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Plurals at the Food Cart

Almost every day I eat at the same Thai food cart a few blocks from the English, baby! office in downtown Portland. It’s called Thai Basil and they know me now and give me free spring rolls and tea.

As I wait for my food to be prepared, I often find myself staring at the menu between spacing out and sending text messages. The specials change daily on a white board next to the window, and for this reason, I always come back to the office with a black smudge on my forefinger.

I never realized how tricky it would be to figure out what foods you pluralize on a menu in English. But every day I erase the ‘s’ on words like “pumpkins,” “brocolis,” and “shrimps.”

I’d mention it to the very nice woman who runs the cart (or her foxy granddaughter, but that’s another story), but I can’t figure out what the rule is for things like this. It seems arbitrary. I mean, “brocolis” is never correct, but “pumpkins” is a word if you’re talking about multiple pumpkins, but I seriously doubt there’s more than one pumpkin in their pumpkin curry. Then again, there probably isn’t more than a whole bell pepper in it either, but it is proper to say that a dish has “bell peppers” and not “bell pepper.”

If anyone can make any sense of out this and tell me what the rule is, I will relay it to Thai Basil.

Photos: Taken on my cell phone today, post erasure.

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One Response to “Plurals at the Food Cart”

  1. Plurals at the Food Cart | 30 Minute Meal Ideas Says:

    […] Alanna Kaufman wrote an interesting post today onHere’s a quick excerptAlmost every day I eat at the same Thai food cart a few blocks from the English, baby! office in downtown Portland. It’s called Thai Basil and they know me now and give me free spring rolls and tea. As I wait for my food to be prepared, … […]

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