Category Archives: Taste

The Taste of Words – Sweet and Sassy

I was very tempted to make this post a sticky but considered the pun too obvious!

There are scores of words in the food-word category that just drip with beauty and meaning.  I love the word syrup and all its thick viscosity that just oozes with association.

Likewise treacle and molasses.


Surprisingly though molasses eases off the tongue far too readily for a word with that connotation.  It doesn’t sound anywhere near the sheer clagginess of syrup and treacle.

And I use the word clagginess with deliberation.  Thick, sticky and gooey.  Can’t you just feel the words cloyingly sweet in your mouth.  In fact in the North East of England there is a treacle toffee called claggum.  Fabulous!

They may well be sweet but not sassy.  Sassy is reserved for sweets (desserts) such as a torte, bombe or sponge.

A sponge is what mother used to make.  It has to be light and luscious.  A cake sandwiching whipped thickened cream, fruit or jam or preserves.  The word sound reflects the softness of the cake with soft consonants.

It is vital when writing about a bombe to ensure that a) it is spelled correctly otherwise it becomes a very different item, and b) that even spelled correctly it is not confused with the code-breaking machine used at Bletchley Park during World War II.  A bombe glacee, or simply a bombe, is an ice-cream dessert that has been frozen in the shape of a sphere, thus a bomb.

The only explosion you’ll get with a bombe though is that of rich, creamy mouth-fill.  Yum.

I was taught that a torte originates from the Italian torta. (Like the subtle use of alliteration there?)  I have since come to learn that it can be filled with buttercream, mousse, fruits and often rum.  Probably the most famous torte is that devised at the Hotel Sacher in Vienna:  the sachertorte.

Now if that ain’t sweet and sassy I don’t know what is!  Now where’s my dessert fork …!




 The Taste of Words – Nice n Spicy

Indian Spices

I have always had a fascination for Eastern spices.  I mean just look at the colours of those in the picture above, absolutely fabulous. The names of them too enables one to create a wonderful taste of words.  There are so many that I could select, but like a good chef I choose those that have a certain piquancy and texture that compliments the composition of the spicy word.

So, I start with a little Saffron.  Made from the dried stigmas of the crocus flower though there is no disgrace or discredit in that, making this rich orange-red coloured flavouring.  It’s quite expensive so we’ll use only a pinch or two. Saffron Next we need to add a little Cardamom, an aromatic South East Asian plant, originating in India.  Believed to have health-promoting properties and can be used in the treatment of depression.  It has a pungency and its aroma suggests lemon, mint and smoke.  Besides that, it is a great word to say out loud! Cardamom

I would think just about everyone knows Ginger.  Included here because of its onomatopeaic qualities.  Even the name conjures up images of red- heads, ginger nut biscuits and ginger beer.  Even Second World War pilots with handle-bar moustaches and silk scarves.  Pit it looks pretty ugly in its root form. Ginger While Saffron is  lovely orange-red colour, Paprika is most definitely RED: Paprika Not surprising really, as it comes from the chilli pepper family.  Again, the taste is in its sound.  This is evident when when it is sprinkled over colourless dishes:  it improves the food’s appearance not its flavour.

Garam Masala.  Doesn’t that sound simply fabulous?  It sounds fascinatingly spicy.  Garam means “hot” and masala is a mixture of spices, and is highly aromatic, so whether you smell it, eat it or simply say it, there is much pleasure to be had from the words.Garam Masala

And finally, to round off our dip into spicy names comes Star Anise.  The name, its shape, its exoticism just abound in style.  Of all the spices it is visually the star and its aniseed flavour enhances slow-cooked Chinese dishes wonderfully well. Star Anise

Yummy.  I’m off for a curry!