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Words, May 15

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You can't make an omelette without breaking oeufs:

Maggie C.B. Smith writes — “There is a snarky debate raging in the comments of the Eat Arkansas blog. Also, a question about the spelling of the word I've always spelled omelette. Care to weigh in?”

I suspect that people like Ms. Smith, who can actually make one, are more inclined to use the French omelette. People like me, who've gotten most of our information on the subject from an IHOP menu, are more likely to use omelet. Both spellings are in the Random House Unabridged; omelet is the more common in America, according to RH.

As for the rest of Ms. Smith's comment, I hadn't known there was so much excitement to be found on the Arkansas Times' “Eat Arkansas” blog. Lifestyle Editor Lindsey Millar touched it off. While writing about a new restaurant called The House, he included parts of the menu provided by the owners, and the adjective house-made appeared several times — house-made corned beef hash, house-made biscuits and gravy, etc. (The menu also referred to “omlets,” but I imagine that was just a typo.)

Some readers objected to house-made. One wrote, “The minute I see that silly neologism for the much more homely (and appropriate) ‘homemade,' I want to run the other way. To me, it's of the same ilk as writing restaurant reviews in first-person plural or talking about a drinkable little wine.”

Others defended house-made. “I think ‘house' refers to a business and ‘home' refers to a person's actual residence. Home-made jelly, house-made dressing. In-house counsel, in-home estimate.”  Another wrote: “I imagine house-made is a play on words referencing the fact that the name of the restaurant is ‘The House.' I thought it was mildly clever.”

I'm still trying to whip up an opinion.

 

Would a housemaid say house-made? It's unclear. She might  say worse if her knee was bothering her. She might even grow snarky (“snappish, sarcastic”).

 

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