The Worst Food Writing Words

The most overused word in the food writer's lexicon.

While chatting with Brooke Burton of Food Woolf, she mentioned that L.A. Weekly gave her a list of words freelancing food writers are not to use. She reeled off a few from memory:

  • farm fresh
  • sustainable
  • local
  • yummy.

If I wanted to see a good list, she suggested, I could read these blog posts: Top Ten Foodie Words We Hate: Starting with Foodie, and a follow-up generated by the response to the first article, Part 2. Written by Amy Scattergood, L.A. Weekly’s food blog editor, the list of 20 words mixes fad terms like “iconic” and “mixologist” with bland, boring terms like “offering.”

Brilliant! Somehow I missed this list. I like it because it branches out  from the usual vague adjectives I’m always going on about: delicious. wonderful, and tasty. I’ll add a few more:

  • authentic: a hotly contested word, because no matter where you travel, there is never just one version of Spaghetti Bolognese or Pad Thai.
  • orbs: When tired of saying “grapes,” do not substitute “orbs.” No one talks that way.
  • toothsome: Not sure what this means. Chewy? If so, use a word we all understand.

Now it’s your turn. Which words make you cringe or see red? Do you disagree with Scattergood’s or my choices?