The Surprise Sprout

I was reading a menu the other day and for some reason the word 'reduction' leapt off the page and made me want to set my eyes on fire.When did it become normal to describe a sauce in this way?The reduction of a sauce is part of the method of cooking in order to achieve the end result.It may well be reduced but its still a bloody sauce.Reduction sounds more like some sort of corrective surgery not something that I want to eat.

I asked a Twitter what words on menus annoyed's a few faves..

Does the word foam actually appear on peoples menus?Im not sure.. though this seems to be a generally despised word.As @corryvreckan says a foam is 'something my cats huff up on the carpet in the morning'.Similarly,from @thoughfox 'looks like someone spat on the plate' 
Personally foam always reminds me of that lump of frothed up morning cuckoo spit on the underside of a nettle.Do I want to eat it?Thanks but NO thanks.

By its very definition,this is an item that is made in the HOME.Something your Auntie Margaret bakes on a Saturday afternoon in her floral tabard and serves on a doylied tiered china cake stand.Home made is NOT something made in a commercial kitchen.This is a contradiction in terms,if its homemade then you're not a professional chef.Trading Standards gonna have you for that one mate.

'On a bed of'
Please no...this one has been done to death,which leads me neatly onto the point,I WANT MY FOOD DEAD NOT tucked up in bed and SLEEPING ON MY PLATE!!!

'Tweeness on menus'
This is a bit of a niche market but keen menu spotters may have seen this creeping onto menus.Usually in 'gastropubs' and deployed to evoke the impression of a Dickensian era.For example: 'A little pot of .....' (this is a thinly veiled scam to get your GP up.I dont want a 'little pot of' I want a BIG POT Im hungry I came out to eat so FEED ME).Or 'Mr Peculiars very particular gentleman's relish' Items of this ilk.What this actually conjures up is an image of Ronnie Corbett skipping around in a pair of green tights in a musical montage on the Two Ronnies.

'Hand picked/pulled'
Referring to items of a fruit or vegetable nature that have no other way of being harvested.Is there another way to pick a strawberry? Haven't come across many prehencile farm workers in my time.
Yup,look at the trouble we went to to give you this,we picked it with our own fair HANDS just so you could eat it.

'Smears and paint brush marks'
This is where the meaning gets a bit clouded,though they're not words generally seen on menus there was an overwhelming hatred of these abominations.I was recently served a pudding with a brown paintbrush mark on the plate.The chocolate had hardened so I scraped it off with a knife and then scooped it up and ate it.A brown paintbrush mark is not attractive to look at and I cant eat a paintbrush mark without a lot of leave it out please.

'Two ways or three ways'
Putting aside the obvious connotations.Please stop showing off,can I have mine one way please? Preferably cooked and served on a plate so I can eat it??

I can barely bring myself to repeat this one.. 'Emotions of Pineapple' I am assured this has appeared on a menu.A pineapple is an inanimate object therefore it has no feelings.Is my pineapple sad or happy?? Get a grip please..

Then using a play on words to show how clever and innovative you are eg: 'Eton Tidy'.Cringe.
Er no...if it ain't broke don't fix it...

'Textures of'
This is nothing new,all dishes have different textures,and ALWAYS have done.Otherwise they would be a slurry.Which would be pointless as they'd be going in one end much the same as they exit.

'the surprise sprout'
Tweezering a single random ingredient onto a dish,especially one so tiny that Ive missed the flavour as it was in my gob so briefly.Then interpreting its meaning...Its neither 'playful','witty' nor 'flirtatious'.Though it could be a 'surprise' 'clever' or 'tight'. its just a plate of food,not a religious epiphany so stop trying to read it like a cup of bloody tea leaves and JUST EAT IT.
Three words: Emperors new clothes.

'Using the Chefs name to describe a dish'
As if he's doing you a favour in taking a break from sitting in the office googling his own name and has actually graced the kitchen with his presence in order to do you the service of cooking something.
He's a Chef FFS. its his job!!
If you must draw attention to the fact that you've actually made it why not use 'house' or the establishment name.
Anyway,do I really want to chow on *insert Chefs name* very own blood sausage?
Ideally i'd like an introduction and at least strike up a bit of a two way conversation first...


PS I recommend this type of menu,whats your fave?


Brogdale Gardens, was there at the weekend, actually use 'Chef's sauce' on their menu on more than one item. a very productive chef? made our whole table snigger.
Very nice food though at Brogdale (forgot to add that).
Wally Bell said…
"Drizzled with," and "Hand Cut" will get my blood reducing, as will "Au Jus."
See you soon
Cell said…
A personal bugbear is 'artisan'.

Artisan bread...proliferates in East Anglia.

See 'homenade' I guess.
Cell said…
Or even home made...
Stosie said…
Cant believe I missed this one. Great post I agree with most of the above & pet haes are bed of, textures of, 2 ways of & heaven forbid smears however & its a biggie homemade is maybe not the right word now but when I wrote my firsr menus in uk people didn't know in house also using my pub name to clarify I made the relish bread jam sauce cheese ice cream etc wld have been quite vague but it has always been imperative for me to inform my customer that I made that item from scratch on my premises to differentiate me from the surrounding places that buy in these items anyone can buy in picallili ice cream etc so it is important to highlight. In urban areas or in M restos clientele can tell or take it for granted its made in house in our rural remote pub with a very varied clientele we have to stipulate & its our usp.

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