the 90th minute

Until September 2007, when my oldest daughter was born, this blog covered daily life and politics in Israel, as well as Hebrew-English linguistic issues, from the perspective of an American-raised journalist and translator living in Israel. Now it mostly serves as the SmunchMonk&Bear news agency, a portal into the bizarre universe of the little people. Read more at:

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Faffing is moreish

Sometimes, being an American transplanted to Israel can generate a real culture swap - but not always from the expected sources.

I was just eating a bowl of really yummy Israeli cereal called Kinamonim, which is basically whole wheat squares covered in cinnamon and is much tastier (and probably healthier, though I haven't checked) than the American Cinnamon Toast Crunch, and thought, "Wow, this stuff is really moreish."

And then I thought back to my unenlightened days as a blissfully ignorant American in America, when - I can hardly believe it - I didn't have such a key word in my vocabulary. As you've probably already guessed, "moreish" (as in "more-ish") is what you say about a food that makes you want more of it - at least if you're British. It's kind of like the "you can't eat just one" potato chip slogan, condensed into a single versatile word - without the negative associations and just plain unoriginality of the American English equivalent, "addictive."

Another indispensable word I learned from my British former roommate that we both found ourselves using to describe our activities at pretty much any given moment is "faffing" - to "dither, futz, diddle, potter about uselessly," as this site has it. Faffing (also "faffing about," in British, which translates into "faffing around" in American) seems to be the British cousin of "futzing around," at least the way my father always used the phrase - as in, and I quote, "Stop futzing around already and get in the car!" It's also related to procrastination (a particular talent of mine), but without even requiring a task just calling out to be put off.

The thing is, even though I found "futzing" and "futzing around" on Urban Dictionary and listed as slang on other dictionary sites, the only person I can remember hearing use the word is my father, which signals that at least in my circles, it wasn't exactly popular slang. Also, I was frankly never actually sure it was a real word, especially since its Yiddish sound (though the actual derivation appears to be a bit murky - see this and this for two possibilities) seemed a bit weird coming from my Sephardi father, for whom Yiddish words and American slang are not really high on the vocabulary list.

Faffing, on the other hand, appears to be quite a popular activity among the British, making me feel at last that I am not alone.

Go here to read the recipe, which I haven't tried, for the moreish-looking cookies pictured above.



Blogger Miriam said...

Hi Shoshana! Kinamonim is my husband's favorite cereal too! Nice blog, btw!

June 26, 2007  
Blogger Shoshana Kordova said...

Thanks Miriam! It is a darn good cereal!

June 26, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i'm totally hooked on those cereals. I'd like to have them imported, but except the name kinamonim, chich btw on the web is totally unexistant, I havn't found any information.
Who's producing them? strauss, elite, osem, ... please help me. thx

December 01, 2007  
Blogger Shoshana Kordova said...

I wasn't sure, so I Googled it in Hebrew, and it appears to be manufactured by Telma. Good luck with the import plans.

December 03, 2007  

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