Food & dining mysteries

Okay, so these aren’t exactly the Shroud of Turin, but they’re still worth consideration. At least to me.

  • Cows give us beef and veal. Pigs give us pork. Sheep give us mutton. Chickens give us…chicken. Why doesn’t chicken have a special name for its meat, distinct from the animal name?
  • Speaking of chicken, why do we eat roast chicken with a fork and knife, but fried chicken with our hands? Is it because roast chicken usually comes whole? If chickens were fried whole, I’d still eat them with my hands.
  • Why aren’t chickens fried whole?
  • In many European languages (English, French, Spanish, Italian, et al.), the word for the fruit orange is the same as the word for the color orange. It’s even the same in Vietnamese. Why aren’t other main colors named after food? Why isn’t “tomato” the word for “red”? Why is orange so special? There are lots of orange things in nature.
  • Brunch is one of the great culinary inventions. Why isn’t there a similar meal between lunch and dinner? Maybe they should re-brand “early bird special” to “lunner” — that would fill the void and remove the stigma from people who like to eat dinner a little early. I smell an opportunity for Denny’s/Coco’s/Lyon’s…
  • If you’re served bread at a restaurant and don’t eat it, the restaurant can’t serve it to another patron, even if you assure them that you didn’t touch it. On the other hand, salt and pepper (and often other condiments like ketchup and hot sauce) stay on a table forever, completely unsupervised by restaurant staff as patrons come and go. Anything an unscrupulous patron can do to bread, he could do to salt and pepper. Why are salt and pepper exempt from public health scrutiny?
  • Why don’t they sell loaves of bread with the crust already cut off? I’m pretty sure nobody really likes the crust; they’re just shamed into eating it because cutting it off seems like a waste. Bakeries should just cut it off for us and use it for croutons or animal feed. At the very least, they should cut off the ends of the loaves. I’m 100% sure nobody likes the end pieces.
  • Why is the remarkable spork relegated to kidsware and disposable packets from KFC? So simple and versatile, yet shunned by the mainstream silverware community.


Filed under Food, Food & Drink

3 responses to “Food & dining mysteries

  1. Nizar

    Ahhh … the beauty of the English language. Actually, there is another name for chicken, sorta: poultry (ok, it’s a stretch, but it helps my argument below)

    English being such a hodge-podge language, with both Romance and Germanic origins, it’s actually possible to trace these food names to the Norman Conquest of England in 1066AD. If you think of what life was like back then, the surviving names for the “finished” food product tended to be the names used by those most likely to be using/eating the food, ie the Norman lords:

    Beef (French: boeuf)
    Veal (French: veau)
    Mutton (French: mouton)
    Poultry (French: poulet)

    As far as the live animals in the field, the surviving names are those used by the farmer/herder who tended to be an Anglo-Saxon serf:

    Cow (German: kuh)
    Pig, Swine, Sow (German: schwein, sau)
    Chicken, Hen (German: huhn)
    Sheep (German: schafe)

    • san mateo pete

      Thank you for the fascinating etymology lesson, Nizar. Leave it to the English to let class structure define their vocabulary.

      While “poultry” certainly does serve your lesson well, I do have to call you on it, since poultry refers to all birds raised for food purposes. It does, however, highlight the fact that other food birds suffer the same fate as chicken: turkey, duck, etc., don’t have special names for their meat, either.

  2. brittonmontalvo

    Peter – You are hilarious. Great read!

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