Monday, September 6, 2010

Special Hobo Flavor

Who goes there? Oh, it’s just you, antiquated, faint taint of rot! Why don’t you step over and be the word of the week?
hogo (HOH-goh) — noun: a subtle flavor of decay
As far as concepts closely associated with the Richie Riches of yesteryear, I can think of few more symbolically appropriate than that of hogo. The term — a sloppy Anglicization of the French haut goût, “high taste” — was often used to describe a once-desirable flavor in meats: the beginning of rot. I’m fairly certain that I’ve never tasted this flavor, mostly because people today are reluctant to let living animals kill them, much less dead and butchered ones.

The credit for this week’s word comes from David Wondrich’s article in the current Esquire on how rum ain’t like it used to be. Today, rum tastes all fun and pirate-y, but long ago those aforementioned Richie Riches of yore drank rum that had hint of piss — what Wondrich calls “a sulfurous, funky tang.” It still exists in some rums and can be masked with limes and sugar to make an overall flavor more complex than those mere good-tasting spirits you’ve been wasting your time with. Tasty! (Allegedly.)

Along the same lines, for you boozy and wordy readers: the list of terms the American Homebrewers Association uses to pinpoint the taste of beer. What’s a twelve-letter word for “tastes like green apples”?

Previous strange and wonderful words:
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