article with food

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VicNicSor

Banned
Russian
Two cops are on a stakeout, one brings a parcel with food:
-- I got the cold quail with pesto and cubed goat's cheese. It's marinated in a little olive oil and thyme, and.... Well, I picked up the wild rice with the French morel mushrooms on a bed of radicchio lettuce, and there's a little Dijon dressing on the side. I got that for you.
Who's That Girl, movie

Explain please why he uses the definite article with some of the names of food he is listing.
Thanks.
 
  • JulianStuart

    Senior Member
    English (UK then US)
    It's a common way of describing specific dishes on a menu.
    Waiter: What would you like for your entree?
    Customer: I'll have the cold quail with pesto please.
     

    JamesM

    Senior Member
    I suppose it's because it is a menu item option, VicNicSor. (I didn't realize until just recently that I was constantly misspelling your name as VicNicSoir. I apologize.)

    We don't get to order anything that comes to mind in most restaurants, so we are picking the menu option that appeals to us the most.
     

    VicNicSor

    Banned
    Russian
    One question: since they are now on the street, having a meal by their car, (not in a restaurant looking at the menu), would it be possible to omit those definite article there?

    ------
    Nothing to apologize for, James -- I did change my nickname recently (VikNikSor --> VicNicSor):oops:
     

    JamesM

    Senior Member
    I still think we would use the definite article here. One cop is explaining to the other cop the specific menu options he chose. (It sounds pretty funny. The dishes are very upscale choices compared to typical cop's meals on a stakeout (usually fast food).)
     

    srk

    Senior Member
    English - US
    Yes, it was supposed to be funny
    I think there's humor in using "the" with "cold quail with pesto" too. It reduces this exotic dish to something quite ordinary: "But it says 'ketchup.' Leave off the ketchup. And I'll have the salad with the Ranch dressing."

    It reminds me of another thread you started, asking about "your AK-47." "Your" also reduces extraordinary things to ordinary ones. "Ah yes, my AK-47."

    "The" and "your" both work for menus. "I'll have your cold quail with pesto." "Your" works more generally.

    "Is that dangerous?'
    "It's like your hydrogen bomb."
     
    Last edited:

    Glasguensis

    Signal Modulation
    English - Scotland
    To answer your specific question, yes, it would be possible to omit the article, but it is more idiomatic to use it.
     
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