literary food blog, for readers with good taste.

Eat Your Words: Diction and Score

Eat Your Words: Diction and Score

Eat your words

Devouring books and crafting meals is great--but sounding smart while you do it is even better. That’s why we’re teaching you to eat your words. In this weekly guide, we bring you literary devices and culinary terms everyone should know.


Diction (noun): the distinct style or tone of an author's writing, often used as a measure of the quality of work.

Example: Rian Malan is a renowned South African author whose first book, published 20 years ago, established him as a preeminent writer from that nation. His diction is characteristic to him and seems representative of his personality. He is a sort of Anthony Bourdain character: intelligent and wry, caring deeply about his subject (in Bourdain's case, food and travel; in Malan's, South Africa) while approaching it with an edge of derision. In his writing, there is at times awe and at other times pomp, but there is no confusing him with another author who tackles the same subjects – and this is due to his diction.


Score (verb): to make shallow cuts in the surface of meats, fish, or vegetables for the purpose of decoration, tenderizing, or assisting the marinating process.

Example: In my cucumber-zucchini salad, I used a small fork to score the sides of the vegetables before slicing them thinly with my mandoline. By dragging the tines of the fork through the skin of the cucumber and zucchini in vertical, parallel lines, the resulting slices had slightly scalloped edges, which made them look all the prettier once served. You can see the results of the scoring in this photo:

Cucumbers and zucchinis

See past Eat Your Words installments here.

Sources: Literary Devices | Reluctant Gourmet

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