Turns Out Being Book Smart Is Just About Eating Queso And Stuff

Real-life definitions of Merriam-Webster's new additions.

March 5, 2018 ● 2 min read

By Richie Nakano | Image iStock; photo illustration ChefsFeed


Merriam-Webster added a truckload of new words to the dictionary, and a good chunk of them are words that perplex your Mom when she gets fancy and shops at Whole Foods.

It's best to be well-informed, so here are the main things you need to know about some of the culinary newcomers.

Aquafaba: That expensive still water that waiters always try to sell you. Look, Pierre, just because I said I wanted still water that doesn’t mean I want to pay $9 for it. THE TAP WATER IS FINE FOR MY TRASH SELF.

Oh shit, that's Acqua Panna. This is definitely just bean water that makes vegans think they're eating eggs.

Arnold Palmer: That drink that your Dad always orders at lunch, followed by a dramatic re-telling of the fourth round of the 1959 Thunderbird Invitational where Arnold Palmer shot a 62. You stare back at your dad and mumble, “Uh, is that good?”

Cotija: That cheese that you always mean to buy for taco night but end up subbing out for pre-shredded “Mexican Blend” because nothing matters.

Fond: “I’ll just let this pan soak overnight.”

Harissa: That spice that caused you and your ex to break-up, after they ordered “harissa-spiced duck wings.” This is also the spice that is legally required for the consumption of roasted carrots—and drizzled on pizza, and in your aioli, and as a margarita rim, and as a zesty sorbet—in restaurants where the average dish costs $20 and up.

Kabocha: That squash that your winter squash risotto calls for, but for fuck’s sake, all they sell around here is butternut and spaghetti squash. Once you finally get your hands on your kabocha squash you promptly sever two fingers trying to split it in half.

Kombucha: That beverage that your friends are either low-key addicted to because it like, "changed their life" with its magical healing properties; or terrified of, after it gave them explosive diarrhea at work. Or both. MAGIC COMES WITH RISKS, people.

Natto: What your friend who's “really into ramen” thinks is solely served at Japanese breakfasts.

Poke: What Denise from accounts receivable is craving for lunch, but, “I mean, I don’t care, we can get lunch wherever.”

Queso: That thing Chipotle sells as either a thin dip or a weirdly thick beverage. Fun fact: In Texas, two-day-old queso also qualifies as a "sturdy pair of work gloves."

Tzatziki: No Mom, you cant just “sub sour cream.”

Unoaked: That thing that your friend who’s “in a wine club” spends 30 minutes describing every time you have a drink with them.

Za’atar: The Middle Eastern spice blend that your friend now thinks is anything with sesame seeds in it. This is mostly your fault since you tell them everything is za'atar whenever they ask. Everything bagel? Za'atar. Furikake? Za'atar. Those fancy sprinkles on the hummus? Herbes de Provence, probably. 

You might be the worst.

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