Tuesday, 15 March 2011

A rose by any other name would smell as sweet....

I'm sure that Shakespeare was correct when he wrote this remark.  After all, a child who doesn't know the name of plants will stand still in a garden to sniff them appreciatively, won't they?

But, as a vegan, when it comes to naming colours, I sometimes want to rebel.

Take the orangey-pink colour, for instance.  I was brought up, in a meat eating family, to know it as salmon pink.  But look at photos of a salmon on the internett  ... is it pink?  No, of course it's not.

It only becomes that pinky-orange colour once it's been killed and cooked.  So, I have a problem with using the term "salmon pink", because it's defined by the cooking of a dead creature.

The same goes for "lobster pink" - before it's boiled, the lobster is a grey blue colour.  Just like prawns and crayfish, and scampi.

And howabout reds?  How do you name "ox blood", pretty disgusting, or carmine?  I just don't want to call a colour by the name of a dyestuff made from crushed insects.

Flesh is another colour I have trouble with.  If I move on from the connotations of flesh reminding me of meat, whose flesh are we describing?  Mine, as the person who's speaking?  In which case pretty pinkish.  Or my friend from China, whose skin tone is lightly tanned.  Or another friend from India, whose skintone is decidedly brown.  Or a girl I went to school with?  Her mother was from the Caribbean, and her skin was a burnished black.

You see the problem, I'm sure.

So ... how do you describe colours, or doesn't it worry you?


  1. Seems people are not commenting but I found the word flesh interesting. I think of it as an art colour. Never thought of it in food. Strange but maybe my cultural background and my present location have something to do with my choice of words. English is my second language, French my third. My native tongue I rarely use now.

  2. Kleinstemotte,
    Funny, isn't it? I remember the German for meat as being Fleisch ie flesh, and there's the bit in Good King Wenceslas where he says "bring me flesh and bring me wine", which I remember disconcerting me when I was a child and I asked my mother what it meant!


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