as an amatory appetizer, or lust-provoking little garnish

anacardic (n.) pertaining to a cashew nut, (which is a tasty tippling teaser served with premium-priced low carb imported pale ales or lightly chilled micro-brewed beers)

Anacreontic (adj.) descriptive of an amatory-themed, convivial-toned drinking song or light lyric used to accompany poor pub grub or to impress a new barstool acquaintance

anadipsia (n.) abnormal or excessive thirst, usually from eating too many peanuts, cashew nuts, and potato chips or just hanging around far too many salty sea dogs

analeptic diet ( all food of easy and quick digestion that avoids fatiguing the gastric organs, stimulates the central nervous system, and promotes the secretion of virile semen; it is said that males who adopt such culinary delights become well suited to make the sacrifices required of a dashing Don Juan, a cavorting Cupid, or a Casanova of carnal-knowledge

anserine (adj.) of or resembling a goose, gooselike; avoid goose-stepping, giving anyone goose-bumps or cooking someone else’s goose, unless you’re prepared for a few unintended consequences…which can sometimes be a tad messy

Aphrodisiac Cakes ( ancient form of pastry made in the shape of the pudenda muliebria and offered as a token of affection during divine sacrificial rituals; popular among Teutonic baking aficionados

arachibutyrophobia (n.) a fear of peanut butter; which means you should at all costs avoid being seated in the peanut gallery in a classy café as it may be a hazard to your health

arachnivorous (adj.) descriptive of one who enjoys eating insects, especially spiders, (preferably with a pinch of salt or chocolate covered with a warm caramel glaze)

arm and a leg ( an exorbitant price paid for a measly meal that probably will not entice a partner’s endearing invitation to see any fetching etchings this evening

Artemisia (n.) Named after the Greek moon goddess often portrayed as a virgin huntress, this genus of aromatic plants includes such nifty notables as ‘wormwood’ and ‘mugwort’, classic condiments in amatory cooking

artichoke (n.) a tall thistle-like herb, whose edible parts are the fleshy bases of the leaves; widely consumed in France, it is said to induce a state of euphoria and pleasant relaxation that is often a precursor to encounters of the canoodling variety

aubergine (n.) eggplant, (which when mixed with a paste made of flour, water, boiled tree bark, peppercorns, chives, pimentos and vanilla beans, is said to be a popular tropical love potion)

Australorp (n.) black domestic fowl developed by the Aussies; valued for egg production but probably would qualify as a “finger-licking good” or fine fricassee entrée

avulse (v.) to pluck …as in cherries from a bowl or feathers from a chicken, (for those who enjoy an affordable, do-it-yourself modest main course or healthy dessert)

ayahuasca (n.) an hallucinogenic beverage made from a South American vine, which probably shouldn’t be consumed unless one is a shaman, a soothsayer, or a spin doctor


One of my favorite funny foodie books is, The Ravenous Muse: A Table of Dark and Comic Contents - A Bacchanal of Books, by Karen Elizabeth Gordon. (For more details, see reviews by epicurean eccentrics at AMAZON.COM . Now there's a wicked word wench if ever there was one!

See interview with the Karen Elizabeth Gordon regarding her paradoxical pieces of puffery and prose at:


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