Categories: Zest

Unusual food names

Zubin Dsouza


I am not a misogynist!

I never was one and don’t intend to change my stance in the sunset of my life.

The fact is I really don’t understand women. In fact I can never communicate with them.

My wife is definitely the epitome of feminism.

She completes my sentences for me with something that is totally opposite of what I was going to say in the first place; she starts a fight over what I had just said although she completed the sentence for me and then refuses to talk to me whilst simultaneously blaming me for ignoring her!

Then I realised that conversing with a member of the feminine gender is not the only time that things get lost in translation.

Mails or messages reach unintended recipients.

Sometimes phone calls have cross connections or presidential candidates have their locker room bragging exposed.

More often than not there are certain products within the food world that just aren’t what they are called.

We all know that a Long Island Iced Tea is in fact a cocktail and not a sweet, summer refresher. Not many would realise that a ‘Slow and comfortable screw’ is another cocktail with Sloe gin as its prime ingredient. I don’t want to even go any further trying to describe other cocktails like ‘Sex on the beach’ and ‘Screaming orgasm’ that have a similar pornographic lilt in their names.

I love the example of the ‘Bombay Duck’ which is named after the city that I was born in. This clever little name actually doesn’t really describe the product accurately.

Regardless of you envisioning a cute little feathered bird, the creature is actually a fish!

This is far better than Chilean sea bass which doesn’t belong to the bass family but is in fact a cod. The clincher is that this fish doesn’t originate in Chile but is in fact ocean farmed in the Arctic. Apparently the original name which is Patagonian toothfish did not find many takers and with a careful amount of rebranding, we have settled on a name that is synonymous with fine dining!

Don’t get too excited when you order sweetbreads in a restaurant.

Although they are all the rage now, the demand is usually from people who don’t know what they are eating.

If you are picturing some wonderful bakes topped with icing sugar or fruit puree, be prepared for disappointment.

These are only forms of offal which is a fancy way of referring to the animal parts that most people toss away.

The term actually refers to the thymus gland or pancreas from veal or lamb although increasingly chefs are toying with pork and beef as well.

Rocky Mountain oysters are another one of my favourite foods to feed unsuspecting friends.

After people have enjoyed the crisp golden crumb fried exterior and raved extensively about the soft and texturally exciting oyster centre do I truly reveal what it is.

Now anyone with a vague idea of the topography of the Rocky Mountain range would know that oyster harvests are not one of the prime highlights.

Rocky Mountain oysters go to prove just that. They are in fact breaded bull or sheep testicles!

I personally feel that these are preferable to my early experiences with mountain chicken. After enjoying a dish of rather succulent legs, I realised that the origin was not avian in nature but the name referred to the local moniker for giant mountain bullfrogs. Luckily over-poaching and the listing of the species as endangered have led to a stop in the sales of this exotic creature.

I probably shouldn’t have made the above statement without taking head cheese into consideration.

Needless to state, there is no cheese and no dairy anywhere in the preparation.

The head part here is not a symbolic term for being top in class but rather a very descriptive term of the ingredient that comprises a majority of the dish.

Head cheese is probably the most concentrated form of pork that you could ever eat. It is a pig’s head boiled with other pork bones so that it turns into a gorgeous, gelatinous mess of flesh and gelatin. To make matters a little more interesting, variants include throwing in porcine trotters, heart and tongue!

The Welsh rabbit which is now wrongly written as rarebit comes as a welcome breath of fresh air. Although it contains absolutely no rabbit, it is a melted cheese and ale mixture that is poured over a crisp grilled slice of bread. Probably the most interesting version of a cheese sandwich that you would ever taste.

Similarly Scotch woodcock has absolutely no trace of the game bird and is definitely not Scotch in origin. It is a buttered toast with a spread of scrambled eggs and anchovy paste. The letdown is irony personified with the stench of anchovies to boot!

My favourite though has to be ‘Spotted Dick’ which definitely sounds like a diseased male appendage but isn’t.

It is a traditional English dessert with the raisins providing the spotted appearance!


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