What’s In A Name? (Sneaky Sauce)

Salmon with Sneaky Sauce

Recipe titles are so descriptive now. When I first started cooking, they were pretty generic. Roast Beef. Mashed Potatoes. Gravy. Corn. These days, dinner goes through metamorphosis before I even step in front of the stove.

Initially, I was a bit put off by prolific titles, especially ones listing Every. Single. Thing. (Blame it on bacon, Nutella, and SEO.) But, over the years I’ve come to appreciate their point-blank accuracy. I tend to carry around a mental inventory of my fridge and pantry (anyone?) and ‘specific’ recipes allow me plan dinner more efficiently. Very helpful.

I also like the ‘fun’ ones. “Moroccan Meatball Marvel.” “Killer Chocolate Parfait.” Names like that leave something to the ol’ imagination.

In a fit of introspection, I wondered if a recipe title mindset could be applied to my ‘goals’ for 2014? I’m not much of a goal-setter (which explains a lot of things) and up until now I’ve been content to float along in a sea of nondescript to-do’s: Write a book. Compose a song. Take some photos. Clean house…

Truthfully, I’m more proactive than that. Being laid back has its merits, but time has a way of sneaking up on (or away from) me. I need to write a specific recipe for my life — or at least an imaginative title.

Progress Mixed With Playfulness.

By the way, I wasn’t trying to be sly making reference to ‘Sneaky Sauce.’ There really is such a thing. (Well… that’s what we call it at our house.) I’ve slathered it on everything from pork chops to pan-seared salmon with rave reviews!

For a truly tasty BBQ sauce with a lil’ sneak-up-on-you heat, The Unorthodox Epicure has just the thing: East Texas Smoky Barbecue Sauce. (Thanks, Adam!)

Sometimes the name says it all.

Enjoying kitchen evolutions,

~ Kim

19 thoughts on “What’s In A Name? (Sneaky Sauce)

    • Catherine, like the ol’ sayings: “A picture’s worth a thousand words” and “We eat with our eyes first,” you’re so right about an appealing photo. My keyboard is covered in drool, lol! :)

  1. I am on the fence about recipe names….on one hand if a name promises: spicy… I expect some sort of spiciness. Then again how many ways can we rename a flippin’ stew? I mean stew is stew right? I do like the idea of have a taste “surprise” from a recipe just like your “sneaky sauce” :)

    • Isabelle, there are times when I appreciate every-ingredient-recipe-names and other times when I don’t want to know. Depends on the mood I’m in, I guess. I agree though, if it promises “spicy” it better deliver! ;) xo

  2. I think SEO is to blame for the ever increasing word count in the recipe names, or maybe a call for differentiation? Just guessing here, though I do sometimes enjoy very descriptive titles. They sort of give full insight in the recipe at the first glance, though ones leaving some work for imagination are always appreciated (sneaky sauce sounds so entertaining) :)

    • Gintare, what an excellent point about differentiation! If everybody posted a recipe named “Chicken Casserole,” nobody would be compelled to read the next post, or the next, and “search” would become a nightmare. Yay for the fabulous insight you shared! Thank you. xo

  3. Oh, I know what you mean about the names. When the names are too long, I find myself admiring, but don’t find myself wanting to recreate the recipe. I suppose it’s off-putting. “Extra smoky TX bbq sauce” is fine, but “Extra smoky ancho-chili, apple, and cumin deep south Texas bbq sauce” not so much. I don’t need a description of the recipe and all of the ingredients in the title.

    • Joyti, it sounds like you have a “food imagination” like mine. When I read every-ingredient-titles, I’ve practically made the dish in my mind already — smelled it, tasted it, etc. — it kinda takes the fun out of actually making it. ;) Thanks for coming by to comment — I always enjoy your thoughts!

    • Maureen, I just want the title to reflect what the post is about without giving the whole thing away. Wasn’t that what we were taught way back when? :) Apparently, parentheses have fallen out of grace in SEO lately, too — guess you know where this post ranks, ha! I’m glad you’re not losing sleep over it — me either. xo

  4. Kimmmeee…love this post…names, yes, are important, and if you can entice and raise interest w/a few words then that’s even better…I mean if I entitle something ‘Mystery Meat’ I’m thinking folks would come just to see what it is! Then there’s ‘Stone Soup’ (truly what my mom used to call it growing up when there wasn’t really anything in the refrig)…always fun to open the pandora’s box….but my fave is one that my Grandma Cook (Alice was her name) used when you’d ask her ‘what’s for dinner’…she’d quip back, looking at you w/her horn rimmed glasses and blue tone grey hair, ‘hog ass and hominy grits’…subtext being~~whatever the hell I’ve worked my arrsss off all day and you’d better not complain!! xo.

    • Ally, your Grandma sounded like a woman after my own heart — or a waitress we encountered during the trucking days… I asked what ‘scrapple’ was and she replied: “Parts of the pig that’s left over.” :)

  5. I enjoy having fun naming my recipes especially when it comes to the Chinese New Year period. People tend to use auspicious names for their dishes, so I play along until I run out of ideas. I like the word “sneaky”……

  6. I’m with you on the recipe name thing — except I’m hopeful that more recipe authors will find some middle ground. Meatloaf, as you mention, is generic and fine. But when someone posts a recipe called ‘Classic meatloaf w/ grass fed beef, organic tomatoes and fresh Italian herbs,’ it makes me a little crazy. How about ‘Italian herb meatloaf?’ — When I want to get fancy with recipe names, I tend to offer them up in Spanish or Italian. One of these years, I might just start using Mandarin symbols to describe an otherwise mundane ‘Orange Beef’ recipe.

    Thanks for the sauce plug. Believe me when I tell you that it is very basically titled to reflect the style of sauce generally preferred in my neck of the woods. ;-)

    • Adam, your meatloaf analogy was the perfect example of ‘less is more.’ Ironically or not, Roasted Garlic Meatloaf is one of my most requested recipes! Middle ground, yes…. and what’s this about “El Orange Beef”?! I’ll have to look one that up, unless you were just teasing. (Pay no attention to the G tattooed on my forehead for gullible…) My hubby and I enjoy your sauce very much and it was a pleasure to share it… even if it is from Texas. ;)

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