Thursday, January 19, 2012

Enough with Redundancy. And While We're At It, with Redundancy as Well.

Words can be funny.

As someone who makes his living utilizing words, I am continually amazed at how much I have yet to learn.

For instance: During my live shows I've always made it a point to present myself with an air of humility and humor. I would be quick to point this quality out to an audience by telling them that I was "self-deprecating."

Unfortunately, for years I used  the words "self-defecating."

That is, until a good friend pointed out that what I was actually telling people was that I was really good at soiling myself.

I'm glad she had the courage to tell me. I just wish she hadn't waited three years (and who knows how many umpteen demos) before doing so. No wonder I got so many laughs.

So, yes. Words can be funny. And those of us who misuse them can often be funnier.

In many of my cooking demos, I feature Shrimp Scampi as one of the entrees. At a performance north of Tampa a few years ago, a little old lady in the front row asked me if I knew what the word "scampi" meant.

Well, being a professional speaker/chef and not knowing the answer, I did what most professional speakers/chefs do.

I lied.

"Yes," I said authoritatively. "It's when you sauté shrimp in some garlic and olive oil or butter until it is temptingly delicious."

Then I took a step back and basked in my ability to dodge yet another stray bullet fired from the audience. But she was not impressed, because she frowned, shook her head, and said, "Nope."

"Oh?" I said.

She smiled and said, "Scampi is the plural for the Italian word, scampo."

"Which means?" I said, feeling a bit uneasy.

Her smile broadened. "Scampo is the Italian word for...shrimp."

As the laughter in the audience died down, I said, "Really?"

"Yes," she replied. "Although technically it refers to the crustacean that we catch in the Meditaranean to make this dish. But it is very close to your large shrimp here in America."

"So what you're telling me is that Shrimp Scampi is actually Shrimp Shrimp?"

She smiled and nodded. "It's a lot like your "Pizza Pie" here in America. You see, "pizza" in Italian means..."

"Don't tell me," I said. "Pie..."

"Yup. Pizza pie is actually pie pie."

After the laughter died down, I continued with my show but I will never forget the laughter in her eyes.

I still enjoy making Shrimp Shrimp as well as Pie Pie. I've just learned to spare a few words in the process.

And here's a great recipe for shrimp and pizza. In fact it is so good, you just may want to say it twice.

Bon appetit!


Prep Time: 10 minutes     Cook Time: 25 minutes


3/4 pound large shrimp, peeled and de-veined
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 medium red or sweet onion, sliced thin
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
3 cloves garlic, crushed
1/2 cup grated mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup grated Fontina cheese (or mild Swiss)
1 cup cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
2 tablespoons crumbled goat or feta cheese (optional)
1 tablespoon grated Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
1 9" - 10" prepared pizza crust (i.e. Boboli or Pillsbury)


1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

2. Heat olive oil in a 10-inch skillet over medium heat. Add onions and sauté until soft and translucent, about 8 minutes. Add the oregano and garlic and sauté for 2 minutes. Add shrimp and sauté until they just turn pink, about 3 - 5 minutes.

3. Brush pizza with olive oil. Spread shrimp/onion mixture evenly over the pizza and sprinkle with the mozzarella and Fontina cheese. Add the tomatoes and sprinkle with the goat cheese and Parmesan. Drizzle olive oil over all and sprinkle with parsley.

4. Bake for 8 - 10 minutes until crust is brown and cheese is melted.

Serve with a nice Chianti Chianti.


  1. Loved your post. For years I said 'rigamarow" until finally my husband (when we were first dating) told me gently that it was "rigamarole". And I cannot wait to try this pizza! Hubby doesn't love shrimp much though, think scallops would do?

  2. @The Cook Crook. "Rigamarow"? Love it! LOL! And sure, scallops would work. If you use the large sea scallops, you may want to cut them in half. Oh...and make extra...I just might be in the area. :-D

  3. @Kristen Winkie. It is! (And thanks for stopping by!)

  4. @Just for Cooking. Thanks, as always, Mary Kay. Love it when you drop by. PS, just started following Just for Cooking on Facebook. :-)

  5. Great story! the recipe looks wonderful,I love feta.

  6. @Deb. I appreciate that! (Oh, and I also appreciate the rice recipes you've posted on your blog of late!)

  7. LOL! Love it. This dish looks delicious delicious.

  8. @Amanda at the red table. Thanks for dropping by. It is a delish pizza and is open to various interpretations (I sometimes add sauteed red peppers if I have them on hand.) Oh...and I thought your quinoa dish sounded awesome! :-)

  9. What a great post! I love words, too, and this post really struck a cord with me. My favorite redundant phrase is "old antique". If it's antique, it's old.

    Your Shrimp Shrimp Pie Pie looks like winner!

  10. @Jackie@Syrup and Biscuits. Thanks for the kind words...and I had to laff at "old antique". There's probably a lot more of those types of redundancies that crop up in my conversations on a daily, day by day basis...oops... :-D

  11. I'm not a big commenter on blogs, but I just had to say that this post made me laugh out loud, like, guffaw-style. Thanks. :) Oh, and yum! I've never had seafood on pizza before, but this looks killer.

  12. @Amanda:Grace & Gusto. Well, I'm certainly glad to see you again and that one of my posts drew some laughter, Amanda. And btw, the pizza *is* good - and it's also a great one to tweak by adding sauteed peppers and/or 'shrooms, different cheeses, sauteed scallops...have at it!

  13. ROFLMAO!!!!!!!!! What a great way to start the year ... clear the cobwebs out of my guts with a good laugh!

    1. @ping. Hey, Ping! Happy New Year! Good to see you again and am glad that this post brought a good laff!

  14. @ping. Hey, Ping! Happy New Year! Good to see you again and am glad that this post brought a good laff!

  15. Amusing as usual! Having been an English teacher in another life & a homeschooling mum of 4 kids now, I can really appreciate this! Wish I'd been there to see the old lady or your face for that matter! xx

    1. @LinsFood. Thanks, Lin! Greetings from across the pond, :-) (And here's hoping Constant Cravings is a smashing success!)

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  18. I always enjoy your posts, and by the way, I live on "el paseo street." Guess what that means? You've got it! The street street.

  19. Happy New Year! Or should I say Xinian kwai le (or something like that - I'm trying to learn a bit of Mandarin :o)) Ah yes, where was I? BB (my hubby) used a phrase 'I can't be asked ..' which you reply when you can't be bothered to do something.. However, I have always heard it as 'I can't be arsed' ... to do something.. So, imagine what happened when I thought our ten year old baby girl said 'I can't be arsed..' When I looked it up it turns out that Northern Englanders (where I am originally from) say I can't be arsed, and woosy Southerners (where my hubby is from) say 'asked'. Funny huh ? I love the nuances of language.

    1. @Kooky Girl Blog. Mandarin? Oh my, I'm impressed! And I was so tickled by your daughter's "I can't be arsed", lol! Oh, the joy of nuances! I remember our oldest daughter pronouncing 'ice cream' as 'ass cream' when she was little. It sure conjured some weird looks from other shoppers at the grocery store when she would shout with joy: "Oh goodie, mama! You bought me some more ass cream! I love ass cream!" :-D

  20. You are a hoot! Interestingly, the Greek word for "hoot"--- just kidding. Your story reminded me of an ex-Indian co-worker (that is to say, ex-coworker, not ex-Indian)whose blood would boil every time she would hear "Naan bread". "You are saying bread bread, people! HELLO!" It just made me smile. I could go for some bread bread along with your shrimp shrimp!

    1. @kale. Thanks for stopping by! I'm glad the post brought an afternoon smile. I'm also glad that I found you and your blog thru Foodbuzz - love the winsome writing! Anyway, I try to post weekly so please feed free to drop by often often. :-D

  21. OK, first, not to be redundant or repetitive, but, great post!
    Second: my favorite food faux pas is when people call the juice that comes with roast beef the "au jus". As in, "Pass the au jus". Because au literally means "with". So, they're saying "Pass the with juice".

    This makes me laugh. And cringe.

    1. @Susan in the Boonies. Thanks, Susan! And I don't know how many time I've also heard "pass the au juice" (or do you have any "au juice") but it never hit me. Now I'll have reason to laff to myself the next time I hear it!

  22. Hi! Thanks for following my blog! Of course I had to check out your blog, and I totally agree with you saying "words can be funny" but especially your words are funny:-) Thanks for sharing!

    1. @Me and My Sweets. You're welcome, Johanna! And thanks for dropping by here (Don't be a stranger!)