In style

This morning’s Bizarro:

The diner is asking for eggs in one of the handful of standard named American styles — scrambled, poached, fried (over or sunny side up), boiled (hard- or soft-) — and not in some “fancy” style, whether in French (eggs/oeufs à/a la Florentine), in English with postposed modifier (eggs Florentine style, eggs Florentine), or in English with preposed modifier (Florentine-style eggs, Florentine eggs).

There’s a l0t to be said about the syntax and semantics of “stylish” eggs (and other foods). The identifier of the style (Florentine, in the example I’ve been using) can allude to a (perhaps fanciful) place of origin or originator (oeufs à l’Escoffier), a person otherwise associated with the dish (oeufs à Kevin, named after a friend of Martha Stewart’s who is fond of the preparation), a prominent ingredient in the dish (eggs a la Portobello, with Portobello mushrooms), or a perceived resemblance between the dish and some non-culinary referent (eggs a la goldenrod / eggs goldenrod / goldenrod eggs, resembling, to some eyes, goldenrod flowers; oeufs à neige ‘floating island’).

Things are roughly similar in Italian- and French-derived names: pasta alla puttanesca, pasta puttanesca, occasionally puttanesca pasta ‘whore’s pasta’ (note the nearly obligatory possessive marker in this last version).

(This week’s food-name find: a site that refers, admittedly jocularly, to huevos rancheros as eggs a la cowboy.)

3 Responses to “In style”

  1. Victor Raskin Says:

    Interesting that in my native somewhat restricted-use Russian, the same dishes would use the standard preposition ‘по,’ indicating basically the case role of physical path, as in ‘along the highway,’ and also used more metaphorically with languages, as ‘in Russian,’ ‘in English.’ I assume that, in the current fashionable Moscow dialect, my former dialect frozen as of 1973, they are simply using the original or fake French.

  2. Robert Coren Says:

    Well, maybe. I assumed this was just a riff on the standard menu item “{N} eggs any style”.

  3. Four for the fourth | Arnold Zwicky's Blog Says:

    […] A blog mostly about language « In style […]

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