Thursday, November 13, 2008


The twin 'drive engines' for food in humans are hunger and gastronomic pleasure. Who does not salivate by the mere mention of a food very ear to them in anticipation of the pleasure of consuming that food and the consequent enjoyment arising out of it? A hungry person how ever can devour any food as long as it satisfies his hunger. Only during the last 6-7 decades the nutritional and health dimensions weighed in selecting right foods and increasing awareness of the connection between food and health is transforming the food sector into a complex service provider to cater to the different needs and demands from populations spanning across all ages and different compromised health conditions. While the mainstream food products, with lot of nutrition and safety information splashed on the label, cater to a vast majority of consumers whose choices are guided by the eating quality of the products, fast changes are taking place amongst the population in their concept of healthy food leading to development and marketing of a vast array of products with more and more emphasis on nutrition and health.

There is another dimension to the food discipline which is not generally noticed. This pertains to the contributions made by this sector to the English Lexicon during the last one century. Many descriptive terminologies used to define or describe food quality such as color, shape, appearance, smell, taste, texture etc have slowly crept into every day uses to describe real life situations. It is common to use some of the colors of foods to communicate effectively the color description in other cases too. Thus Lemon Yellow, Orange Red, Saffron Red, Cherry Red, Coffee Brown, Chocolate Brown, Mustard Yellow, Milky White and Wheat Brown are some of the contributions from real foods to the common vocabulary used every day for conveying the reality better during conversations. Egg Head, Corn on the feet, Egg shaped objects use the peculiar shape of the egg which other wise cannot be conveyed effectively.

Sweet Memories, Bitter Memories, Sweet Heart, Sour Note, Fruity Odor all translate the feelings into appropriate expressions. A Crisp sentence in a script, Sizzling Hot condition, Watery consistency, Popping noise, Gritty determination convey the most effective experience in many dialogs. Wafers and Chips, Sandwich, Crust, Extrusion, Swallow, Cooking, Stew, Pulverize, Blend, Soup, Boiling, Baking, Essence, Bean stalk, Butchering, Jam, Nutty and many others are not confined to food alone but find widespread use in many other areas to communicate with better effects.

It will be interesting to introspect as to the extent of contribution made by food to make the English language more forceful and communicative in our day to day life. After all the role of food is not confined to physical well being of man but also mental stimulation through better communication through some of the vocabulary associated with food.


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