Don’t eat your words

Do some descriptions of food just make you shudder? I asked Midtown Monthly food writer Becky Grunewald about her most-hated food adjectives: “The hardest thing about food writing is the adjectives. I don’t want to just say everything is ‘delicious’ or ‘excellent’ but I also don’t want to use creepy words like:

1. “Unctuous. The dictionary defines this word as ‘rich in oil or fat,’ so I’ll concede that it’s a useful word. However, I just find the sound of it to be loathsome. I just imagine a smarmy guy with a waxed mustache cooing ‘unctuous’ while rubbing his hands together. Perhaps I’ve put too much thought into this.”

2. “Mouthfeel. More writers use this when talking about beer or wine than food and, again, I’ll admit that it has a real meaning that no other word can quite cover, but I still hate it. Yuck, now I’m imagining the greasy, mustachioed guy saying ‘unctuous mouthfeel’!”

3. “I guess the top of the list would really have to be ‘yummers’ and the lesser derivative ‘yum’ (as in, ‘This crepe is yum’). This isn’t one you see in much ‘pro’ food writing, but it is rampant on the Internet at sites such as It’s just way too cutesy for me.”