Charlie's Menu-to-English Dictionary

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.

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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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