I’ve just been on a food writing course. I’m sure you’re delighted if you’re a regular reader for reasons I can but imagine. And I’m excited to put into practice all the hunks of useful information I have eagerly digested and present you with perfectly formed prose, without passive verbs, long and complicated words and I’ll try to cut out the irony. Never, ever use irony.
I do have one little issue with the weekend. It has been bugging me and I’d like to share it with you and see what you think. You see we had a little session on words that we shouldn’t use, over-use or even mis-use, say for example the obvious; nice – fine - unctuous (which means oily but when it comes to food is apparently rarely used in its proper context). But then someone mentioned the word delicious accompanied by a groan and the implication that it didn’t really mean anything. Some others agreed.
I’m confused. Does not the word delicious mean that something tastes really good? A word that plays seductively with the tip of your tongue, committing you to three consonant-laden syllables. I have quite enjoyed using the word delicious in the past on my blog and am very aware of being a regular user. Have I been an embarrassingly naïve food blogger? Six months writing recipes and food stories and nobody said anything! Feels like I’ve been wandering around in public with the back of my skirt tucked into my knickers.
The Oxford English Dictionary’s definition of delicious is; ‘highly pleasant to the taste’. It then goes on to state that the word’s origin is from Middle English, 'also in the sense, characterised by sensuous indulgence’. Now I like that. I’m not sure though that when telling you how good a particular recipe is that I should be replacing the word delicious with the fact that it is ‘characterised by sensuous indulgence’ too often. You might get the wrong idea about me, what with that and my knickers.
What words can I use to replace it with I wonder that simply define how good, good food is? Scrumptious, yummy, delectable. All reasonably good foody words I suppose. I am wondering however, how easy it’ll be to slip back into old habits having exhausted my small repertoire of non-delicious words.
Maybe I could somehow organise with my computer that every time I write the word, one of those angry red zig-zaggy underlines will, as it commonly never fails to do, remind me of my mistake. It could tut at the same time to make me feel suitably dense.
In conclusion, I therefore forecast henceforth that I will indulge in breaking all the aforementioned rules of writing, what I learned last weekend and sanctimoniously fraternise with humongously complicated words in a desperate attempt to avoid the use of one innocent and fittingly descriptive one.
Oh, the delicious irony of it.