22 Apr Wanted: Collective Nouns for the Kitchen
As cooks, we have enough verbs – although whether or not we should use them is up for debate. Knife in hand, you can mince, chop, dice, slice, Julienne and pare. Got at spoon? Stir, beat, cream, fold or spread. Add some heat and the options seems limitless — brown, fry, sear, sauté, deglaze, braise, broil, bake, simmer or roast. Heck. We even have fancy words for doing nothing. Twiddle your thumbs or surf the net while the turkey rests, the beef marinates, and berries macerate.
As I said, I’ve got enough verbs.
I am, however, sadly lacking in the noun department. Specifically, collective nouns for the kitchen —like the vocabulary we have for animals. I imagine Poe rubbed his hands in glee when he learned about a murder of crows. As a cat owner, I assure you no term captures feline self-adoration like a pride of lions.
But what about cooks? Surely we’re more than a mere group. Should we be a roulade? And cookbook authors who cling to old paper books. Would we be a clutch?Clearly we need new phrases.
Even our miscellanies are neglected. I know. I know. We have sets, collections and nests of dishes, bowls, measuring cups and such. But do any of these words capture the utility and diversity of those odd-sized wooden spoons jammed into a pottery bowl on your counter? How do you describe the eclectic assortment of kitchen gadgets cluttering up your drawers? And “set” doesn’t really apply to a disorderly collection of mismatched mugs or tea cups.
Surely cooks and their collections deserve more descriptive names.
What do you collect and what noun would fit? I’ll start. I have an army of appliances lined up on my counter. They’re always at the ready and obey my orders.
Over to you…