Show Mobile Navigation

10 Over-Used Restaurant Buzzwords

‘Jumbo shrimp!’ Remember the comedian George Carlin making us laugh at the absurdity of restaurants using the buzzword ‘jumbo’ in front of shrimp? What made this funny? The realization that we saw this type of thing all the time, right there in front of us, on menus, and thought nothing of it.

I thought of this the other day when I was about to have a nice meal at a restaurant and all across the menu I noticed various ‘buzzwords’ used to try to entice me to buy the food. You have all seen them. A simple ‘hamburger’ description isn’t good enough – though I know very well what a hamburger is and what it will look and probably taste like. No, the simple word ‘hamburger’ is not sufficient. To lure me in and get me to try THEIR hamburger, they use buzzwords to describe it. Therefore, a simple hamburger becomes a ‘hand-selected, free-range, grass-fed, organic, choicest beef hamburger.’ Or some such nonsense. I thought to myself – now here is an idea for a top ten list!

Doing some research, I was quickly overwhelmed with possible top ten choices. Hell, I could rattle off about twenty just from memory. Between eating out and reading many menus, and constant media bombardment, we all know these buzzwords. Their use (and over use) render them mostly meaningless. I mean, can a gigantic chain fast food place with hundreds of thousands of restaurants scattered around the globe really ‘hand-select’ anything they serve? But there it is, right there on the menu. ‘Hand-select salads’ or ‘select prime beef.’ These buzzwords must work, or why would all restaurants continue to use them? So here are ten over-used restaurant buzzwords.



220735010 Dd55A2899A Z

At the dawn of time, before the 1970s, before there was lite beer, there was – beer. Then a black obelisk of marketing appeared before man, and gave unto the world the word – ‘lite.’ Meant to imply ‘light’ (as in, not heavy), they did not even spell it correctly. But soon the idea of a light (lite) beer caught on, and sold tons of product for Miller Brewing Company. Everyone jumped on board. Not just other beer makers, everything and anything having to do with food, within a few short years, would have the post script ‘lite’ attached to it. It got so that everything could be ‘lite.’ A Mad Magazine parody of this summed it up nicely when it depicted a can of ‘Chicken Fat Lite.’ As I am writing this I am drinking ‘low calorie’ Gatorade though it could just as easily be called ‘Gatorade Lite.’ Today, the word ‘lite’ and all it is meant to convey has taken over. Entire sections of the menu at restaurants are titled ‘Lite,’ or ‘Lite-Faire.’ Is the food really ‘lite’? Yes? In what sense? Is it lighter? Less heavy? Lower calorie? Lower fat? Healthier or better for you? In fact, the answer could be all of the above, or none of the above. The word ‘lite’ has simply taken on a mythology of its own. The word is slapped on the product or used as a buzzword to describe a menu item, and we just automatically know what it means. Right? Don’t we?




When you go to a restaurant, seldom if ever is it located inside someone’s home. Yet the menu tells you their mashed potatoes are ‘homemade.’ Seems odd? Some restaurants, especially those that really are small and family owned and operated (something that is fast disappearing from the landscape of the United States), really do serve you food that is homemade – homemade as in it comes from a home recipe and is prepared by a family who may actually live at the restaurant (making it their ‘home’). But too often you see the word ‘homemade’ attached to foods in larger or even chain restaurants. There is just no way this food is in any conventional sense of the word, ‘homemade.’ Perhaps it is ‘prepared by hand.’ You see that a lot too, but at least that accurately describes the process by which the food you are eating was prepared. Made not by a machine, but by hand. Too often the word ‘homemade’ is used interchangeably with ‘hand-made.’




One of my all-time favorites, the word ‘generous’ is usually added to the word ‘portion’ – describing the sheer volume of food that is about to be laid before you to eat. But just what is a ‘generous portion’ of food? Very subjective wouldn’t you say? It is meant to imply that we (the restaurant) are going to pile it on! Sometimes this is the case and truly American-sized portions of food, so huge no human could eat all of it, arrives on your plate. Sometimes, not so much. The ‘generous portion’ turns out, upon close examination, to be pretty much the same portion of the food you would get from any similar restaurant. Have you ever seen anyone return a meal for lack of generosity in the portions? Or, can you imagine somewhere, someone wanting to return their meal and saying to the waitress ‘I specifically requested the miserly portion.’




I am old enough to remember when restaurants didn’t care if they served ‘healthy’ food, nor did they try to convince you the deep-fried greasy thing you were eating was anything other than what it was. People ate eggs and bacon and potatoes for breakfast, and that was that. Life was simple then. You ate food, whatever it was, in whatever portions you wanted. You worked, you smoked cigarettes, and you died. Then along comes the 1980s and all of a sudden, scientists were telling us eggs were bad! Steak was bad! Anything from a pig was really bad! Overnight ‘Mr. Steak’ turned into ‘Finley’s.’ ‘Kentucky Fried Chicken’ morphed into ‘KFC.’ The words ‘steak’ and ‘fried’ went from being simple descriptions of what food was being served, to words that described a perception of an ‘unhealthy’ eating lifestyle. In other words – the kiss of death for chains in the 1980s-1990s when all of a sudden, people wanted to eat ‘healthy.’ Therefore, all manner of new buzzwords had to be invented to tell you the food you were eating off the menu was not going to kill your heart and liver, it was actually good for you! Examples included ‘wholesome,’ ‘fresh,’ and ‘natural.’



0919Bob%20Final Starseafood

Of all the recent food buzzwords you can find on restaurant menus, the most buzz-worthy has to be ‘signature.’ This word is meant to imply, to the diner, that what they are selecting off the menu and about to eat and enjoy, was made by someone who put their signature to it. OK, maybe not actually made as in prepared. The cook is not going to sign your food. But someone, somewhere, maybe came up with a new recipe or a new way to prepare the food, and as such, is personally certifying, through his or her signature, that what you are getting is, well, ‘signature.’ To be honest, I don’t know what this is meant to imply really.



Premiumbeefedited 0

Premium is a buzzword used to describe all manner of things, but at least here in the USA, we associate the word ‘premium’ mostly with gasoline. ‘Premium gas.’ It’s the most expensive button on the gas pump, the one we seldom push unless we are driving a car with an engine that requires it. Just what does the word ‘premium’ describe when I see it on a restaurant menu? Top-of-the-line? OK. The very best? OK. But how do I know what is being served to me is in fact ‘premium’ beef? What exactly is it that separates this chunk of cow meat from all the others and makes it deserving of the title? There was a time, not long ago, when the government decided, and enforced through regulation and inspection, certain grades of food, especially meat. To call meat ‘Grade A’ or ‘premium’ really meant something then. There was a described and quantifiable method to ensure that what you were getting really was ‘premium’ (as opposed to just, run of the mill and ordinary). But today you see the word ‘premium’ attached to all manner of food.



Artisanal V2 460X285

The word artisanal literally means ‘a worker who practices a trade or handcraft’ or ‘one who produces something, usually a food, in limited quantities using traditional methods.’ Wow. The word brings to mind real artisans: potters, barrel makers, monks cloistered away somewhere making beer, shepherd’s churning butter and making cheese. But today, you open a menu and there you see ‘artisanal’ cheese, or ‘artisanal’ beer. Even ‘artisanal sausage.’ The word ‘artisanal’ is now somewhat interchangeable with the ‘local’ or ‘slow’ food movement. Where food is prepared by hand, in small amounts, using traditional and sustainable methods. See, I used several buzzwords to describe a buzzword. But really that is what we are being sold when we pick up a menu and select an item with the word ‘artisanal’ on it. An image that in all likelihood, is a phantom. Was the cheese you are eating really made from hand-milked cows, and hand churned? Maybe. Was the ‘artisanal sausage’ ground up from the meat of a pig fed, well, fed what exactly? Pigs will eat anything. What makes the meat from a pig (sausage) ‘artisanal’? Did the sausage come from a pig that was ‘free-range’? Pigs are not free range animals. It does get a bit confusing. And I do not mean to make fun of the actual local food movement which I believe is a great thing and a more sustainable lifestyle would do all of us, and this world, a great favor. But really. ‘artisanal sausage’?




I live in the tomato capital of the world (how is that for a geographical food description buzzword?). Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, and to be specific, the little hamlet of Washington Borough, PA. Some of the very best tomatoes in the world are grown right here. Come visit the annual Washington Borough tomato festival some summer and see for yourself. I would have called it the ‘World Famous’ Washington Borough tomato festival, but it isn’t. That would be using an inaccurate buzzword to try to get you to come to the festival. I would not do that to Listverse readers.

Now, back on topic. I am no farmer, but having grown up here, I can attest to one undeniable fact about tomatoes. You need the sun to grow them. Yet, for some reason, restaurants everywhere want me to know that the tomatoes they are serving me are ‘sun-grown,’ or ‘sun-ripened.’ Well smack me upside the head in the county square! You don’t say? These tomatoes I am eating were ‘sun-ripened’?! I am impressed. I am even more impressed when I find my tomatoes were ‘sun-dried,’ or the coffee I am drinking was made with ‘sun-roasted’ beans, or the lettuce on my salad was ‘sun-grown.’




One of my personal pet peeve restaurant menu buzzwords. I know what a food award is, or at least is supposed to be. Some products, like certain beer and whisky brands, actually print the awards and medals they have won right on the can or bottle. Pabst Blue Ribbon beer is named after its award for goodness sake. It’s right there, on the can – a blue ribbon! So when I see ‘award-winning salad’ on a restaurant menu, I ask – ‘well, where is the award?’ ‘Is it hanging on the wall somewhere, maybe next to the rest rooms?’ ‘What was the award for?’ ‘Greenest colored lettuce?’ Call me a skeptic and a cynic, but I won’t believe the salad won any award, or at least not any award that counts, until I see it.




My #1 choice for overused food buzzword. Tuscan. Tuscan. You see it everywhere. Tuscan this, Tuscan that. What is it supposed to mean? I think it is supposed to implant in my mind some sort of vision of a sunny Mediterranean villa, with the light glistening off the sea and open air markets of fresh produce – the Tuscany region of Italy and the various Tuscan forms of cuisine from that area. But does what I am ordering off the menu have anything remotely to do with the Tuscany form of cuisine? And thus, more and more things on the menu bear the title ‘Tuscan.’ Deserved or not.


Made-up Words

Tumblr M4Swq3Sgdz1Qzvrcgo1 1280

Advertising is a cruel game. Especially in the fast food chain restaurant business. People want, or expect, something new from these chains, all the time. And marketers and advertisers are challenged with coming up with these new food choices. One of the latest developments I have seen, mostly on pizza and Mexican fast food advertising is the proliferation of words to describe the food, or food titles that simply make no sense at all. What is ‘green tomatillo sauce’? A Pico de Gallo? An Enchirito? What is a P’Zolo? Or a P’Zone? Who comes up with these words? They are tossed out there at you, in the fast-paced TV advertisement, usually with the food literally flying through the air too! They sound Mexican, or pizza-like, so they must be actual foods, right? Quick, did you see it? Flying across the TV screen through a perfect sheet of flowing vertical water. It was a P’Zone!

  • Sender

    Think Fast! thats what I always do.

  • As a former restaurant worker, I appreciate a lot of this terminology. The term “homemade”, if taken literally, would in fact be illegal in New York City. It’s an absolute no-no to serve and sell food that was prepared in someone’s home in a kitchen that hasn’t been inspected by the DOH. This is one of the supposed reasons they go round shutting down kids’ lemonade stands.

    I would take issue with the “generous” portions entry. I worked in a restaurant where the portions were ridiculously generous and I remember a lot of customers asking for half-orders or even sending the dish back to the kitchen because it was too much.

    • Me

      Well that “homemade” portion you just said is kinda…harsh (at least for me.)

  • hate to bitch but this list is super weak, and lame . I would also like to brag that my country has not fallen to the light beer vaginitis infecting so many “men” all over the world .

    • ok had coffee bd topic bad entries, very humorous though i appreciate that above all. . . regret my earlier grumpiness .

    • Xyroze

      …Yeah, let’s all get in a pissing contest about who’s country’s watered down moldy grains are more fattening.. That is totally a gauge of one’s manliness..

      Real men just take straight concentrated ethyl alcohol intravenously, not with all those frilly flavors and additives to dilute out the point of why you are drinking.

      • The Trader

        Bud light is the top selling beer here in the USA, and its disgusting.

        • Sister Morphine

          but Budweiser is SO much worse. I.C. Light WTF yinz!

  • wtf people

    ryan thomas 2.0. Too much wrong to list

    • Feet

      I wanna touch your feet.

  • Salo Hes

    Interesting read and made me giggle for a while there. I would add “heart friendly cooking oil” extra chocolate in a chocolate bar… wtf is that. I mean cmon!

  • greensmurf

    It get my goat, or there all malapropisms which I hate……aarrrrrrggghhhh!!!!

  • Lol

    Have never heard the word “Tuscan” used at any sort of restaurant.

  • chelle0

    Heck, if a restaurant advertises clean tables and friendly staff around my part of the world i’d be happy.

    • Ni99a

      And then serves you sh1t.

      • As soon as school is out it starts, ask your Mom to enrol you in some extra-curricular activities maybe you should look into some after care programmes? or why don’t you just go huff paint thinner in the park like a regular boy?Cmon dont ya wanna be cool ?

        • relax don’t do it

          Bluesman why do you get so upset at everything our n*gga friend says? It’s plain to see he just looks for reactions. Just let him be and we all have a much better time. Any sane person realizes that no-one (sane) thinks and comments like he/she does. Therefore you disregard his mindless chatter and move on. It’s very simple.

  • tacos

    green tomatillo sauce and pico de gallo are definitely not made up words.

    the ‘green’ part isn’t necessary though, tomatillo is always green (salsa verde).

    ‘Enchirito’ also makes sense, it is a portmanteau of enchilada and burrito, because it has beans, like a burrito, but presented as an enchilada (I’m assuming you’re talking about Taco Bell)

    • Norkio

      pico de gallo aka salsa has been documented in American cookbooks as early as 1898. it’s not a buzzword and green tomatillo sauce was used by the Aztecs at least 500 years ago. ;-)

  • Armadillo

    I think this list was hilarious! From now on I will pay way more attention to those. So glad to see a food list, it feels like it’s been a long time.

  • 1234

    Pico de Gallo? It’s not made up. Well, it is, just like every other name, but it’s one of the most popular and world wide known Mexican condiments and it’s probably older than any of today’s Mexican food chains.

    • thejefe

      I put pico de Gallo on my mangos:D

  • Arsnl

    Since when did scientists say eggs are bad? Maybe deep frying stuff. Now that’s kinda bad for your health. Why all the backlash on people saying that some things aren’t good for you. 

    You went a little over board with the sun-roasted coffee. I’d actually be impressed if you drink that stuff since roasting is usually done with special equipment and not by using solar ovens or stuff like that. ( what i’m saying: coffee roasting isn’t a process that occurs in nature like growing or riping). 

    According to Merriam Webster an artisan is “one that produces something (as cheese or wine) in limited quantities often using traditional methods”
    So yeah artisanal sausages exist. It’s not just meat in a skin. Sausages are much more than that: merguez, saucisson sec, boudin, andouillette, kielbasa, kishka, loukaniko, bratwurst, frankfurter, liverwurst, sucuk, bangers, mortadella. 

    And don’t get me started with the artisanal cheese or beer because this comment might never end. 

    And talking about buzzwords: “tomato capital of the world”.

    I’m generally grateful because someone put some effort in writing a list, but this one in some parts seemed like a lazy rant. And like all things lazy it’s ignorant. But it had a redeeming factor: the Chicken fat lite joke (which, sadly, wasnt made by the author).

    PS: Can someone count all the rhetorical questions? I stopped at 18 and got to item 8 (included)

    • Ni99a

      Egg yolk has a high amount of calory to give you heart attack.

      You are welcome.

      • Paradox

        There’s apparently a sausage called a “banger”. ????

        • Missy

          We’ve always called sausages ‘bangers’ or even ‘snags’. Bangers & mash is snags and mashed potato and gravy. As for, we had a gut speci from low sigmoid to the other day which was riddled with adenocarcinoma and ulcerative colitis.
          That’s what I think of these restaurant buzzwords.

    • talk about a rant.

      normally i dont claim people to be correct since its a matter of opinion though the lister is correct in what he observed. these places have taken this way too far nearly to the point of complete false advertisement. also correct in that people are being deterred from eating certain food for whatever reasons. you can name all the cheese and sausage you like. surely some are artisanally produced likely in their homes or home-style family owner restaurants (which he acknowledges). however he is outlining chain restaurants which claims to serve artisanal sausage. im laying heavy odds that the sausage is mass produced and not by the hands of the indigenous people of wherever it claims to be from.

      • Arsnl

        Read his artisan comment again. Clearly he doesn’t understand what artisan*al sausage means. He thinks its a marketing scheme,sausages being plain and simple sausages (hence the whole do pigs eat something special, do they do this or that to the meat etc).

        “surely some are artis*****ly produced likely in their homes or home-style family owner restaurants”

        For something to be made artisana*lly it doesnt have to be made in the home of the restaurant owner. He just has to buy it from a place where they make it using some traditional methods and have a special receipy.

        • “He just has to buy it from a place where they make it using some traditional methods and have a special receipy.”

          agreed. however i cannot believe that a chain restaurant employs such methods.

          side note: the KFC Double Down contains less cholesterol than a single egg.

          • Arsnl

            “chain restaurant ”

            He didn’t seem to be talking only about chain restaurants in that item. At least that’s my impression

            The double down has about 540+ calories and an egg about 100 calories max. And lets not talk about the salt. So it’s not all about cholesterol

        • Sister Morphine

          wait…is artisANAL getting edited

          • Sister Morphine

            lol how about artisbutt?

    • ricej1969

      @Arsnl – Yes, we were told years ago that eating eggs were bad for you due to the high amount of cholesterol. I believe that they set a limit of a couple of eggs a week. That was back in the late 80’s maybe early 90’s. That is when people switched to egg whites only.

      • Arsnl

        Never heard of that in Europe though. (but who gives a cr*p)

        • Sister Morphine

          BUT there are two kinds of cholesterol. butter has more cholesterol BUT margarine has more of the kind that is bad for you.

          • he mentioned chains about five times in the article. and from what ive seen chains use these tactics more than private owners. i can think of several commercials off my head marketing this non-sense. i do also know of fine dining establishments who use there own recipes, like everything else in the world nothing is 100% and there are always exceptions.

            surely i dont believe one egg to be healthily worse than a KFC Double Down, simply the cholesterol is higher thus we can see why people are deterred from eggs and such. leading way for companies to profusely stuff food jargon down the proverbial throats of the public.

            one that i often see here in NYC and that i despise is Tuscan. by throwing peppers on food then grilling it up doesnt make it so.

          • Sister Morphine

            sugar is fat free! and bacon is sugar free!

          • forget food, feed more morphine sister!!!!!!!!!!

    • Maggot

      @ Arsnl: I think your screen nic is short for Artisa.nal. It all makes sense now.

      • Belle

        i noticed that, too!

  • cynthiasalgado

    Pico de Gallo is not a made up word. It is a kind of sauce made of tomato, cilantro, onions and some times chillies. I believe it is originally from Mexico, but it is very popular in other latin american countries, like Costa Rica, where I am from. We use it to accompany meat at barbeques, or to eat with tortillas, etc. Maybe going out of the US would be helpful next time someone write one of this articles. There is a world outside, you know.

    • ricej1969

      You don’t have to go outside of the US. We eat Pico de Gallo all the time in the SouthWest.

  • Martin

    A quick word on sun-ripened tomatoes… cheaper, alternative tomatoes are often picked green (especially when they are going to be shipped long distances) and are either set under lamps to redden to a pleasing hue (tomatoes are rather unique in their ability to ripen off the vine) or are simply injected with red dye. Sadly, truly sun-ripened tomatoes are the exception, not the norm.

    • DanInIowa

      Decided to scan the comments to ensure people weren’t blind to this fact. Sun-ripened tomatoes are indeed more appetizing than chemically-ripened tomatoes.

      • dk

        I’m glad this was brought up! I believe that sometimes tomatoes are exposed to a particular gas to “force” ripen them. It changes the color to a sort of anemic reddish color, but the tomato stays hard & under-ripe.

  • vanowensbody

    I bought my coffee this morning at Dunkin Donuts. By the way – another company that literally went out of business in the 1980’s because the word “donut” was all of a sudden, like “steak”, “fried”, and “egg”, seen as bad or unhealthy. Anyway, as I was ordering the young lady asked me if I would care to try one of their “mouth-watering” such and such’s. I just laughed. I wanted to direct her to Listverse to read this list. If the food was capable of making humans have watering mouths we would all be walking around with drool cups. “Don’t look over there Martha!” “I see mouth-watering food.” “And you forgot your drool cup this morning.” I find the whole food buzzword phenomena fascinating and hilarious.

    • Ni99a

      You don’t get metaphors do you?

      I bet when the nurse says your son is born with a silver spoon in her mouth, you go home and rip apart her mouth to find the silver spoon.

      • Xyroze

        I think that is more of a hyperbole than a metaphor.

        • moxie2012

          Speaking of hyperbole, from the introduction —

          I mean, can a gigantic chain fast food place with hundreds of thousands of restaurants scattered around the globe really ‘hand-select’ anything they serve?

          Lolwut? I don’t know what planet Patrick comes from, but on my planet there isn’t a fast-food chain with “hundreds of thousands of restaurants” anywhere.

          On Earth, tens of thousands, yes.. hundreds of thousands, no. His world must be a very strange one indeed. O_o

      • Ev

        Why would his son be a girl?

    • Sister Morphine

      obviously its going to be mouth watering. its not like they are gonna ask if you’d like to try a mediocre treat. why not just ask do you want to try a whateveritscalled. it’s new.

  • Tiger

    This is one of the most irrelevant, boring, and factually unsupported lists made. If it generates sales for the firm it has purpose. Prove that these words do not generate sales or somehow hurt the firm or industry and maybe you have a list. Otherwise youre just spouting off about the good ol days without seeing the value in the eyes of the seller.

    • Xyroze

      The list wasn’t about the words not serving a purpose, it was about the words not having any inherent meaning in the context used. If they are misleading but help generate sales then the restaurants using them obviously can’t stand on their own merits. If their food wasn’t terrible they wouldn’t need to lie about it.

      Most of these words though do have meaning, and the author of the list just must not be terribly good at researching. Listverse has never had too high of standards.

      • ListVerse

        Dude, I’m right here…

  • hispanic cook

    just because a word is spanish does not mean its made up. the whole article loses credibility because of those claims. sad. a few of these are on point.

    • David Flavoured

      All words are made up.

  • Ni99a

    I am not usually angry at a list and list authors. Those trolling you see me doing?

    Yeah, they are just trolling.

    But this list really make me angry because of his no.6 entry. At the end of the sentence:

    “To be honest, I don’t know what this is meant to imply really.”

    Seriously? As a list author, we the readers, entrust you to do a proper research before submitting the list. You give us an entry that says you have no idea what it is about????!!! You are clearly not doing your job and reaping all the rewards here.

    Hey, how about next time, I write a list and just insert ten random stuff and says I have no idea about them?

    • Xyroze

      I dunno about you, but I’m usually genuinely angry at the lists and authors. Those trolling you see me doing?

      Yeah, I’m actually kind of an *****.

      If I’m so easily annoyed by unsubstantiated claims and blatant opinion masqueraded as fact, why do I come to this site every day still..

      Sorry your post going all meta made me consider for a moment how counterproductive my time spent here is..

  • Adiemus

    Who came up with this list, Andy Rooney? “Where does this word come from…what does it mean? I know I ordered Tuscan but we’re so far from Italy!”

  • tmac5454

    Lancaster County represent!

  • david

    “What is a P’Zolo?”

    A hot pocket by another name…

  • Moosa

    Pico de Gallo is a real thing. It is a Mexican chunky salsa.

  • Roy

    How about fresh? They say fresh all the time.

    • Canadianguy

      Yes, and someone could do a whole list of supermarket oxymorons:

      Fresh frozen, cholesterol free vegetable oil, low sodium bacon, low fat ice cream, …

  • Canadianguy

    “the coffee I am drinking was made with ‘sun-roasted’ beans”

    I’d be surprised too since coffee roasts at about 225C (440F for you dinosaurs).

  • Chuck

    In Mexican cuisine, pico de gallo (Spanish pronunciation: [?piko ðe ??a?o], rooster’s beak), also called salsa fresca, is a fresh, uncooked condiment made from chopped tomato, onion, and sometimes chilis (typically jalapeños or serranos). Other ingredients may also be added, such as lemon or lime juice, fresh cilantro (coriander leaf), cucumber, radish or other fresh firm pulpy fruit such as mango.

  • OhDearOhDear

    Half of these words are not used across Europe with regards to food, I am also confused at the word Tuscany. In America do you parade it in front of dishes for no good reason? I have a recipe for Tuscan pork – I collected it from Tuscany. Hence the reason why it is attributed to Tuscany! It is blimin’ well from there!

  • Mayweed

    A lot of tomatoes, as well as many other vegetables are also produced hydroponically (sp?) In greenhouses and not technically ripened in the sun…

    One BuzzWord I would have loved to see is a more recent one “heirloom” referring to vegetables that have been grown more traditionally from ‘traditional’ seeds rather than the mass produced, genetically altered varieties that we see in most grocery stores.

    • Maggot

      In greenhouses and not technically ripened in the sun

      Still “garden fresh” though, right?

  • The Trader

    This was a fairly good attempt at making something out of nothing.

  • Ev

    I hate it when restaurants use the word ‘deal’ on their menus, like some waiter/lawyer is going to shake your hand after you order and contractually oblige you to clean your plate.

    • bloopeh

      Someone needs to update their vocabulary. A “deal” can also be defined as “a bargain”. A “two for one deal” is not “let us write out a contract where I agree to sell you two of this object for the price of a singular unit of this object”, it is “you are getting a bargain on these two items, having only to pay for one”.

  • Bmoore

    This seems familiar… Oh wait. George Carlin did a stand-up bit in 2001 that was basically this list. Except Carlin’s was funny and better thought out.

    • Maggot

      Carlin was mentioned in the very first sentence. So it would appear that the list-writer out-thought you.

  • ParusMajor

    I didn’t actually read this list yet, I just looked at the title, LMFAO, and went to look for pics of Jessica Kresa… :D But I will read this later, I promise :D

  • Ariel

    This list is a joke, right?

  • honkster7

    All You Can Eat is another one , try going into a Sizzler with 3 or 4 Maori’s

    and watch the staff start hiding food .

    Also Cholesterol free eggs , Cholesterol is a building block of life , no

    Cholesterol in egg = no baby chickens

    • Maggot

      All You Can Eat is another one

      I hate it when a restaurant advertises this, but in practice, they subtly throttle you by bringing the refills out slowly. BBQ Rib joints do this a lot, bringing you one or two ribs at a time, and slowly (if not avoiding your table altogether so you can’t ask for more). “Gourmet” (hello buzzword) burger places with “bottomless” baskets of fries, same thing…

  • Al

    “Fusion” “Infused” “Reduction”

  • Bob Verell

    I would included the term “Scratch”! How many places advertise “this product” or “that product” is made from “scratch” — on that subject, where can one purchase “scratch”? Would surely save a lot of time spent mixing other products in a recipe to produce a food item

  • Nicole

    Green tomatillo sauce is a sauce made from tomatillo’s. Is it too much to ask that you just put a little bit of time into fact-checking before you publish these lists? A quick google search would’ve explained to you exactly what a tomatillo is, and I’m sure you could find a sauce recipe as well.

  • Y2


    Cajun Chicken, Cajun Burgers, Cajun Fries, Cajun Cajun Cajun…

    All it ever is, is a regular menu item, with “cajun” seasoning sprinkled on it.


  • xxRach85xx

    The author made me smile when he mentioned he’s from Lancaster Co, PA. Born in Delaware Co, I used to visit my great grandparents who lived in Lancaster Co. We always went to the Green Dragon to get fresh made food and furniture from the Amish who work there. Good times. Never will forget the Shoo-Fly pie, the Mince Meat pie and all the great sweets. Anyone in PA needs to check the place out. It’s awesome.

    • Sister Morphine

      since that was totally random. my grandma is visiting lancaster today on some sort of old folks bus trip. she’s the cool one with the short shorts and all the tattoos. lol

  • theItalian

    As a chef and restaurant owner, this list is really, really dumb. Each word had a precise meaning and conveys a message as needed. Believe it or not, it’s not always a gimmick. And for gosh sake, Pico de Gallo and green tomatillo? If you’re going to write about food , oitelps to know about food.
    Listverse fail.

  • Lance

    This was a great article! The methods the industry uses to market their goods has always fascinated and humored me.
    However, I did notice a couple discrepancies. The ‘sun- grown’ tomatoes may refer to an actual distinction, referring to the emerging practice of growing vegetables indoors using fluorescent lights and hydroponic techniques. Whether a tomato is truly ‘sun-grown’ however, as stated in the article, is up for debate.
    In addition, Pico de Gallo and tomatillo sauce are actual Mexican foods. The tomatillo is a vegetable that originated in Mexico and is a staple for various sauces. Pico de gallo is a salsa that is commonly used as a condiment. Again, whether or not what you’re getting at a restaurant is the traditional cuisine is often questionable.

  • I think it’s rather ironic that the list writer goes so far as to admit that they don’t know what is a signature dish, yet they still manage to write an entire paragraph about not knowing and just guesswork. ‘Signature dish’ is actually quite appropriate naming for what it refers to.

    Definition of a signature dish:

    Something as simple as apple pie can become a signature dish.

    A “signature dish” is a dish that is closely identified with a chef or a restaurant and stands out as a prime example of that person’s or establishment’s cuisine. A signature dish can be either an entirely new, exclusive creation, or just a variation on an old favorite, such as macaroni and cheese. Even in restaurants that regularly change their offerings, a signature dish will remain on the menu.

    In some cases it simply means that it is a ‘managers special’.

    I agree with several others that this is just a rant. 3 seconds of research and finding out what it means would be relatively easy for nearly anyone.

    • jbjr


  • Maggot

    Heh, I liked this list, Pat. Fun light-hearted (no pun intended) reading, and pretty amusing and funny in places. I’m a bit surprised that many are dissing it, but whatever; I guess ANY list will have its share of detractors, unless perhaps blogball writes it (where are you blogs…come back!). I am kind of surprised that it hasn’t yet generated a lot of “typical fat Americans” type of noise.

    • Scroll down.

      • Maggot

        Ahh yes. Thank you for being predictable.

        • You are welcome, sir. Although i am not the one who made this this kind of reaction so predictable. People who eats bad food making a bad list about food seems quite obvious to me.

  • I understand that some terms are abused by food marketing in the USA, but it serves well the ignorance of it´s population. It doesn´t surprise me that people doesn´t know the difference between sun dried cofee beans and other kinds of drying, since their sole reference for what cofee means is that watered down poop sold in buckets at Starbucks. The same goes with sun grown tomatoes as not every edible vegetable in the market is sun grown, much of it being grown through hidroponics (wich is not necessarily bad). When the main option you have is eating Monsanto´s transgenic options, why would you care? The “americanism” goes on, as the autor exibits his ignorange of the language of their neighbors as he tries to mock on foreign terms he doesn´t even know existed, like Pico de Gallo, etc. as “made up words”. And then… Artisanal Sausage! Really? People really think that making sausage is just getting ground pig and making a machine stuff their guts with it? Some countries have so many variations on the artisanal

    preparation of sausage that people call them by the names of their originary regions. I would not bother if this list was just a proof of the ignorance of the average american, but as this kind of ignorance is making for a obese nation of SUV drivers that kill for gas, i begin to worry. I would pity them if they did not have guns pointed at everyones heads.

    • Xyroze

      It would be so much easier to buy into your bashing of American ignorance if it weren’t for all of your spelling mistakes, your terrible grammar, and the fact you can’t tell the difference between an apostrophe and a grave accent.

  • Will Trame

    An interesting list, but I no longer go to restaurants anymore, except maybe once in a blue moon. When I do, I prefer KFC (remember the KFC rat incident?), Taco bell, Arbys and McDonalds. Hell, I think I’ll oder me a pizza from Domino’s. All this food talk has made me hungry.

    BTW, I think an Elvis list would have sufficed for today as it is the 35th anniversary of his passing.

    • Arsnl

      Well we did talk a lot about fast foods, all you can eat joints, fatty foods.

  • Dk

    Addressing the “what does Signature Dish mean?” comment: It typically means that this is something the restaurant is “famous” or “known” for.

    For instance – I worked several years at a restaurant called Willie Bird’s (it was on Diner’s Drive-ins & Dives if you’re curious). The family who runs the place owns a turkey farm, and their catch phrase is “Turkey Always, and Turkey All Ways.” I would classify their “signature dish” as their roast turkey dinner – Turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, gravy, cranberry sauce. They have tons of other amazing stuff, but that would be their most well-known, commonly ordered, “signature” dish.

    Some places have a “Signature” spice blend (Outback is one I can think of), a bar may have a “signature” drink. I don’t understand what is so confusing about it.

  • Scarlett

    You forgot “natural.” I see that one everywhere: “natural” apple juice, “natural” chicken, etc. Natural doesn’t mean good, it means “from nature.” Know what else is from nature? Cyanide, botulism, anthrax, influenza, bubonic plague… I could go on forever. Theoretically you could sprinkle anthrax on an apple slice and call it natural, but it wouldn’t be good or healthy.

  • chrissywissy

    “Free Range” and “Organic” do my head in, they’re used as ‘green’ indicators pretty much everywhere now, but legally they can be applied to almost anything.

    by the way, surely there’s nothing wrong with saying ‘jumbo’ shrimp because it’s obviously a relative term. there are ‘giant moths’ for example, which are obviously not the size of a house, they’re just ‘giant’ within the scale of their own kind. nothing hypocritical or oxymoronic about that at all

  • Gatita

    I am sorry to say this list bored me to tears. I got through the first two, then just gave up. There probably isn’t anything wrong with it. I merely did not find it enticing.

  • timothy53

    I have seen organically processed sea salt … WTF?
    I have seen fruit marked as gluten gluten free … clue: if you are on a gluten free diet and you need to be told that grapes are gluten free, you are on a fad diet.

  • PisspottDear

    This is retatrded. Apparently the writer has never worked in a restaraunt.

  • Very enjoyable article, mentioning some of my pet annoyances in restaurant advertising. But I have to mention that a tomatillo is a real vegetable (or fruit), related to the tomato. Its about an inch-and-a-half across, and also called a husk tomato, because the flower petals remain attached and form a husk around the fruit. It’s used extensively in Mexican cuisine, and green tomatillo sauce is yummy.

  • Kevin

    Wow, man do you have issues. I admit, some of these words are stupid, but they help define food. Like “homemade”. Homemade is essentially conveying the fact that pre-processed ingredients are kept to a minimum. Or maybe according to you “made with less processed ingredients so it tastes like it was made at home from scratch” would be a better fit to put in the menu.

  • justmetrickes

    The sun ripened tomatoes is a valid advertisement. It basically means that they were left on the vine till ripe.
    Typical commercial practice is to harvest while they’re still green, before they are fully ripened, then ‘ripen’ them using ethylene gas or other methods. That’s done because the green tomatoes are better able to handle shipping and handling without bruising.

  • thejefe

    Pico de Gallo is a powder and tomatillo is made from tomatoes obviously but with different variations. My mom puts salsa tomatillo on entomatadas. Any Mexican corn or fruit vendor should have pico de Gallo handy

    • theItalian

      You are an idiot. Pico is not a powder, and a tomatillo is a type of tomato. Go away.

      • Liebchen

        Tomatillo is not a type of tomato.

        • Xyroze

          Tomatoes are in the same family, but a different genus

  • Jumbo

    First of all, pico de gallo is Mexican, and a green tomatillo is also a fruit similar to a tomato, commonly used in mexican cooking, it is not MADE UP.

    Second, when they say sun ripened they mean as opposed to when something is picked unripe and them chemically ripened (because this is quicker and ergo cheaper).

    A signature dish tends to me one dish that the chef has either invented himself or believes he does better than anyone else. Hence usually there is one on a menu, which is perfectly fine; it symbolises that if you get this, you won’t get it anywhere else.

    You appear to be a moron, you lack of research is ridiculous and the fact you are claiming Mexican words to be made up is quite offensive.

  • ihatethewordfoodie

    you know nothing of mexican food it seems. green tomatillo sauce is a salsa made from “tomatillos” wich are a staple of Mexican cuisine (we call it Salsa Verde, wich means “green sauce”) ,”pico de gallo” is a fresh salsa made with chopped tomato, white onion, and chilis also a staple of Mexican cuisine. I like the rest of the list though, seriously what the heck is a P’Zolo, looks like a hot pocket, also the word “foodie” would sorta fit this list

  • buzzword betty

    In Canada restaurants are not allowed to say “homemade”, but they can say “Homestyle.” Another buzzword is “Rustic.” Anything done freeform or made to look as such is “rustic”. Lastly…why don’t people read comments before they reply??? That “pico de galla” gaff has been mentioned ad nauseum since almost the first comment. Come on Listers! Follow this simple formula 1. Read 2. Understand 3. Check the comments. If the topic you wish to write of has more than three posts matching what you want to say let it drop. It is ridiculous to see post after post after post about the same darn thing!!

  • baldmelon

    Food manufacturers use the misspelled word “lite” because they can’t legally use “light” unless their food meets certain specific caloric parameters. But since “lite” wasn’t in the dictionary (though I’m sure it has been inducted since) they can’t be held to its meaning. Lite beer, potato chips, yogurt, or whatever are often almost as fattening as their heftier counterparts.

    Also, “sun-ripened” is another play on a phrase to make the consumer assume it’s the same as “vine ripened” (i.e. harvested after the tomato has turned red). Most often, tomatoes are picked while they are green and allowed to turn red during processing and shipping. They stay fresher that way, but are not nearly as flavorful. “Sun ripened” is a way for the seller to lie to us without really lying to us.

  • Name Withheld

    A “signature” dish is one by which the restaurant is identified, just as one you would be identified with your signature.

  • Raul

    There’s a lot of BORING lists around here, so a humorous and clever one is most welcome. I loved it!

  • Sylkozakur

    Lost me when you implied pico de gallo & tomitillo are buzzwords. Those are legitimate descriptors of what the food is.

    • pogmothion64

      Amen, Ed!!

  • Ed

    ‘Pigs are not free-range animals’. What on earth is that supposed to mean? Were pigs created in battery farms purely to feed mankind?

    • Dk

      That one bugged me too! There are pigs kept in pens only slightly larger than the pig itself, and rarely allowed out. There are other pigs allowed to roam relatively freely around a pretty large enclosure. The latter would be “free range” right? How are pigs not a “free range” animal?

      Many of the other gripes this guy had make it clear that he has no understanding of the food industry. In the USA there are strict rules about what can be labelled “Light” or “Low fat” or “A Good Source of ___” etc.

      As for “Lite” or “Lighter” menu items at a restaurant, I find that those are smaller, less filling portions than the rest of the menu (half sandwich with soup, etc).

  • You completely misunderstand the meaning of the term buzzword .

  • Zeke

    the homemade gripe is kind of just being whiny. When someone has homemade cheese, they make it locally on the premises. Homemade pasta is made locally from scratch. Baked goods, etc. That complaint is just being whiny

    • pogmothion64

      I agree with you Zeke. And I’ve heard the phrase “made in-house” which is basically homemade! LOL What? Would our lister prefer we say “made right here in this store, from scratch, from recipes handed down from generation to generation, by the wonderful & dedicated guy who gets up every morning at 3am, and words so very hard to bring you the best (homemade) food available!!” Jeez

  • r.

    I thought this list was entertaining. Thanks, Patrick.

  • Aliquot

    This article is awful. Yeah some of the observations, like the sun-ripened thing, are true, but it is poorly written. Do even some basic research into Mexican cuisine and the author would know that pico de gallo and tomatillos are real things, not made up words. And Jeebus, the ranting against “P’Zone”? The whole goal of advertising is to make your product into a household name. You don’t crave a “candy bar with peanuts and nougat,” you want a Snickers. You don’t want “an ice cream thing with candy bits mixed in,” you think “Blizzard” or “McFlurry.”

    Any lists that are just an author’s rant should not be on here.

  • Joe

    Well smack me upside the head in the county square! Holy shi- you made me laugh!!

  • Jazz

    The buzzwords on this list were not what I was expecting. In Australia the common buzzwords are more related to the cooking/preparation process. Pan fried (steak), rough cut (fries) and hand tossed (salad) are commonly seen on Aussie menus.

  • bloopeh

    You know… I typically find it annoying when people post, whining about how a list was bad. But this list? This list is terrible.

    This is a poorly thought-out, nitpicking rant on words or phrases that you, personally, do not see the point or meaning of. While obviously most every list is going to have a degree of bias, this is beyond ridiculous.

    Not to mention your seemingly vast ignorance is being put on display. As it has been said before, and will probably be said after me, “pico de gallo” and “tomatillo/tomatillo sauce” are not made-up words, as you have deemed them. Perhaps it may seem futuristic to someone from the “tomato capital of the world”, but not all fruits and vegetables are grown on a proper farm and allowed to grow naturally in the sun. To once again repeat what many before me have already made a point of, most mass-distributed produce has been artificially ripened, or simply made to give the appearance of being ripened.

    TL;DR? Learn your facts, quit being butthurt, and write a decent list.

    • Adeez

      HAHA! Your response completely nullifies my need to write one. Well said. This article is terrible and makes Pennsylvanians looks like bumpkins.

  • Foghatjoe

    Sun-ripened tomatoes should mean actually ripened exposed to the sun’s rays, as opposed to greenhouse tomatoes which have little flavor. If you need further analysis, taste a winter tomato and tell me it tastes better than one picked from the vine in the sun during the summer.

  • DV

    Pico de gallo is a great Mexican “condiment.” I think it means something like “beak of the rooster.” Anyway, it’s diced tomato, onion, cilantro, and sometimes jalapeno pepper. It’s good stuff – on almost anything! Point being, it’s not “made up.” P-Zolo, on the other hand – What the heck?

    • Jesus Sanchez


      • pogmothion64


  • Jesus Sanchez

    Pico De Gallo is actually mexican, and is a mixture of sliced and diced fruit

  • pogmothion64

    I get the idea of your post but I have to respectfully disagree with the words Pico de Gallo & Green Tomatillo Sauce. These are not made up words, they are REAL names for for different salsa’s that are used quite extensively in Mexican cooking. GTS is Salsa Verde and PDG is Salsa Fresca or Fresca Mexicana (the literal translation for PDG is “beak of the rooster.” Both are delicious! Pico DeGallo is great on ANYTHING, and Salsa Verde is amazing on homemade tamale’s !!!

    • pogmothion64

      And I agree with the other people who have commented on this “list” as you call it: you need to KNOW the definition of buzzword before you make an entire list about it and kinda make a fool out of yourself.

      Buzzword: 1) A stylish or trendy word or phrase.

      2) A Contemporary yet cliched word,

      saying or catchphrase often used by

      incompetent mangers in an attempt

      to motivate staff. (Which generally fails!)

      An example taken from your “list” is Jumbo Shrimp~~That’s not a buzzword, it’s an oxyMORON!!

  • al

    you forgot applewood smoked bacon. it used just bacon. i always remembered it to be the best part of breakfast, but apparently i was getting a giant hose job because applewood is now the only type of bacon seemingly acceptable..

  • jbjr

    The list started out fine but proceeded to give me a headache. Too much analyzing by the author.

  • diogenes

    Flabbergastingly succulent with overflowing gastral nutrition

  • DoctorIcetea

    Is it wrong that I read this entire article in George Carlin’s voice?

  • I think seeing the word “artisanal” in popular use just gave me cancer.

    If there was a food artisan who made sausages, if that weren’t pretentious enough, the sausage would be an “artisan sausage”.

    A more common example is “symmetrical” – the “al” suffix is completely redundant.

  • Freddie

    How about ‘Cajun’. By adding a little spice to anything, it becomes ‘Cajun’.

    • Sister Morphine

      if you burn something, just call it blackened. when i was in san francisco i had blackened cajun shark

  • jeet_jet?

    I was really hoping someone would point this out. Thank you!

    A little more research before posting this article would have been good. Google search tomatillos and pico de gallo and tell us that shit isn’t real! (and delicious, I might add)

    As for the “sun grown/dried/whatever” comment.. maybe they are just trying to emphasize that their produce is not grown indoors with artificial sunlight. Again, Google, my friend.

    As a Pittsburgh resident, I cannot stand for us Pennsylvanians to be made out to be COMPLETELY ignorant. (Just mostly, as ignorant as the average American) :)

  • Gem

    I find “homemade” the most amusing. A few years ago I worked in a Deli, and a customer came up to the counter to order and asked if our cookies were “homemade”. I gave her a blank stare for a few moments, debating telling her that yes they were I made them at home and brought them in myself this morning! – WTF, no, they were made in a bakery this morning and then delivered to us (with our bread.) – like almost every other deli in town.

  • cheap jersey
  • Name

    For the last section, Made-up words, “pico de gallo” is an actual type of salsa, and “green tomatillo sauce” is real too, aka “salsa verde.”