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Charlie's Menu-to-English Dictionary

If only all menus were so honest.
If only all menus were so honest.

Ever notice how restaurant menus are beginning to resemble a politician's campaign speeches? Lots of buzzwords, catch phrases, empty platitudes -- a steaming pile of verbal roughage signifying very little.

"Insipid Farms baby greens, picked by virgins at the first breath of springtime, lovingly dressed with balsamic vinegar drawn from ancient casks hidden in Guido's basement and kissed with cheese made from the milk of magical goats that live in the clouds above Siena."

Yeah. Whatever.

So since in the restaurant biz, as in politics, nothing means quite what it seems, Clean Plate Charlie has compiled this modest dictionary of currently trendy menu buzzwords. Eat 'em and weep.

Artisanal: Made by former real estate agent going through midlife crisis

Biodynamic: Grown in shit

Free range: You can't afford it

Fresh: Recently thawed


Grass-fed: Tastes like lawn clippings


Hand-made: Poorly made

Heirloom: Already starting to rot


Heritage breed: Endangered species


Kobe: Hugely annoying basketball player


Locally grown: Grown by farmer whose land is being sold to developers


Natural: Sucker!


Organic: You really can't afford it


Seasonal "We're out of that today"


Sustainable: The Sysco truck brings it three times a week

Wagyu: Cattle that live better than you do

-- As told to Bill Citara


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