In the restaurant business, there are a lot of references to the â€˜house.â€™ There’s the front of the house (dining area), the back of the house (kitchen/prep area) and, if you’re lucky enough to score a freebie, it’s usually described as being â€˜on the house.â€™
Now the word â€˜houseâ€™ is finding its way onto the menu in the descriptive term â€˜housemade,â€™ according to an article by Andrew Romano in Newsweek. More and more restaurants nationwide, it seems, now prefer the artisanal adjective “housemade” over the commonly-used and unassuming â€˜homemade.â€™ Romano makes note of the Michelin-starred Brooklyn restaurant Dressler, which offers a menu featuring housemade gnocchi with morel ragout ($15); a cheddar burger with housemade pickles ($13.50); housemade pecan sticky buns ($4); and a cocktail with house-infused orange vodka ($11).
Menupages.com lists 244 New York restaurants that mention housemade (or â€˜house-madeâ€™) fare. Other cities are following suit, including San Francisco (176), Los Angeles (118), Washington D.C. (112), Chicago (79), and South Florida (62).
Some chefs argue that the term â€˜homemadeâ€™ simply sounds amateurish, as in Aunt Molly’s Homemade Apple Pie, while â€˜housemadeâ€™ has more sophistication and contemporary cachet. The word invokes authenticity, they say, letting the customer know that the menu items described are created with fresh ingredients, right there in the back of the…house.
See if you notice this linguistic trend next time you dine out this summer.
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