Thursday, June 28, 2007

Linguistic Fraud at My Local Cafe

I'm angry at apple wood smoked bacon.

Now I know what you're about to say: "Gee, June. That's perfectly sane."

But before you reach for a tranquilizer gun and a large net, just hear me out.

Apple wood smoked bacon is lately everywhere I want to be. It's in the quiche at the fru-fru little café where I sometimes sit and work, it's in the club sandwich at the other fru-fru café where I sometimes go to write, and it's in the BLT at the slightly less fru-fru café where I sometimes work. What's more, it's usually a headliner in any dish in which it's served, getting top billing in the list of ingredients and often in the name of the dish.

Yet I'm here today to say that I believe the increasing popularity of apple wood smoked bacon is a piece of linguistic fraud designed to pass off greasy pork as a crisp and fresh gourmet delight.

Think about the words: apple wood smoked bacon. (I prefer to spell and punctuate it applewood-smoked bacon, but that form doesn't seem to show up as often.)

What's the first sensory association that comes to mind? If you're like me, your ear picks up mainly on the first word, "apple," and stops there. You think crisp, sweet, healthy, fresh. But in fact what you're ordering is about as un-apple-like as you can get.

Here's how far removed this foodstuff is from its alpha word, apple.

* It's not apple. It's bacon.
* It's not apple-flavored. It's smoked (smoke-flavored).
* It's not smoked with apples. It's smoked with wood.
* What kind of wood? Apple wood.

What the hell is apple wood/applewood? I' m still not sure, but I bet it tastes a lot more like wood than like apples. And I can confirm that its smoke, when engulfing a side of pork, retains for its finished product about as much apple flavor as the steak from a cow that once grazed in a field a half mile from an apple orchard.

And that's why I'm angry at apple wood smoked bacon.

Next week: Why drawn butter is useless when dealing with crabgrass.


Unknown said...

I'm delighted that Carolyn Ho-Jo was correct about you, June. Grammar and humor mixed, smoked, and jelled into a wonderful concoction of new ways to learn the craft of writing and editing.

Gotta get your books. Carolyn says I need to put them on my resource page of my Web site: Take a look and tell me if you want to be associate with this bunch before I gleefully enter you into the raffle.

Yvonne Perry

June Casagrande said...

Hi, Yvonne.

Carolyn's great, huh? Thanks for visiting the blog. Your site looks like you have some great resources for writers.

The book I most frequently recommend to writers is Garner's Modern American Usage (it's by the guy who wrote the grammar chapter of the Chicago Manual of Style.)

Anyhoo, if it's not a paid thing or anything like that, I'd be thrilled if you listed my books/blog/etc. there! (Not sure what you mean by raffle, but if it's a reference to joining the riffraff, count me in!)



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