As someone who writes often, and often about food, there are certain words I choose to use, and words I try to dodge.
And the word I tend to most avoid is moist.
Personally, I think it’s a useful word—what other adjective best describes biscuits or cake?—but I know that it leaves some of you, if not most of you, feeling squicky.
So how did this fairly innocuous word become one that can so easily turn stomachs? I ask, because I don’t know. But I wanna know.
Is it cultural? Maybe, but It seems, at least to me, generational. For some reason, if the word’s gonna crinkle noses, most of those noses seem to be on the faces of Gen Ys and Millennials.
I have my guesses as to why this is, but it seems as like this word has been unfairly maligned, kind of the way clowns have.
I can’t recall anyone I knew who was afraid of clowns until, maybe, the 1990s. Personally, I’ve always liked clowns. I think they’re neat. Still, I get why clowns can be scary.
A few years ago, I interviewed a handful of clowns and asked them why they thought people feared them.
None of them mentioned John Wayne Gacy—a monster who truly was scary. Rather, all of them cited Tim Curry’s turn as Pennywise in the television adaptation of Stephen King’s It.
Thing is, none of them blamed Curry, or King, or even TV. So who was to blame for scaring the pants of a generation of children? My clowns—every single one of them—blamed the parents who let their little ones watch it.
But to whom shall we assign blame for essentially outlawing the word moist? It’s troubling, because there isn’t a single word that does what it does, as well as it does. Who wants to eat a damp, soggy cake, after all? Or a clammy biscuit?
No one, that’s who.
But what if we suffix the word? Is moisture okay? How about moisturize? What about moisturizer?
What about moist towelettes? Are they okay? If not, are Wet-Naps® really any better?
Sound off below and tell me how you feel about the word moist, and why you feel the way you do, because, really, I wanna know.