A Mini-Lexicon of Unpleasant Culinary Phenomena

Add words like 'voip' and 'fidgeltick' to your culinary vocabulary

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Foods that give no gastronomic delight, such as porridge or cream of celery soup, are voip. The word was invented in 1914 by Gelett Burgess, a humorist devoted to creating names for previously unnamed things. Burgess coined other food-related words as well. Fidgeltick is food that requires tremendous effort to prepare but gives little satisfaction—artichokes are a kind of fidgeltick, as are most fondues. Wog is food that becomes stuck to a dinner guest's face, visible to everyone but the guest himself. Rowtch refers to a person who demonstrates extreme fastidiousness when eating—someone who eats pizza with a knife and fork is a rowtch, as is someone who insists on crossing his knife and fork after finishing his meal. Burgess may have developed these words from real sources: Voip suggests void, as in “void of pleasure”; fidgeltick suggests fidgeting, a repetitive action accomplishing nothing. As dandy as Burgess' words are, however, none of them has achieved currency with the exception of blurb, a quoted passage of fulsome praise found on book jackets. —Mark Morton 

Adapted from Geist (#30). Subscriptions: $21/yr. (4 issues) from 1014 Homer St., Suite 103, Vancouver, B.C. V6B 2W9 Canada. A longer version of this essay originally appeared in Cupboard Love: A Dictionary of Culinary Curiosities (Bain & Cox, 1998).