Thursday, February 24, 2005

What's in a name? Everything

Working in advertising and TV has taught me the importance of naming. Give something (a product/tv show) the right name and half your job is done. This naming business is all the more critical when it comes to food. Take ‘vathal kuzhambu’ for instance. It is self-explanatory. I do not have to tell to you what goes in it. Or ‘Oothappam’. How is it cooked? Your pour (or ‘oothu’) the batter on the griddle hence the name. Anyway, the point is, while we have cracked this art of naming, the British have lost the plot.

Let’s take ‘sour cream’ for instance. Where I come from, if cream is sour, it has gone bad and not fit for consumption. Then why is its sourness not only proclaimed but also endorsed? Then there’s the worryingly named ‘rock cake’. I certainly won’t be testing my teeth on it. Or ‘bakewell tart’. I hope all the tarts are baked well and not just this one. What’s with ‘shortbread cake’? What is it short on? And have you heard of ‘spotted dick pudding’? Enough said.

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