Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Chiffonade Etymology

I was browsing Pioneer Woman Cooks!, not wanting to read anymore about AIG bonuses, and trying to find some inspiration for something to cook... and I came across her illustrated lesson on how to chiffonade basil, which caught my eye because I was wondering whether I should explain better than the link that is in the caldo verde recipe. It's definitely a good explanation, and you should definitely check it out, not least for the gorgeous pictures... but what I wanted to highlight was the following cooking grammar issue I share with her:
Which brings me to MY question: can “chiffonade” be used as a verb? Can one “chiffonade” basil? Or can they simply create a basil chiffonade?
I really wanted it to be a verb, but alas, it seems you make a chiffonade of basil and that's the end of it... unless you're a fan of verbing your nouns... which I am, because prescriptivists are no fun.