If you’ve been to a restaurant anywhere in the Bay Area lately, you’ve probably eaten or ordered a few of the following:
—A mousse of something that probably doesn’t sound like it should be “moussed.” (Although, what even constitutes a deserved moussing? These are the things that keep me up at night.)
—Something that was infused with something you’ve never heard of or something that was infused that you’ve never heard of in the first place.
—A reduction of something that you didn’t know needed to be reduced because it didn’t need to lose weight, and you liked it just the way it was.
—An object that threatens to sting you. Like, its name has “stinging” in it (which is horrifying).
—A food that you did not know was a form of meat that was, in fact, a form of meat that you had to act like you TOTALLY knew about when it got to the table.
Look, I get it. There has to be an air of mystery that comes with the fahhhncy food we go to fahhhncy places to eat; otherwise, we wouldn’t give away all our fahhhncy money if we knew it was basically just for an herb and some classy ham tossed in a sauce you could have made, I bet.
Here’s the problem, though: The extreme way that menus at restaurants talk foodie to us is getting to a point where we have no idea what the fuck we’re even eating anymore.
And we have a right to know. Because I care about you, I hit the Internet pretty hard to get the answers we’re all afraid to Google when we’re out on a date.
Here’s an idiot’s guide to a bunch of ingredients you’ll probably see in the dishes you may order at the restaurants you probably had a hard time getting into.
This is what you’re fucking eating.
Fahhhncy translation: A perennial vegetable that’s a low, stout cultivar of cabbage that can be eaten raw as well as cooked.
Normal translation: German turnip. Seriously, something with that badass/hardcore of a name is just a turnip? What a fucking letdown.
Fahhhncy translation: A bread roll made by flattening the center of a ball of dough with a rolling pin so that it becomes an oval shape and then folding the oval in half.
Normal translation: Bread. Seriously, it’s just fucking bread. You’ve gotta be fucking kidding me.
Fahhhncy translation: An unsmoked Italian bacon prepared with pig’s jowls or cheeks. Its name is derived from guancia, which is Italian for cheek.
Normal translation: CHEEKS. YOU’RE EATING A FUCKING PIG CHEEK, MAN. Oh, wait, it tastes like bacon.
Fahhhncy translation: An Italian or Italian-American relish of pickled vegetables in vinegar or oil.
Normal translation: An overly fancy, hard-to-pronounce Italian name for vegetables that looks like the stuff you get at picnics. Often referred to as “hot mix” in America and served on beef sandwiches that you eat when you’re probably drunk. We call bullshit, fancy sounding food. You’re a condiment.
Fahhhncy translation: A Tunisian hot chili sauce whose main ingredients are piri piri (a type of chili pepper), serrano peppers, and other hot chili peppers, spices, and herbs such as garlic paste, coriander seed, red chili powder, and caraway as well as some vegetable or olive oil.
Normal translation: The new Sriracha. Really, that’s all you need to know there.
Fahhhncy translation: A nut and red-pepper-based sauce from Tarragona, Catalonia, Spain. It is typically made from any mixture of roasted or raw almonds, pine nuts, hazelnuts, roasted garlic, olive or sunflower oil and bitxo peppers
Normal translation: It’s Spanish pesto with peppers, who are we fucking kidding here?
Fahhhncy translation: Refers to members of the genus Prunus, which includes plums, cherries, peaches, apricots, and nectarines.
Normal translation: “We didn’t want to just tell you it’s just a plum or an apricot because you probably wouldn’t have paid a billion dollars for it, then. Mike bought most of what we used on 24th, like, an hour ago.”
Fahhhncy translation: The reduced grape juice out of which balsamic vinegar is made.
Normal translation: A vinegar. A fancy vinegar. You didn’t order sushi; don’t worry.
Fahhhncy translation: A type of salume (Italian charcuterie) made by curing strips of fatback with rosemary and other herbs and spices.
Normal translation: Tasty, tasty meat that’s made of tons of delicious, delicious fat. Do you like salt? Do you like fat? Did you order Lardo? You did it.
Fahhhncy translation: A small, round red chili grown in the Calabria region of Italy that is known for its intense heat and is rivaled only by the habanero.
Normal translation: It’s a really fucking hot pepper, man.
Fahhhncy translation: Any of a number of small, typically fleshy leaved plants (the Portulacaceae family) that grow in damp habitats or waste places. They are considered a noxious weed by the USDA.
Normal translation: Just a weed that grows out of the sidewalk that’s totally OK to eat because it’s a superfood, and if a food is super, just eat that shit.
Fahhhncy translation: An elongated, sweet, three-lobed pepper that ripens from light-greenish yellow to orange to red.
Normal translation: A pretty generic fucking pepper that’s really easy for people to cook with that is in no way a gypsy.
Fahhhncy translation: A process of preserving a food that is one of those somewhat advanced cooking techniques that has a relatively long inactive prep time whereby not much is required from the cook other than the occasional moment of attention.
Normal translation: It’s just a super-fancy way to preserve some shit, such as a
tomato or tuna or seemingly anything that wants to be