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Internet Food Culture Gives Rise To New 'Eatymology'


Eating fresh, local foods and cooking at home seem to be all the rage nowadays. And thanks to bloggers and other foodie types, there are now new words to describe every food niche or gastronomical preference. Can't stand little kids running amok in your favorite Korean fusion restaurant - you might have bratophobia. And you could be a gastrosexual if you use your cooking prowess to attract that new special someone. In his new book "Eatymology," humorist and food writer Josh Friedland has collected many of these new words in a 21st-century food dictionary, including my favorite, sourdough hotel.

JOSH FRIEDLAND: So this is in Stockholm. There is a place, a bakery, where, you know, if you are devoted to keeping your own sourdough starter and feeding it every day with flour, if you need to go on vacation, you can leave your sourdough with this bakery. They'll keep it on a shelf and feed it daily for you while you're gone. It's like a boarding for your pet.

MARTIN: (Laughter) Do you have a favorite?

FRIEDLAND: You know, I do like sourdough hotel. One I thought was fun was brogurt. So this is yogurt marketed to men - yogurt for dudes.

MARTIN: (Laughter) What's an example of a brand of yogurt that's a brogurt?

FRIEDLAND: The one that did it was this company Powerful Yogurt. It's on store shelves now, and they target - you know, it's like marketing, like, an energy drink for guys.

MARTIN: Not all the words in your book are funny. Let's talk about blood cashews.

FRIEDLAND: This was based on a Human Rights Watch report on the way cashews are processed in Vietnam, which is one of the world's biggest exporters of cashews. So it turns out that in Vietnam, people who are convicted for drug offenses are sent to drug treatment centers where they are basically forced labor for producing cashews, for processing them and getting them ready for export. And, you know, it borrows from this idea of blood diamonds, obviously. So yeah, no, the book blends the hilarious and the ridiculous and the quite serious.

MARTIN: You have actually won a James Beard Award for humor. I mean, the James Beard Award is this very prestigious award given out every year to recognize chefs and food writers. You got it for being funny. That's cool.

FRIEDLAND: Yeah, no, I'm - it's pretty.


FRIEDLAND: I'm excited. I'm excited to also take credit for it now because I didn't really win it. Ruth Bourdain, which is this character I created, is the one who won the award. And so it's nice to actually come out and just...

MARTIN: And own that.

FRIEDLAND: ...Take ownership, yeah.

MARTIN: Tell us about Ruth Bourdain. This is your twitter handle. It's basically a mashup between these two huge food personalities icons in the food world, Ruth Reichl and Anthony Bourdain. What does Ruth Bourdain talk about?

FRIEDLAND: So what gave rise to it was basically spoofing Ruth's daily tweets about her food. They're very poetic, like little haiku, and I would take those and then rewrite them through the mind of, you know, the hedonistic uber bad boy chef, Anthony Bourdain. But they've been very sweet. I am so thankful for them on Thanksgiving.

MARTIN: Josh Friedland's new book is called "Eatymology: The Dictionary Of Modern Gastronomy." Josh, thanks so for talking with us.

FRIEDLAND: Thanks for having me. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.