Monthly Archives: June 2013

How food secure are you?


Food insecurity is a new term to me.

I had to do some research to find its meaning after I saw it used in a newspaper article.  (Yes, I still read newspapers.)

Food insecurity refers to the availability of food and one’s access to it. A household is considered food-secure when its occupants do not live in hunger or fear of starvation.  If someone is food insecure, he or she has a lack of food access based on financial and other material resources.

The USDA defines food insecurity as meaning “consistent access to adequate food is limited by a lack of money and other resources at times during the year.”

Acceptable shorthand terms for food insecurity are “hungry, or at risk of hunger,” and “hungry, or faced the threat of hunger.”

My research shows that food insecurity is not the government’s definition of hunger.  It is a broader term that captures outright hunger and the coping mechanisms that households use to avoid hunger.  Food insecurity is a household situation, not an individual situation.

Food insecurity is a year-long measure since it tends to be episodic and many times cyclical.



Restaurateur vs restauranteur

what_is_a_restaurateurRestaurateur is not a word I had typed before the other day.  I was doing a restaurant review for the Berthoud Weekly Surveyor. The word seemed to fit the person who owned the restaurant I was writing about.

I tried to spell it restauranteer  (like mouseketeer, maybe.)   Spellcheck did not like this so I was forced to Google the word.

There is a spelling close to the one I tried to use for this person I know who owns, runs and cooks at a Mexican eatery.  This word is restauranteur. Turns out this is not the preferred method of spelling the word. There should be no N in it.

The term I was wanting is restaurateur.   This is a  person who opens and runs restaurants professionally.  This person is usually highly skilled and proficient in all aspects of the restaurant business.  Sometimes it is used for anyone who owns an eating establishment.

The French word restaurateur comes from the late Latin term restaurator—meaning restorer.

The first known use of restaurateur is in 1796.

Say what — How you say it depends where you live


Words are pronounced differently in different areas of the United States.

Thanks to for showing us how we as Americans pronounce or label a variety of words.

The map showing the words are here —

Being from Iowa originally, it was interesting to see how my upbringing influenced how I say some words.

I wish the list would have added

1. What do you call the person who carries out your groceries ? (bag boy, caddie, etc.)

2. What do you call the thing you carry groceries in? (bag or sack)

That words does your area of the country say differently than the rest?


Obsolete words

Words are fun–that’s what is all about.

One of my fellow writers, and also a good friend, Maryjo Morgan alerted me to this article on obsolete words.  It appeared on a website called


Here is the article:

By  90 days ago

 Just like facts and flies, English words have life-spans. Some are thousands of years old, from before English officially existed, others change, or are replaced or get ditched entirely.

Here are 18 uncommon or obsolete words that we think may have died early. We found them in two places: a book called “The Word Museum: The Most Remarkable English Words Ever Forgotten” by Jeffrey Kacirk, and on a blog called Obsolete Word of the Day that’s been out of service since 2010. Both are fantastic— you should check them out.

Snoutfair: A person with a handsome countenance — “The Word Museum: The Most Remarkable English Words Ever Forgotten” by Jeffrey Kacirk

Continue reading

Oenophile — I’ll drink to that

oenophile_definitionOenophile is a word that is new to me.  I saw it the other day in a trivia column written by my buddy Jim Willard.   (He is an oenophile, by the way.)

I now know that an oenophile is one who enjoys or loves wines.   It can be any person with a fondness or appreciation for wines.   One would probably say they are a connoisseur of wine. defines connoisseur as:

a person who is especially competent to pass critical judgments in an art, particularly one of the fine arts, or in matters of taste.

The word first appeared around 1925 to 1930.  It’s origins are from the Greek word oinos which means wine.