Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Food Words of the Year!

Every December as the year winds down, we look back over all the things that’ve come and gone with the flip of calendar pages – everything from music to fashion, movies to technology, books to cuisine. Maybe 2013 didn’t see lots of monumental events like the election of a new president or the demotion of a planet, but lots of changes did occur in one of my favorite areas: Words!

Out of the hundreds of new words that snagged dictionary slots in 2013, special honors went to “selfie,” the new word of the year in the U.S., and “omnishambles,” which took the title in the U.K. Many of the new words sprouted in my favorite way – as if from little hybrid seeds. My personal word-development strategy (in both my characters’ fictional realm as well as my own life) relies heavily on mash-ups, combining modern slang with fuddy-duddery. And clearly I’m not the only one; “fauxhawk” and “babymoon” are only some of the dozens of popular blends to join the OED/ODO* in 2013.

Of course, the listings I’m always most interested in are the FOOD words! 2013 brought many of my great loves – guac, pear cider, appletini, street food. The thing is, out of all of those, the only really new item is the appletini. Guac is just an abbreviation and the other two are simply preexisting words placed side-by-side. So, despite their deliciousness, I don’t quite see those terms merit their own dictionary entries. (Face it, if you can’t deduce what pear cider is without looking it up, you’re in trouble.)

Anyway, this deficit of new food words forces me to ask: Have we actually named and recorded every ingredient and delicacy in existence? Has our society gone so global that English has no more tacos or schnitzel or ugli left to discover on our planet?

And if so – if the only new food words from here on out are going to represent trends like the appletini – then won’t those food items go in and out of fashion so quickly that they’ll be added one year, only to become obsolete and ready for deletion the next? 

Well, it turns out that no words are ever removed from the dictionary!** According to former OED editor Sarah Ogilvie, “If a word gets into the OED, it never leaves. If it becomes obsolete, we put a dagger beside it, but it never leaves.” Who knew?
I’m sure glad to hear this, both as a foodie and a reader. Otherwise how would future Twain readers taste corn-dodgers along with Huck and Jim? Or know how lucky they are to not have to eat curds and whey like Miss Muffett?

So thank you, OED, for keeping historical cuisine alive…and I hungrily await the discovery of sustenance on Mars to introduce new food words in the future. ;)

*Oxford English Dictionary/Oxford Dictionaries Online

**Except for the 1972-1986 Burchfield years; he illicitly deleted “foreign” words in an attempt to preserve “true” English. Yes, he tried to take away our hummus and croissants, y’all!

Thursday, December 19, 2013

FOODFIC: Please Welcome Candy Ann Little, Author of Unforgiving Ghosts


Naughty or Nice
By: Candy Ann Little

With Christmas approaching the little ones are wondering if they are on Santa’s naughty or nice list. As adults we are also doing our own naughty and nice lists, but with food. This time of year brings out all the bakers and foodies. There is so much to taste and share. We have work parties, school parties, family tradition recipes, big dinners and family gatherings. Let’s face it all these activities would be pretty boring without food and sweet treats. (Okay and alcohol but that is another post. LOL!!)

Food makes us feel happy, comforted, warm and sometimes even naughty – like when I eat a whole box of chocolates, or you eat that last piece of pie or cake at midnight. And how many times have we crammed those last few bites into our mouth when our stomach was already stretched so full it felt like it might explode.

But the holidays are not the only times we think about food. Every event in our lives, happy or sad, big or small, revolves around food. We eat at birthday parties, date nights, and even funerals. So is it any wonder that as authors our stories revolve around food?

In Unforgiving Ghosts, my character Megan Black is overwhelmed by her grief and desperately trying to find peace. Deciding to leave her small town in Illinois, she moves to Santa Barbra, California. She is young, didn’t finish college and doesn’t have much work experience, but she can cook. That skill helps her land a temporary job as personal cook to a wealthy family.

Even in a job that she is skilled at, Megan still struggles with confidence. She doesn’t feel her down-home, middle class dishes are sophisticated enough for rich people, but the Petersons love her food. For this book I used recipes that are my husband’s favorite, like sausage and gravy over mashed potatoes and biscuits, fried chicken, mac & cheese and roast beef. I also have her bake cookies, chocolate cake and apple pie. Since this story takes place from October to January, I was also able to get some Thanksgiving and Christmas dishes in as well.

Of course, cooking in the kitchen isn’t the only heat in this book. Megan is also trying to avoid the charms of her boss’s son, Steven. Although she feels he’s too hot to handle, she also has other reasons for not wanting to start a relationship with him. However, the handsome playboy has decided Megan is a dish he wants and he won’t be turned away. But will the relationship end up burning him?

Will Steven and Megan be on the naughty or nice list? Which list will you be on this holiday season?

Thanks for stopping by to share your food for thought, Candy!

You can find Candy and her work here:

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Toastworthy Teens - Samantha Manns

Samantha Manns, 89 Acts of Kindness

Samantha Manns had perhaps the most poignant and productive response to the loss of a loved one that I’ve ever heard. 

When the 18-year-old’s grandmother passed away, Samantha thought, “Maybe I can’t be happy right now, but I can do things to make other people happy.”

Specifically, 89 other people; Samantha pledged to perform one act of random kindness for each year of her beloved grandmother’s life. 

So far she’s done everything from giving blood to baking a cake for a lonely senior, and to both share her progress as well as “inspire people to commit their OWN acts of kindness,” she’s started a Facebook page. 
To check in with Samantha, offer her suggestions for future kind acts, or get ideas to follow in her footsteps, visit:

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Comment below with your email address so we can get a post together!

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Toastworthy Teens - Joey Prusak

Joey Prusak, Eye Witness

Maybe what Joey Prusak witnessed while at work in Dairy Queen wasn’t a major crime, but it sure violated the law of human decency. When a visually impaired customer unknowingly dropped a $20 bill, the woman in line behind him wordlessly picked it up and put it in her own purse! 

Luckily for the man (and the future of the human race), 19-year-old Joey was on duty. 

Joey first calmly asked the woman to give back the money, but she actually had the audacity to create a scene of denial. The astonished teen then informed the woman that she was “extremely disrespectful” and asked her to leave. When she exited without returning the cash, Joey took the extra beautiful step of giving the victim $20 from his own pocket

Even better is how surprised Joey’s manager was to later receive a praising email from a witness to the scene. Joey’d never even thought to tell his boss about the incident where he’d just done what “felt like the right thing to do.”

I’m certainly glad so many folks have not let this young hero go unsung. :)

Do you know a toast-worthy teen you’d like to see featured here at BWATE? 
Comment below with your email address so we can get a post together!