This I Know I Think
Life on the verge of understanding
June 6, 2018 Categories: food and language. No Comments on This made me think

A message in my email inbox today led me to the Web site of the “conscious style guide”. The site carried an article titled “Why we should examine our culinary vocabulary”. Since my culinary vocabulary isn’t something I find myself worrying about I was intrigued to read the article. And it was interesting. For example, it instances lobbying done by a pressure group in the US to have the US Food and Drugs Administration change its use of the term “midget”. The pressure group acknowledged that the USDA’s use of the term was benign, but they wanted to raise awareness of the way in which people use terms without thinking, particularly where those terms could be offensive to other groups. The article later referenced the use of the term “kaffir” as in e.g. kaffir lime leaves. The term is highly offensive in South Africa, where it has a status equivalent to the “n” word in other countries. But attempts to have the word banned have met with considerable opposition, largely from those who see it as political correctness gone mad. Although, according to the site, many grocers, restaurants and publications have adopted the term “makrut lime” in preference to “kaffir lime” adoption “by no means has been universal”, and in many other situations the word remains in use.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.