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    • Join Date: May 2006
    • Posts: 4

    a food being 'rustic' and rustic food


    i had a discussion last week with one of my English friends re: describing a food as being a bit 'rustic'.
    I found on the net and in various food articles an expression 'rustic food'. I asked few of my English friends if this is a common one or a fairly new one.
    Most of dictionaries don't mention this connotation of words

    My argument is that 'rustic' is not commonly used to describe a food; better words would be plain, basic; maybe even 'country food' but rustic?

    As my friend put it to me:
    This has more information it does not used the example in ways of food but
    Rural; rude; unpolished; inelegant; untaught; awkward; rough; coarse; plain; unadorned; simple; artless; honest.
    characteristic of rural life

    can by no means exclude the use with food one of the characteristics of rural life is their food; farms, farmers markets, country ware, harvest festival, etc.
    I would like to see the reasons behind these being excluded.
    My opinion is that rustic used as an adjective to food hasn't been in use for long (maybe the last 15-20 years - according to my other friends) and as such is not commonly recognised as a food description.

    As language specialists, what's your opinion?

    And another one - do you have a varnish on your nails or nail polish?
    It was always a 'nail polish' for me. The same friend used word 'varnish', which I associate with the top coat on furniture rather than nails.

  1. #2

    Re: a food being 'rustic' and rustic food

    Rustic is not a common word in any of its meanings. I've never heard it used about food.

    You're right. Nail polish is for your fingernails, and varnish goes on furniture.


    • Join Date: May 2006
    • Posts: 4

    Re: a food being 'rustic' and rustic food

    thx edward...

    will welcome other opinions re: rustic food.

    • Join Date: Oct 2006
    • Posts: 19,434

    Re: a food being 'rustic' and rustic food

    "Rustic food" is used by food writers to indicate food cooked simply and presented without "dressing up" - ie, the converse of French restaurant cookery. It implies the recipes used are those that come from rural sources. The food concentrates on using good materials well, and on being able to use poor materials in the best possible way. It will tend to include all forms of preserved meats, sausages, stews, root vegetables, beans, locally available herbs, salt/pepper, beer, wine or cider.

    The flavours will tend to be strong and vigorous, not subtle.

    Simplicity is the basis.

    • Join Date: May 2006
    • Posts: 4

    Re: a food being 'rustic' and rustic food

    hi Anglika,

    yes, but the term is not an old one itself. It's been probably 'cooked up' by some ..'innovative' chiefs

    However, I am more interested in correctness of describing food as rustic.

    • Join Date: Oct 2006
    • Posts: 19,434

    Re: a food being 'rustic' and rustic food

    I am not sure what you mean by that. There is nothing incorrect in calling such food "rustic". If you prefer, you can call it traditional food, native food, country-style food.

    Rustic is an adjective clearly used to identify things that are made or done in rural regions - rustic furniture, rustic clothes, rustic benches, rustic behaviour, rustic festivals. The connotations are perfectly clear, and the term "rustic food" is one I have met in writings of the 1920s. It is very likely if you look hard enough that you will find it in writings of the 19th century.

    The use of the phrase is going through a revival with the rediscovery of traditional foods as opposed to "cordon bleu" cookery that has dominated for so long.

    • Join Date: May 2006
    • Posts: 4

    Re: a food being 'rustic' and rustic food

    thanks Anglika.

    I know connotations you mentioned above. I've never heard/read one used to describe a food. I checked dictionaries and there are- for example- 8 entries for ''rustic' (adj) but none with food.

    I am enquiring because out of 6 people I asked about this none of them 'approved' of describing food this way.

    • Join Date: Oct 2006
    • Posts: 19,434

    Re: a food being 'rustic' and rustic food

    Well, that's their prerogative. I wouldn't get into a great debate about it. It is not a term that I find worrying, but then I have met it before in this context. It is worth remembering that there is much more printed material than appears on the internet, and not all that many people nowadays read widely.


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