The simple act of talking about food is a lot more complicated than you might realize. Like describing a color or emotion, choosing the perfect words to use when describing food is largely dependent on the experience and vocabulary of the person who’s doing the talking. But in many cases, the same exact generic words get bandied about over and over again, and it really needs to stop.
A lot of people run into trouble when trying to pinpoint what exactly makes a dish good, so they resort to familiar tropes. Instead of saying, for example, “That dash of cider vinegar really cuts through the richness of the pork, and the crunch of the slaw adds a welcome textural contrast,” they’ll just say, “This pulled pork sammy is super yummy!”
And they can be forgiven for that! Like describing the flavor components of a glass of red wine, mentally combing through a bite of food to identify and describe what you do or don’t like about it is no easy task; that’s why people get paid to do it professionally.
We’re all guilty of using completely meaningless descriptors and infantilizing food terms in our everyday life. While some oft-derided terms actually have specific meaning (a lot of people hate the word “cloying,” but it really is the best way to describe something that’s overwhelmingly sweet), it’s amazing how many valueless food terms are out there. Seriously, how many ways can you say that something tastes good? Be creative, really think about what you’re tasting, and please completely drop the following words and phrases from your culinary vocabulary.