I was in Sainsbury’s the other day (I wouldn’t normally shop there, but some crushed Bee Gee had nicked all the camembert out of Tesco) when I saw a pack of sausages described as ‘Butcher’s Choice’. I wonder what happened to qualify them for such an honour. Did – gasp! – an actual butcher choose the meat or sausages from a selection of other meats or sausages? And was this butcher a knuckle-dragging simian, whose most recent other task had been a dead-eyed and furious bout of onanism? Or perhaps he was the butcher from Fortnums, moonlighting in the Sainsbury’s abattoir for a few extra quid. We may never know the truth…
It reminded me that I often see additional words, particularly in the description of food, that have absolutely no real meaning at all.
1. Pan fried. Admittedly, there is another frying option (the deep fat fryer), but I think when we’re talking about sea bass or lamb chops the implication is fairly clear. In fact, it does rather smack of insecurity to think you ought to remove the possibility of deep fat fryer doubt. But at least it’s not as stupid as…
2. Oven baked. Have you ever baked something in something other than an oven? How do you do that? The dictionary says that it means cooking, especially in an oven, but it fails to specify where else you bake things. I think they might bake stuff in the sun in sub-Saharan Africa, but again, I wouldn’t really expect that to be one of the options when I’m eating at a gastropub in Camden.
3. Best-ever. I’ve seen this quite a lot on chocolate bars that have changed their formula slightly. On the surface it seems fine, but the implication must be that there is a possibility that a new iteration of the bar might not be its best-ever because, for some reason, they decided to make a slightly crappier one. Is that the case on all the bars that don’t have ‘best-ever’ on them? I think we should be told.
4. Limited edition. Kind of loses its cachet when it appears on a Kit-Kat Orange Chunky (limited to 342,221,937).
5. Homemade. So someone made this ice cream/cake/tart in their home, then brought it in to the restaurant? Who was it? Was it the chef? Why does he/she prefer to cook some things at home when he/she has a perfectly good professional kitchen to work in? What about all the hassle of bringing it in? Wouldn’t the ice cream melt a bit? Or did they just add a pointless adjective to that thing they got in a massive catering delivery?