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Do you name your dishes?

questions“What do you call this?”

Having cooked for many, many people – friends, family, acquaintances, etc – over the years, I have found that there are two types of people. Those who are into cooking will ask what is in a dish. Those who aren’t tend to ask me what it is called, instead. The first type of question is straightforward and easy to answer. The second is not.

Now, I’m not talking about cooking in a restaurant or anything like that, since every dish on the menu is going to have some sort of identifying title, just as the recipes in my archives do. I’m simply talking about dishes you make at home. I usually come up with names based on the ingredients in the food – Dark Chocolate Muffins or Grilled Peach Shortcakes with Candied Ginger , for instance – or on the source of the recipe, as in Dave’s Turkey Chili. These titles indicate what a dish is and how I identify it here, but not necessarily what I call it. Frankly, I call the vast majority of them “dessert” and leave it at that.

So the question today is do you name your dishes? If not, when someone asks you “what do you call” a particular cookie recipe (for example), do you make up a name or, as I do, simply say something along the lines of “a cookie with chocolate and butterscotch chips” and leave it at that?

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  • Deanna (domestic chicky)
    July 20, 2007

    I have to admit when i first read this in my google reader, I thought of “I call my plates Frank, and my bowls Judy, etc…” LOL
    I do a little bit of both I think…naming it by description, and going by a conventional name if it has one…

  • Debs
    July 20, 2007

    I’ve been lurking for a while — love your recipes. Anyway, finally replying. If a dish has a specific name and I know it and followed the recipe closely, I’ll use it, otherwise, it’s either the generic name “panzanella” or something more descriptive like “orange pudding cake from this great blog I read, only I added chocolate chips” (okay, so maybe it’s toward the end of dinner and I’ve had one glass of wine too many…)

  • naomi
    July 20, 2007

    Descriptive names, all the way. (Which is also how I “name” my knitting projects.)

  • cybele
    July 20, 2007

    Most of mine are just descriptive: Peppermint Stick Chocolate Cake but I liked the Hellfire Chocolate Chip Cookies I came up with earlier this year. My husband is a malapropism master and sometimes we name his dishes after such things.

  • Chubbypanda
    July 20, 2007

    I tend to try to describe what’s in the dish. If someone insists on a name, I just make the description really really short.

  • melissa
    July 21, 2007

    Hahahah, we had a friend over for dinner last night, for which I made a sort of Middle Eastern/subcontinental lentil and potato stewy thing, with flatbreads on the side. She asked me what it was called, and I said “now, if I had a food blog, I’d come up with some sort of fancy name for it. But seeing as how I made it up on the spot tonight, you’re going to have to settle for Lentilly Goo”.

  • claire joy
    July 21, 2007

    When I’m experimenting (which is most of the time) I call it “blankety blank surprise”… so my dishes have had the assorted names of Mexican surprise, Bulghur surprise, Asian surprise, Tuna surprise… you get the picture

  • Leslie
    July 22, 2007

    I name them whatever works… if it is a new recipe that does not have a name, I try out names until one sticks… I have two dishes I don’t know the actual name for but I call them Magic Chicken and Special Chicken respectively. 🙂 I have a few others but they are sort of embarrassing. 😀

  • mrs potato head
    July 22, 2007

    Nice on Deanna – that’s what I thought too!!! The white platter is Bob, the big blue bowl is Joe…… etc etc!!!

  • anonlurkermom
    July 23, 2007

    my mother’s maiden name was king and we had chicken a la king for fancy fancy brunch celebrations. so, to even the field, she invented beef a la {our notreadyforprimetime family name}. It was floured cube stakes, fried and sliced and put in red sauce served over rice. we loved it.

  • Zoe
    July 24, 2007

    I always struggle with this! I tend to just use descriptions as the names of my meals, but I always yearn to come up with creative names for them. I’m just not good at coming up with titles or witty wordplay in general. However, there are some funny comments either my husband or I have made about dishes that have just stuck. I make a broccoli and cauliflower salad (you know, the standard one with mayo dressing, bacon, etc?) that my husband loves so much he said it’s as addictive as crack. So we call it Broccoli Crack now. 🙂 I don’t think we’ve ever called it that in front of others, but in the house that’s its name.

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    August 11, 2007

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