A couple years ago, I wrote about my distrust of flowery, ostentatious names, as well as any name that attempts to make something sound more cosmopolitan or international than it actually is. At the time, my issue was with the Chilean sea bass: I wrote:
In this spirit of distrust, I questioned the authenticity of the Chilean sea bass at dinner last night.
“That name sounds like total marketing to me. How can a sea bass even hail from Chili? What if it is caught off the coast of Peru, or Ecuador, or even Argentina? Does that make it an entirely different species of fish?”
Turns out I was right.
First off, the Chilean sea bass isn’t even a bass. It’s a Patagonian tooth fish.
Secondly, it does not necessarily hail from Chili. Patagonian tooth fish are found throughout much of the southern hemisphere and are caught by fishermen off the coast of almost every South American nation.
But if you’re easily impressed with ostentation or a mindless sheep who is unwilling to question things, it’s easy to sell you on the wonders of the Chilean sea bass. It’s got a nice ring to it, doesn’t it? So what if it isn’t a bass and probably didn’t originate from Chilean waters?
It’s a little harder, however, to get you excited over the Patagonian tooth fish. But that's what I'll be ordering in the future.
I can't wait to see the look in the waiter's eyes, right before Elysha knocks me upside the head for being an idiot.
Since writing that post, I have added other foods to this list, including the ridiculously-named haricots verts (the French name for green beans, adopted by American restaurants who apparently cannot deign to put such a pedestrian name on their menu) and the criminally misleading field greens (a name that attempts to conjure images of wild plants and shoots growing in a mountain meadow).
I’d like to add a new food item to my list:
Another often-used French word used to describe an appetizer that amounts to little more than rabbit food and vegetable dip.
Crudités, which literally means uncooked vegetables.
I assume the word was created b dinner guests who bring a platter of carrots and celery to a party but want their contribution to be considered on par with a bottle of champagne, a platter of those fabulous mini hot dogs or a coconut crème pie.
It’s a plate of inexpensive vegetables that require no preparation and could be served to most small rodents. I don’t care how many accents are used in the name. It’s a stupid name and a lousy appetizer that deserves no accolades.