I say it sounds yucky, and I say the hell with it

A Calvin and Hobbes re-run in today’s comics feed:


Food aversions have many bases: appearance, taste, smell, texture, intensity of flavor, novelty, objections to ingredients (would you eat Bambi? Thumper? Fido? Fluffy? Porky? Sam the Clam?, Charlie the Tuna?), allergic reactions, unpleasant previous experiences — and aversion to the name, as with Calvin.

Previously on this blog:

on 6/11/11, in “Product names”:

Surely a lot of the yuck factor comes from attitudes to the substance itself. If you find the idea of eating goat, deer, or rabbit (not to mention horse, snake, or dog) unpleasant, then jiggling the name of the meat is probably not going to make you feel more receptive to it — unless marketers actually disguise the identity of the stuff via the name (the way I hid Japanese eel under the name brownfish for my man Jacques, who detested eels but loved the sushi; the mother of a childhood friend of mine similarly concealed bean soup under the name Egyptian lentil soup, until her son was confronted with it at the summer camp he and I went to).

(Quite separately, there are names with unfortunate associations for some people, so that changing the name can improve things: horse mackeral to tunadolphin(fish) to mahi-mahi, and the like).

on 11/12/17, in “Food rebellion”:

Mary Jane [in an A.A. Milne verse] rejects repetitive blandness. Much more common is the child who rejects novelty and/or intense flavors. As in this famous New Yorker cartoon:

[“It’s broccoli, dear” / “I say it’s spinach, and I say the hell with it.”]

In the cartoon, the tortellini might (or might not) be novel to Calvin, but their/its name definitely strikes him as disgusting, suggesting torture and tortoises / turtles and who knows what else.

Etymologically, tortellini are neither twisted (tortuous or torturous) nor testudine. From NOAD:

Italian, plural of tortellino, diminutive of tortello ‘small cake, fritter’ [ < torta ‘pie, loaf’]

(So tortellini is a double diminutive, and its bigger brother tortelloni is an augmentative of a diminutive.)

On the actual stuff, from Wikipedia:

(#2) Unembellished tortellini

Tortellini are ring-shaped pasta, sometimes also described as “navel shaped”, hence their alternative name of “belly button” (ombelico). They are typically stuffed with a mix of meat (pork loin, prosciutto) or cheese. Originally from the Italian region of Emilia (in particular Bologna and Modena), they are usually served in broth, either of beef, chicken, or both.

Packed, refrigerated or frozen, tortellini and tortelloni (similar but larger, with cheese and/or vegetable stuffing) appear in many locations around the world, especially where there are large Italian communities. Tortellini and tortelloni are made in European industrial lines supplying markets in Europe and further afield.

They are typically served with various sauces — cheese, Alfredo, pesto, puttanesca, melted butter, browned butter, etc. — and sometimes mixed with vegetables: tomatoes, mushrooms, roasted zucchini, roasted bell peppers, etc.

(#3) Tortellini with basil pesto and cherry tomatoes

(Just to remind you that Calvin is a little boy who delights in grossing little girls out with disgusting food.)

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