Word of the Day:
Fair warning: I had a long day at work yesterday, and this is highly unlikely to be in any way coherent. I’m sorry in advance.
The feinschmecker was displeased. (Please note that, despite his tendency to harass me about the quality of my masterful food, I am not, in fact, insulting this particular patron. It just sounds like it to people who are not German, and therefore unused to everything sounding insulting, even—especially—when it’s not.)
According to him, my soup—a perfected version of my grandmother’s long-cherished recipe—was “bland,” needed more vinegar and less garlic, and lacked “pizzazz.” I informed him, coldly, that he was in a German restaurant, where we strongly disapproved of “pizzazz” and any word that has four z’s, and that he had no experience with borscht from which to judge me. He raised a single imperious, upper-middle-class, American eyebrow and told me that everyone in his family except his wife and parents were born in Germany or Austria; that he had tasted ten versions of German borscht and come up with an additional five; that he had the American right to say whatever he wanted (and the American inclination to use as many z’s as possible in a single word); and that he was a borscht connoisseur.
He marched to the door, opened it, triumphantly announced, “Zenzizenzizenzic!,” and stalked away.
I retreated to the kitchen and, furtively, added more vinegar. (The borscht was already masterful, but the extra vinegar made it glorious.)
Again, forgive the very tired writer.
“Zenzizenzizenzic” is an obsolete mathematical term meaning a number to the eighth power (originally defined as representing “the square of squares squaredly” according to Wikipedia); it now exists merely as the English word with the most z’s. It is also incredibly fun to say.