Unless it’s a smutty double-entendre I’m generally not a big fan of words that have multiple meanings. So I was trying to think of the most egregious example of a word that poses the greatest threat of misinterpretation. And after many, many years of reading dictionaries, attending prestigious universities and interviewing linguists, I think I’ve found it.
The most dangerous word in the English language is….Truffles!
That’s right – truffles. Please allow me to explain.
On the one hand, truffles are the most wondrous creation in the known universe. Who can resist those delicious little balls of chocolate that are filled with a variety of smooth fillings? I’ve tried just about every type of Lindor truffle and they’re all good. Just thinking about the peanut butter truffle makes me want to drive to the mall, scam a free truffle, leave the store, go to the costume shop, buy a costume and go back incognito for more free truffles.
I even invented a novel way of eating truffles. I call it “doing a rainbow.” You should totally try it RIGHT NOW. Go to the store, buy a large variety bag of truffles, go home (or sit in your car in the parking lot) and eat one of each flavor. Get it…you’re eating a “rainbow” of flavors! And it’s totally not just a terrible excuse for eating 6 truffles in one sitting.
So, you see, a truffle is a wonderful thing and the word ‘truffle’ should evoke feeling of overwhelming joy.
But it doesn’t. Why? Because ‘truffle’ is also the name for a disgusting mushroom. And I like most mushrooms. In fact, I usually order mushroom omelets. But truffles are just revolting. They’re like the worst-tasting mushroom combined with the worst-tasting dirt.
One time I was a Smith & Wollensky’s for a business lunch. At the time I was a vegetarian and my choices were limited, to say the least. But they had a mac and cheese dish on the menu. Score! Sure, it was infused with truffles, but I figured that cheese is more powerful that mushrooms, so I ordered it. Big mistake! It was beyond revolting. The first bite made me gag. The second bite made my cry.
Do you know how embarrassing it is to cry at a business lunch because you don’t like your mac and cheese?
Now, I’m not really surprised that truffles taste like garbage. Do you know why? Because farmers use trained pigs to find truffles. Guess what, Francois, PIGS EAT GARBAGE. Of course they love truffles. They love garbage.
I’m totally pro-France but they’re crazy with their food. Think about it – the most prestigious foods in France are truffles, caviar and foie gras. That’s gross mushrooms, gross fish eggs and gross liver to me and you, kids. They’re just lucky that they invented French fries to redeem themselves.
So there you have it. Truffles – one of the greatest and one of the worst foods in the world dangerously sharing the same name. I propose that one of them (i.e. the gross mushroom) gracefully back down and adopt a new, less deceptive name.