Word of Mouth: Unctuous

published Nov 12, 2008
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Unctuous (ung-choo-us) adj.: 1. Having the quality or characteristics of oil, slippery; 2. Containing or composed of oil or fat; 3. Abundant in organic materials, soft and rich.

Nora’s post on Forsterkase cheese yesterday reminded us of this favorite food word! What foods say “unctuous” to you?

To us, ‘unctuous’ is much more of a texture than a flavor. It’s that feeling of having your entire mouth coated with butter, oil, or sometimes a flavor. It can equally describe the starchy-soft quality of good risotto or the melting richness of bone marrow. We’ve also heard it used to describe the qualities in a wine, particularly sweet dessert wines and rieslings.

Maybe we get this from the word’s other function to describe an oily insincere individual, but we feel that unctuous foods also have a kind of dark underbelly. They’re so indulgent and enticing. They make us prone to breaking the rules slightly – like eating with our fingers or adding another half stick of butter.

Sometimes unctuous is a good thing; sometimes not so good. We like it in small doses or when balanced with other palate-cleansing foods and flavors.

Where do you stand on unctuous foods?

(Images: Flickr members mushypea, cbcastro, mhaithaca, and bloggyboulga licensed under Creative Commons)