Today’s Zits, with Jeremy and Pierce playing with their pizza:

The compound origami swan pizza — [ origami  swan ] [ pizza ] (see comments below; never trust your memory) — is cute, as is the actual origami swan pizza, but here I’m focusing on Japanese-Italian fusion.

Extended senses of fusion, referring to various sorts of combinations of elements, have been around for quite some time, but relatively recently the word has been specialized in particular domains, notably music and cuisine. From the June 2003 draft additions to OED2:

fusion n. Music in which elements of more than one popular style are combined, esp. having jazz as a component; cf. jazz-rock at jazz

[first clear cite] 1965   N.Y. Times 28 Nov. xiii. 9/5   Some observers of American popular music trends believe that the ultimate ‘fusion music’, the first truly national popular music we will have, will be largely composed of country music with rock ‘n’ roll rhythmic and folk elements.

Hence, things like jazz-rock fusion.

Then from the July 2002 draft additions:

fusion cuisine n. orig. U.S. a style of cookery which blends ingredients and methods of preparation from different countries, regions, or ethnic groups; food cooked in this style. [cites from 1986 and thereafter]

and the truncation of this in the August 2004 draft additions:

fusion n. orig. U.S. = fusion cuisine

[first clear cite] 1988   Nation’s Restaurant News (Nexis) 9 May,  The restaurant’s French-Asian fusion is apparent in a dessert trio of flavored creme brulees—ginger, chocolate mint, and an [sic] mandarin orange—served in sake cups.

That brings us to Pierce’s Japanese-Italian fusion.

In a further development, fusion can be used as a modifier for some cuisine name, with the other contributing cuisine(s) understood from context. In my neighborhood in Palo Alto we have, or have had, a fusion Japanese restaurant (Higashi West, a cute fusion name), a fusion Indian restaurant (Junnoon), and a fusion Vietnamese restaurant (Three Seasons), with Western cuisine being the unnamed contributor in each case. (Modern Vietnamese cuisine is fusion to start with, Chinese and French contributions being considerable. But Three Seasons goes beyond that.)

2 Responses to “Fusion”

  1. The Ridger Says:

    The compound origami swan pizza — [ origami swan ] [ pizza ] — is cute, – he actually says “origami pizza swan”.

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