My New York Times Word of the Day: terroir

Am still catching up with Sunday’s paper. The story, “Loss Leaders on the Half Shell,” about the current oyster craze, captured my attention today even though I am not a fan of oysters, raw or otherwise.  The writer, Karen Stabiner, quoted a Chicago restaurateur as saying about certain oysters: “They’re coming from great growers who are developing their own terroir, like wine growers.” Unfamiliar with the word, I raced to Webster’s New World Dictionary but it wasn’t there. A Google search immediately turned up a definition: “The conditions in which a food is grown or produced and that give the food its unique characteristics: grass-fed beef with an Idaho terroir.” Of course, I should have known, given that terre means earth. A search of the New York Times also turned up at least six previous uses of the word in the past two years. Where have I been? Oh, well, now I know. It’s a great word and will surely come in to more popular use given that all sorts of foods these days are marketed based on their terroir.



About msvoss

Melinda Voss, MPH, APR, is a freelance writer, editor and public relations specialist. A staff writer for The Des Moines Register and Tribune for nearly 26 years, she has won regional and national awards and taught undergraduate and graduate journalism courses at three universities. In 1999, she earned a master's degree in public health from the University of Minnesota after co-founding the Association of Health Care Journalists in 1997. Voss initially served as the association's unpaid coordinator, then became the executive director from 1999 to 2004. She then became the public relations director for the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system and served in that position until November 2012. She earned her APR, an accreditation in public relations, in 2011.
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