Pulled. A strange word that seemingly arrived hot and sticky from a North Carolina barbeque around three years ago and rapidly became the descriptor du jour.
Everywhere we eat appears to be obsessed with offering a different type of meat that's been 'pulled'. Even middle England's favourite lunch venue M&S has a vaguely rude sounding hot pulled chicken sandwich. Enough with this to-ing and fro-ing; pulling will naturally come to an end in a few years' time when you can order a pulled pork sandwich from a service station on the M4, with a couple of sliders on the side.
Just as food goes through cycles of fashion, the way it's described follows similar trends. Words that may once have had some credibility, such as 'artisanal' are now thrown about with little care, debasing their actual meaning. Qualifiers such as 'local' are used as a generic catch all, often bearing little in common geographically with purchasers.
We browse phrases and pluck the juicy ones such as 'heirloom tomato' directly from the country of origin – in this case the US (see Vanity Fair's recent snob's dictionary entry). Others, such as the obsession with vegetables being rainbow coloured, are decidedly homegrown.
One thing is certain – like all food trends, when adjectives outlive their welcome, they begin to take on the odd unexplainable aftertaste of yesteryear. 'Cocktail' once had the power to conjure glamour and excitement; apply it to sausages or cherries and it takes on an altogether different flavour.