Which would you prefer to eat? Fridge tart or Key lime pie?
Good names make your recipes memorable, original and more appealing to both editors and the people who’re going to cook and eat them. Here are five tricks to help you make your recipes sound more appealing.
- Name it after the person who inspired it. Victoria sponge, Peach Melba. In Jack Monroe’s A Year in 120 recipes cookbook, the thrift blogger remembers holidays with Aunty Helen, the highlight of which were hot potato sandwiches. Aunty Helen’s potato sandwiches sound more exciting than potato sandwiches because there’s a story that goes with them. Isa Chandra Moskowitz called her vegan pizza Mom’s Marinara. If your ten-year old son likes a particular dish, why not name it Oliver’s Chocolate Flapjacks after him? Or how about making someone up? Food brands do this all the time. Think Captain Bird’s Eye’s fish fingers or Uncle Ben’s rice or Aunt Bessie’s Yorkshire Puds.
- Use alliteration (each word used in your recipe name begins with the same letter so it rolls pleasingly off the tongue). One of my students is a talented chef who caters private dinners. She struggled to give the recipes on her suggested menus appetising names. We renamed her dull-sounding ‘fridge tart’ – Georgia’s Gorgeous Guava Pie. Her plain ‘guava ice cream’ became Guava Glory which evokes the delights of Knickerbocker Glory.
- Think of the qualities of the recipe. Is it aromatic, comforting, chewy, silky, creamy, satisfying, spicy? Pretend it is going into a box for sale and the box will need a name. What will make customers reach out and buy? Sticky toffee pudding is a good name because of the word sticky. Lemon drizzle cake appeals because of the word ‘drizzle’.
- Name it after the place it comes from. Eccles cake, Bakewell tart. Mississippi mud pie is a winning name because it conjures up the deep South and also uses alliteration and compares the chocolate to mud which is fun and leads me to my next point.
- Consider what it looks like. Sicilians (and indeed all Italians) have some wonderfully vulgar names for recipes including nuns’ thighs, virgins’ breasts, angels’ pricks, hens’ turds and the improbably-named lasagne cacati (faeces lasagne). To make a cocktail containing the green liqueur, Chartreuse, more fun and appealing, the makers called it Swamp Water. (Might be a great name for some of the broccoli, kale and kiwi smoothies on sale.) Of course, your recipes must sound appetising but these names are memorable and fun for kids.
Do you have trouble naming your recipes? What was the best name you came up with? Any great naming tips you’d like to share?