@Zagat A food by any other name would sound as odd!

May 17, 2012

Kelly Dobkin, Zagat writer, names 10 oddly-named foods which are, to American consumers, foreign. The name of each food does not reflect an inedible combination but rather an unexpected one. Vegemite, that horrific “brown Australian food paste made from yeast extract” (Wikipedia) did not make the list.

One item in the informative slide show (see link below), reminded me of some food packaging gaffes I cherish.

http://blog.zagat.com/2012/05/10-crazy-food-names-explained.html?zagatbuzzid=may12week3&utm_source=blog&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=blog20120516

In my community, where there are many Asian markets, access to Japanese and Korean packaging is plentiful. Studying packaging design at Art Center, I delighted in the ways a simple attempt at marketing a food could go so wrong in translation. Seeing the photo of Poccari Sweat in Zagat’s slide show, I giggled. A decade ago, when co-workers on the Marketing Team joined me at Mitsuwa or Marukai market food court for lunch, we would bring back purchases of packaging to the office. Poccari Sweat or “calpis” water never failed to elicit a smile. Lemon drops promising “refleshing flavor” added to the evidence of linguistic confusion. I toast Darth who seems to be reintroducing English to students of Binghampton University – this pocky’s for you!

Teacher Tom Robb blogs about the inclusion of English into Japanese:

http://ejtopics.blogspot.com/2007/07/japanese-food-product-packaging.html

Do we American English speakers take for granted the gold standard of a language that absorbs foreign words into the vernacular with ease? Evidence of our words inserted in the conversations of non-native English speakers can often sound really wrong. “On trouve ces substances chimiques dans toutes une série de produits, comme les shampooings” exchanges the verb shampooing for the noun shampoo, as in “these chemicals are found in a number of products, for example shampoo.” Are we more fluid or fluent?

I will close this nostalgic post with foods for thought:

http://www.weirdasianews.com/2010/01/21/20-strangest-japanese-candies/

Bon Appetit

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