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Ten common food terms that have lost all meaning

Fancy some sustainable, artisan chicken with a side of seasonal, gourmet greens? Such buzzwords have proliferated –  qnd while words like “local” and “authentic” maybe once meant something, they’ve been so overused that their meanings have become diluted. In addition to overuse, these terms have also been co-opted by large food corporations in hopes that more people will purchase these still industrially-produced items. Here are ten common food terms that have lost all meaning…


Perhaps there was a time that “artisanal” meant crafted by hand, in small batches, without the use of industrial equipment. But let’s just all agree that that time is over, proven perhaps when Domino’s launched its artisanal pizza or Burger King launched its artisan bun.


The definition of “local” has always be subject to interpretation — does it mean the food only came from 10 miles away? 50? 100? 500? While provenance is certainly important, “local” is not necessarily a synonym for “quality.”


Not quite sure how to define “natural?” That’s because it really doesn’t have an accepted definition, at least when it comes to food. So yes, even something like Cheetos can be all-natural. [Not permitted in SA. Ed]

Farm to table

At a recent panel discussion, American chef, writer, restaurateur and media personality, Mario Batali made his thoughts known about the farm-to-table movement. “Where the f*** does it go if it doesn’t go from the farm to the table,” he asked. After all, giant factory operations are farms, too. Just ask McDonald’s.


Food writers love to debate what “authentic” actually means. And while such a conversation can no doubt last hours, there’s probably one thing everyone can agree on. There’s a good chance that putting “authentic” on a menu probably means that the food is decidedly not…..

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