What's in a Name?
In the last few weeks I’ve been called a chef, gourmet chef, gourmet cook, and I suppose some things that you can’t print here. It got me to wondering about the word CHEF. According to www. merriam-webster.com/:
Main Entry: chef
Etymology: French, short for chef de cuisine head of the kitchen
1 : a skilled cook who manages the kitchen (as of a restaurant)
2 : cook
Main Entry: cook
Etymology: Middle English, from Old English cōc, from Latin coquus, from coquere to cook; akin to Old English āfigen fried, Greek pessein to cook
Date: before 12th century
1: a person who prepares food for eating
Main Entry: gour·met
Pronunciation: ˈgur-ˌmā, guir-ˈ
Etymology: French, from Middle French, alteration of gromet boy servant, vintner’s assistant, probably ultimately from Middle English grom groom
: a connoisseur of food and drink ; broadly : connoisseur
Main Entry: con·nois·seur
Pronunciation: kä-nə-ˈsər also -ˈsuir
Etymology: obsolete French (now connaisseur), from Old French connoisseor, from connoistre to know, from Latin cognoscere —
1: expert ; especially : one who understands the details, technique, or principles of an art and is competent to act as a critical judge
2: one who enjoys with discrimination and appreciation of subtleties
According to these definitions I’m not a chef because I don’t “manage the kitchen”. I am the kitchen. It doesn’t say anything about a chef doing the cooking. It says he has to be a skilled cook.
That’s why I like to call myself “A Damn Good Cook”, I do the work, I don’t manage. A cook is someone who “prepares food for eating”. I also wash pots and pans, dishes and silverware. How many “chefs” do you know do that on a regular bases? Yes it is true that I have an Associate Degree from Milwaukee Area Technicial Collage in Restaurant and Hotel Cookery. Yes I have been doing this for 39+ years. Does that make me a “Chef”?
You can call me a “connoisseur” because I do “enjoy with discrimination and appreciation of subtleties”, and thus you could call me a “gourmet”. But don’t ever call me an “expert”, because I’m not “competent to act as a critical judge”. Some people may especially wonder about the word “competent”.
Well what is in a name? Don’t you wonder when someone has the title of “Executive Vice President In Charge Of Enjoining and Retiring Snail Dispatches”? Isn’t that just a manager of the mail room?
The English(American) language is getting so goofed up with all of the new social network options: Facebook, Twitter, Myspace, and texting, that I wonder if in the next few years, I’ll be able to read and understand what is in print, either on paper( if we are still using it) or on screen. LOL means what?
I love to sit and have a cup of coffee and read the paper in the morning. I like the noise that the paper makes when you fold it. I like the way it feeling in your hands. I like the way you have to play with it when you want to read the print on the fold. I’m not too crazy about the new size of the paper, although I do understand saving a tree. You can tell that even reporters are getting younger, or maybe more tech savvy, because of phrases that they use. And you certainly can tell that they write their report on a computer and then don’t go back and read what they wrote. Spell check isn’t good for words like “to, two, too, four, for, there, their” and more. After I have said this I hope that I didn’t make to many mistakes in here, I’ve been going back and reading over it regularly.
So call me a Gourmet Chef if you want. I’ll call myself your HOST at Naeset Roe Inn in Stoughton WI. And I hope that I’ll get to meet (or is it meat) you and we can continue this conversation over a gourmet breakfast.
What do you think?
ps Even as I was spell checking this “Myspace” and “texting” came up as questionable words.