Over the last few years I have steadily developed a dislike for the word yummy. Just reading the word or hearing it uttered causes a mild distress. This may be similar to prudes or boring old farts who balk at the use of the ‘F’ word or are horrified at the ‘C’ word. How is it possible to dislike a word? What has caused this apparently irrational phobia? Over the last few days I have done some research into the word “yummy” in an attempt understand my condition.
The first line of enquiry centers around my dislike of infantile regression. That is, adults speaking like children, for example “the likkle doggie did a whoopsie in the housy”. There are other examples of child speak that I shy away from for example I have never liked the word pooh I have always preferred to say “shit” although for some reason the American word “poop” is OK. I have a “cock” not a “willy” a stomach not a “tummy” and a mom not a mommy. However, who says that the word yummy is a child’s word? Some online dictionaries say that the word “yummy” is onomatopoeic ie, a word that is an imitation of an actual sound, for example cuckoo, meow, honk, ping or boom. But who makes the sound of “yum” when they are eating? Unless you hadn’t eaten in three weeks and then fell into a vat of melted chocolate nobody would make a sound anywhere near the “yum” sound. Apart from the fact that “yummy” sounds a bit childish, the only strong link between the word yummy and children is the rhyme “yum-yum pigs bum apple pie and chewing gum”.
So, what is the etymology of the word yummy? The word has existed in dictionaries since 1899 and yum-yum as an exclamation of pleasure is recorded since 1878. This is the explanation given in several etymology dictionaries. In Senegal the word for food is “nyami” but that is just a coincidence. The best explanation of the origin of the word yummy is the following. Yummy comes from the ‘Yum’. This word comes from the Sanskrit mantra ‘Yum’ which is said during meditation. It helps to focus concentration on love and good things. The meditator would repeat Yum, Yum, Yum. Those traveling to India in the 1800s picked up on this. So now, if we think something is tasty and good, we think of joy, and say ‘Yum’. There is a you tube video of someone doing the “yum yum” meditation here. That explanation gives a very pleasant slant on the yummy word and it makes me feel bad about not liking it. By the way the opposite of “yum” is “yuck” maybe this is the Sanskrit version of yin and yang.
Maybe a reason why I don’t like “yummy” is because we grow a lot of produce on our land and I am often scouring internet for recipes. Many food blogs are written by “popcorn assed muthafukas” ie (A person who is lame; in actions, speech, or overall demeanor). By the way, I found this expression on spotify in the lyrics of a song sung by a band called “yummy”. This may seem a little harsh and maybe I am just showing off by swearing but it is very annoying when I am trying to find a recipe and the author is just a middle class basterd who insists on telling everyone about the most trivial aspects of their lives interspersed with lashings of “yummies”, “yum-yums” and “yums”. Don’t they realise that the allotted praise phrases for this type of blog are “simply divine” or “utterly heavenly”. There may be a slight bit of English style class intolerance here, something akin to Arthur Scargill’s hatred of the filofax in the 1980’s.
There is another reason I don’t like “yummy”. The pedantic schoolteacher in me wishes that everyone were not so lazy and would have more imagination when using adjectives. Everything is not just “nice” or “cool”. Get off your mental arse and think of some more descriptive adjectives to describe things. Here are 160 to start with.
Acidic, Acrid, Aged, Amazing, Ambrosial, Appealing, Appetizing, Awesome, Bad, Bitter, Bittersweet, Bland, Brilliant, Burnt, Buttery, Chalky, Cheesy, Chewy, Chocolaty, Citrusy, Cool, Creamy, Crispy, Crumbly, Crunchy, Crusty, Delectable, Delicious, Delightful, Distasteful , Divine, Doughy, Dry, Dry, Dull, Eggy, Enjoyable, Enticing, Excellent, Exquisite, Extraordinary, Fantastic, Fatty, Fiery, Finger, Fishy, Fit For A King, Fizzy, Flakey, Flat, Flavor, Flavorful, Fresh, Fried, Fruity, Full-Bodied, Gamey, Garlicky, Gelatinous, Gingery, Glazed, Good, Gooey, Grainy, Greasy, Gritty, Harsh, Hearty, Heavenly, Heavy, Herbal, Horrible, Hot, Icy, Infused, Juicy, Juicy, Lean, Lemony, Light, Like, Lip, Luscious, Malty, Marvelous, Mashed, Meaty, Mellow, Mild, Minty, Moist, Mouthwatering, Mushy, Nectarous, Nutty, Oily, Oniony, Out Of This World, Overripe, Palatable, Peppery, Pickled, Piquant , Plain, Pleasant, Pleasant Tasting, Pleasing, Powdery, Raw, Refreshing, Rich, Ripe, Roasted, Robust, Rubbery, Runny, Salty, Sapid , Satisfying, Sautéed, Savory, Scrumptious, Seared, Seasoned, Sharp, Silky, Slimy, Smokey, Smooth, Soggy, Soupy, Sour, Spicy, Spongy, Stale, Sticky, Stringy, Strong, Succulent, Sugary, Super, Superb, Sweet, Sweet-And-Sour, Syrupy, Tangy, Tantalizing, Tart, Tasteless, Tasty, Tender, Terrific, Toasted, Tough, Unflavored, Unseasoned, Velvety, Vinegary, Watery, Wonderful, Yummy
If you need to see some of these words used in sentences or learn how to use them in Spanish. Click here to see help with food adjectives in Spanish