The Associated Press Stylebook announced this week its updates for 2014, which include adding a number of new food terms, such as aioli, Buffalo wings, caipirinha, demi-glace, kamut, mixologist, vegan and vegetarian.
You’d have thought vegetarian would have achieved mainstream acceptance before now, but in fact it wasn’t until this week that AP added the entries on vegan and vegetarian. While the AP Stylebook determines what many news organizations use in their reporting, it often can seem behind the times. Along with finally acknowledging vegan, it also added entries on selfie and Snapchat–though it continues to insist on capitalizing Internet.
Last year, the AP Stylebook added entries on Grand Marnier, upside-down cake and madeleine.
The most recent changes were announced at the American Copy Editors Society conference during the Ask the AP Stylebook Editors session. Reportedly, some of the additions and changes (emoji!) were met with audible gasps. Most notably, people are up in arms over permission to now use “over” (instead of just “more than”) in reference to a numerical value.
While the AP Stylebook updates each year, it was in 2011 that AP added a specific food section to its stylebook in recognition of the growing importance that food is playing in the media. That section consolidated existing food and wine terms, as well as added new entries. The food section also includes an official recipe section and answers style questions about the kitchen. Some of the explanations and definitions at times can be entertaining: “locavore — The preferred term for a person who strives to eat locally produced foods.”
The reason AP Stylebook changes matter to those outside the insular world of copyeditors is because how AP goes so too goes society. When the Associated Press announced it would no longer use the term “illegal immigrant”–ruling that only actions can be illegal, not people–The New York Times shortly followed suit. Will how we refer to immigrants without proper paperwork change how we perceive them? Perhaps, in the long arc of history.
In that same way, the fact the vegans and vegetarians are finally getting their own definitions in the AP Stylebook suggests that they have become very nearly mainstream. It may not have much effect on how people who choose not to eat meat are perceived, but at least it will spread the word about their decisions.
And, evidently, Buffalo wings finally needed someone to explain if they’re really made of Buffalo.
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