Monday, May 3, 2010

Rant: Is It Wrong To Be Moist?

How do you properly describe a cupcake or slice of cake? Is our language adequate to accurately explain how we feel about such a dessert? I am unsure as to the answer to the first question, and may have to answer in the negative to the second.

Much of this has surfaced lately over the use of the term "moist" in describing cupcakes. People don't seem to have an issue with describing a cupcake as "dry," which is usually used in a negative manner. But some people dislike the use of "moist," which is a term I tend to use. I use it in a positive manner, describing the opposite of dry, a taste and texture which seem "moist" to me.

I think that people understand exactly what I mean when I use the term. But some prefer not to use it, though they generally cannot offer a better alternative. What word do you think would be a better substitute for "moist?" Or is "moist" the best possible word, despite its inadequacies?

In the larger scheme of things, maybe our language is not perfect for describing certain food-related items. Have you ever tasted something, but felt that words could not describe how you felt? Have you bitten into something, but not been able to properly describe what you were tasting? I find myself in those situations sometimes and I suspect others have too.

I think that as long as other people can understand what you mean when describing food, then the words you use are likely appropriate. They might not be perfect, but at least they convey your meaning.


Amy Boland said...

I think, unfortunately, that the M word is the most appropriate term for the context. But I hate the way it sounds. Makes my teeth itch.

Maybe if you passed out cake and cupcakes while you said the word, then the pain of hearing the word would be offset by the happiness of eating cake.

WestEnd Writers Workshop said...

I would tell you what "moist" means to my husband and me, but this might be a "family-friendly" blog.

As a fiction writer, you might be interested in the West End Writer's 2010 Writing Contest for both fiction and poetry. 1st prize for each is $100 and submissions can be sent online with fee payment through PayPal. Deadline is May 15 so don't wait! Get details at

Happy writing!