The Hellhole

Monday, October 07, 2013

Couples Lexicon

"Couples Lexicon" is my brother's term for that language that sort of evolves amid couples (families, too, I suppose) where you develop words or phrases that have a certain meaning for you, but outsiders would require explanation.

A favorite one of ours is "gunge".  Gunge is either an identified or unidentified substance, it is viscous, thicker than a liquid but not a solid.  Beyond that, I can't further define it but I know it when I see it.  For example, you look down and see a greyish-black oily smudge of something on your arm, which is easily identifiable neither as animal nor vegetable:  "Oooh, gross!  I've got to wash this gunge off my arm!"  Last week we made thick pork chops, first seared in a hot hot pan with some olive oil, then finished in the same pan with a can of chopped tomatoes, garlic, shallots, mushrooms, white wine and spices.  If you took all four pork chops out of that pan, what you'd be left with would be gunge because it's too thick to be merely "sauce".

Bo & Sarah and Alan & I each have a Couples Lexicon catchphrase about food there's no way we're gonna eat, much less even try.  Ours comes from talking with an older relative who had recently purchased some "very good" headcheese (note "very good" in quotation marks) and wanted to know if we'd like to try it.  Later on, not in her presence, we were talking and I said, "You know, that sort of thing makes perfect sense to me for way back in the day, when most people had one hog a year to slaughter and it had to last all six or seven of their family members all the way through the winter.  Then, eating sheeps' eyes and stomachs, and pig ears and trotters, and headcheese and sweetbreads - I get it, I really do.  But nowadays - not so much.  Not when Publix sells rib-eyes."  We now say, "Not when Publix sells rib-eyes," when we encounter a recipe or a menu item that sounds awful, or more often for us, sounds really great until they get to the very last step, and that's something like, "smothered in mango-rhubarb chutney" or "on a honey-glazed bed of mashed turnip, cauliflower and okra medley" - we lock eyes and say in unison, "Not when Publix sells rib-eyes!"  One Food Network chef is especially guilty of this; I'll watch most of her show drooling, can't wait to try the recipe, and then she gets to the final step and ruins it.  We were both salivating over her braised beef short ribs until she got to the part where she shaved chocolate all over the whole dish.  Alan likes his chocolate in cake and ice cream and for me, this step violates Helly's Food Law #2 - sweet things shall not be mixed with salty things.  I know some people like this combo; I do not.  Even as a kid, my mom will tell you I HATED peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.  Peanut butter - okay.  Jelly on toast or bread - okay.  The two together:  eeeeuwww!!!  Do not want!

Bo and Sarah's version of "Not when Publix sells rib-eyes," is even funnier, I think.  Theirs hearkens back to an episode of Family Guy, when they do a send-up of the movie Mask.  Cartoon Diana, who is blind, asks to feel deformed Rocky's face so she'll know what he looks like.  She does, and starts exclaiming things like, "Oh my god!  What is that?!?", "This feels like the outside of a house!", "Does your face have a pelvis?!?"  Then Cartoon Rocky says soulfully, "I'm beautiful on the inside," to which Cartoon Diana replies, "Yeah, but Rocky, there's a limit!"  That's Bo and Sarah's version of "Not when Publix sells rib-eyes" - "Yeah, but Rocky, there's a limit!"  You can view the actual Family Guy clip here.

Of course I probably uttered 250 other examples of our Couples Lexicon just since arriving home from work, but cannot think of any others because I'm trying to write about it.  Well, I did think of "first in line" but that's probably too politically incorrect.  If you want to know that one, email me and I'll explain.  In the meantime, I would love to hear about any of your own examples of Couples - or Family - Lexicon.


  • I love the "first in line" story. Our food-related one is from the Veggie-Boy episode of Cheers: "You can really taste the kale." I think Mark introduced it to the lexicon, but I use it equally.

    By Blogger Nancy H, at 11:05 AM  

  • When a (home prepared) food is really good we tell the person who made it that the recipe "has potential... but really, you need more PRACTICE." So, if you need more practice at something we want you to do it more often.


    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 8:43 PM  

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