EDIT: Here’s my TEDx talk on doof:
EDIT: I recorded podcast episodes on doof. Here’s the first:
We need a new word to describe a concept missing from English.
Books on food try to distinguish between healthy, fulfilling food grown to sustain and industrial products designed for profit, to entertain your mouth, without regard for your health.
For example, when Michael Pollan’s Food Rules says “Eat food, not too much, mostly plants,” by food he means not industrial products designed for chewing and swallowing, but not really sustenance.
Marion Nestle’s book Food Politics prompted seeing the need for the new word. Other books face the same challenge—from Michael Gregor and Joel Fuhrman too. I love these authors.
Phrases like “fast food” and “junk food” contain the word food and suggest they have something in common with food. These writers struggle to talk about the industrial products without implying they’re like food when they keep having to use the word food in the phrases.
Just because you can chew something or drink it, swallow it, and not die immediately doesn’t make something food.
I propose the term doof—food spelled backward—to mean industrial products designed to entertain your mouth and for profit without regard for your health.
I played with a couple acronyms, though conversations with friends tell me that people prefer doof.
One is POME, for profit-oriented mouth entertainment, or lower-cased as a word: pome. People pointed out how food producers like profit too and didn’t catch on that I meant profit as the primary motivation behind the pome manufacturer. They also pointed out how they liked entertainment, so it didn’t sound like a problem.
I believe doof manufacturer’s aim not uniquely for profit but for craving. They want you to want more of their product.
What do you think of COMF or COMP, for craving-oriented mouth filler or craving-oriented mouth products?
I prefer doof for how it sounds and its simplicity, but why not include a synonym or two?
I recommend replacing the phrases “junk food,” “fast food,” “snack food,” and the like with doof and comf. Then kids and others won’t confuse them for food.
I recommend avoiding doof and comf.
Here’s a headline that confuses doof with things with nutritional value:
Here’s what it would say instead:
Mexico Anti-Obesity Activists Win Fight for Doof Warnings
MEXICO CITY—After a decade of fighting for stronger doof labeling standards in one of the most obese countries in the world, Mexican activists celebrated Monday over a new rule that will require warning labels on doof.
Read my weekly newsletter
On initiative, leadership, the environment, and burpees