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Do the salad

Discussion in 'English Only' started by Treborski, Jan 11, 2013.

  1. Treborski New Member

    English - United States
    I am interested in the use of the word " do " when ordering food.
    I have heard, " I'll do the salad " or I'll " do" the steak as opposed to " I'll have the salad " or " I'd like the salad ".
    No big deal, I'm just curious.
  2. JustKate

    JustKate Moderate Mod

    I hear that too. Not sure I actually do it myself, but I wouldn't be terribly surprised.

    I probably wouldn't actually order food this way. I'd be far more likely to use do instead of have when having a discussion before ordering, e.g., "What are you guys going to have? I think I might just do a salad."

    Oh, and welcome to the forum!
  3. Hau Ruck

    Hau Ruck Senior Member

    United States - Midwest
    English - U.S.
    I agree that either is fine in terms of ordering food.

    Another time that you might see "do the salad" would be in regards to preparing it.
    For example:
    "Let's start making dinner; you do the salad and I'll do the steaks."

    << Well-intentioned comment, but off-topic. :) >>
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 12, 2013
  4. Parla Member Emeritus

    New York City
    English - US
    I've heard this usage (and would use it myself) only in the sense of preparing something, mentioned by Filsmith. It would seem odd to me if used to order in a restaurant.
  5. dadane Senior Member

    New Zealand
    English (London/Essex)
    I think this is more common in American English (statement based on TV/films only!). I would advise against using it elsewhere unless used in the sense described by Filsmith above.
  6. Cagey post mod (English Only / Latin)

    English - US
    Here is an example from "Restaurant T.I.P.S" an article published in the Orange Coast Magazine* of Aug 1985.
    The setting is a restaurant. After the waiter has answered a customer's detailed questions about how the food is prepared, the customer says, "I'll just have a garden salad. What's in it?"

    After the waiter has recited the list of ingredients she says, "Fine. I'll do the salad with no romaine lettuce: I'm allergic."

    The woman is the author's example of the sort of customer you do not want to be. Her 'I'll do the salad' is one way the author indicates her pretentious and demanding character.

    *Published in Orange County in Southern California.

    Here is another example, this time from a UK forum. (This source is much less formal than the published article quoted above.) A woman has asked for advice on what sort of restaurant to go to and what to order. Another poster <has> advised that she eat Indian food:
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2013
  7. dadane Senior Member

    New Zealand
    English (London/Essex)
    The joys of Estuary (you're making me homesick)! I would suggest in this case that's an adoption from AE.
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 12, 2013
  8. Copyright

    Copyright Senior Member

    American English
    You can suggest, but I don't see any basis for that suggestion. There's nothing else in that quotation that suggests Americana -- "def an Indian"? Oh, def not American talk. :)
  9. sound shift

    sound shift Senior Member

    Derby (central England)
    English - England
    I've never heard it. In the usage that I'm familiar with, "I'll do the salad" means "I'll prepare the salad."
  10. Wordsmyth

    Wordsmyth Senior Member

    Location: Mostly SW France
    Native language: English (BrE)
    Well, certainly no hard proof, but perhaps a tenuous basis: Treborski, Kate and Filsmith (all AE) say they' ve heard it used. Sound shift (BE) has never heard it; dadane (BE) seems to know it only from American TV/films; and I (essentially BE) have never heard it used in the UK, but have come across it in the US.

    Only a small sample, I admit, but it tends to point to the usage being more common in the US — and since colloquialisms cross the pond very easily these days, I'd say it's fair to suggest that the only example quoted of UK usage (well, sort of!;)) is an 'adoption'.

    Also, unlike on WR, members of the iVillage forum don't show their native language or origin, so we can't even be sure that the poster is native BE. As for the "def", I'm not convinced it represents spoken language (unless dadane can confirm it's really Estuary): it could well be an internet/text abbreviation, judging by the rest of that thread.

    It would be interesting to know if anyone has first-hand knowledge of non-N.American usage of "doing food" to mean eating food.


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