If you’re a food nerd like we are, you might also light up when you hear the news: Oxford Dictionaries released a feast of new food words. Our modern vernacular, from superfood to drunken noodles, has infiltrated this venerated lexicon. Wordy enough for you?

The food: We’re growing ever-more sophisticated in our food knowledge, and the dictionary has to keep up. They are. Curious if you’re keeping pace with Oxford Dictionaries (and the general public)? Test how in-the-know you are about the latest buzzwords in the food world. Take a spin.

1. Aquafaba

Fried Dandelions

Oxford Definition: Water in which chickpeas or other pulses have been cooked, used as a substitute for egg whites, particularly in vegan cooking.

Example: “The kitchen uses whipped aquafaba to lighten pancakes.”

Recipe: With aquafaba, you can make brownies, fudge, ice cream, buttercream frosting, meringues, mayo, and marshmallow fluff. Try these Perfect Brownies, which are gooey inside and crackly on top, created by Sarah of Fried Dandelions. She uses the water from a can of black beans instead of chickpeas, along with coconut oil, instant coffee, maple syrup, and the usual brownie ingredients. Oh, and they’re vegan. Get the recipe.

Also try: Our Vegan Raspberry Macarons recipe by Margaret Lozano. Read more about aquafaba.


2. Drunken Noodles

RecipeTin Eats

Oxford Definition: A southeast Asian dish of stir-fried rice noodles, vegetables, and meat, seafood, or tofu, served with a spicy sauce.

Example: “My husband had the drunken noodles with pork.”

Recipe: Nagi Maehashi of RecipeTin Eats made her Thai version of Pad Kee Mao Drunken Noodles for us, explaining “the theory is that these spicy noodles are perfectly accompanied with an ice cold beer and also that they are a great cure for hangover,” she says on her blog. Get the recipe.

Also: The term came about in the 1980s as an anglicized version of pad kee mao.


3. Frita


Oxford Definition: In Cuban cuisine, a sandwich consisting of a fried cake of seasoned pork and beef that is topped with very thinly cut chips and served in a roll.

Example: “The frita was perfectly cooked and juicy.”

Recipe: Betty Cortina of NBC Latino shared this recipe for a classic Cuban frita, which is similar to an American burger, but the meat patty is sometimes mixed with chorizo and spiced with cumin and paprika. “It’s fried, slathered in a ketchup-like sauce then topped with onions—fried or raw—and the trademark mountain of crispy shoestring fries,” Cortina writes. Get the recipe.

Also: American Spanish, feminine of frito ‘fried’, perhaps as a shortening of papa frita ‘French fry’ or carne frita ‘fried meat’.


4. Pour-Over

Counter Culture Coffee

Oxford Definition: A method (or the coffee itself) of brewing coffee by manually pouring boiling water through a filter filled with ground coffee beans.

Examples: “I would love to try their pour-over coffee,” “I like the pour-over method,”  “They sigh and sip their pour-over,” and “If you order a pour-over, expect to pay a little more.”

Recipe: Counter Culture Coffee provides a list of the tools and beans you need, plus a set of instructions, so it’s basically a recipe. They’re pretty serious about their coffee and can get quite scientific about it. So if that’s too much, just take the general idea. Get the recipe.

Also: Learn more about coffee, such as what’s the difference between cold-brew and iced coffees?


5. Ras-el-Hanout

Kevin is Cooking

Oxford Definition: A spice mixture used in North African cooking.

Example: “A pair of seared scallops seasoned with ras-el-hanout.”

Recipe: In our recipe from Field Guide to Herbs & Spices by Aliza Green, you need nine spices to make this blend, which is great on lamb, chicken, tagines, and couscous dishes. Or really anything, because it’s awesome. Get our Ras-el-Hanout recipe.

Also: Ras-el-hanout comes from an Arabic word which means “top of the shop,”  signaling that the spices are the best the shopkeeper has. The blend could have up to 30 spices, usually including ginger, chili, cumin, coriander seeds, turmeric, cardamom, and cinnamon. Use your blend for our Baked Pita Chips recipe too.


6. Shoestring Fries

Nosh and Nourish

Oxford Definition: Very thinly cut chips. Also called shoestring potatoes in North America.

Examples: “Each morsel is served atop shoestring fries” and “The shoestring potatoes added a nice crunch.”

Recipe: These crispy baked sweet potato and carrot shoestring fries from Nosh and Nourish are a healthier version of deep-fried white potatoes, and good in a different way, with a sweet element that Yukons don’t have. They’re great on beef, turkey, salmon, and vegetable burgers, as well as  Sloppy Joes. Get the recipe.

Also: You’ll need a julienne peeler or mandoline or one of those spiralizers to make these fries the size of your athletic sneaker’s laces — or thinner. Check out our Guide to Homemade French Fries.


7. Superfruit


Oxford Definition: A nutrient-rich fruit considered to be especially beneficial for health and well-being.

Examples: “a superfruit with amazingly high levels of vitamins” and “an innovative blend of real, organic superfruit juices.”

Recipe: This açaí-infused smoothie bowl is not only trendy,  it also has another superfruit, the blueberry. Both are packed with antioxidants, plus flaxseeds, another superfood, and much more. You purchase the açaí in frozen, unsweetened purée form. Get the our Açaí Bowl recipe.

Also: This is subgenre of the superfood genre, including all produce. It’s yet another example of how thinking of food from a wellness perspective is pretty cool.


8. Takoyaki

Eat Your Teacup

Oxford Definition: A Japanese snack of savoury ball-shaped cakes containing chopped octopus, made from wheat batter cooked on a specially shaped griddle.

Examples: “We were starving and finally found a stand that made takoyaki” and “Piping hot takoyaki are a sought-after delicacy.”

Recipe: It’s the ultimate comfort food for Manisay from Eat Your Teacup. “That crispy exterior oozing with piping hot, gooey batter is just too good to resist,” she says in her recipe, which is easy except that you need the right tools to make it, a takoyaki pan or something similar, like a Dutch pancake maker from Target.  Get the recipe.

Also: Tako means “octopus” and yaki means “to fry, broil, sear” in Japanese.


9. Tonkatsu Sauce

CD Kitchen

Oxford Definition: A Japanese sweet and savoury sauce made from fruit and vegetables with soy sauce and other flavourings, served with breaded pork or other fried dishes.

Example: “The sandwich is served with shredded cabbage and tonkatsu sauce.”

Recipe: Many fans buy a bottle of this sauce instead of making it at home, but this simple rendition by CD Kitchen has three ingredients and couldn’t be easier. It’s most often drizzled or used as a dip for Panko-breaded pork loins or cutlets, along with shredded cabbage. Get the recipe.

Also: Some call it Japanese ketchup.


— Head photo: Eat Your Teacup.


Amy Sowder is a writer and editor based in NYC, covering food and wellness in publications such as Bon Appétit, Women's Health, Eat This, Not That!, Upworthy/GOOD, Brooklyn Magazine, and Westchester Magazine. She loves to run races, but her favorite finish lines are gelato shops. Learn more at AmySowder.com.
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