Why Does the Dallas Morning News So Frequently Describe Food As “Swarthy”?

What does “swarthy” taste like? Ask the DMN’s dining critic.

Bill Addison has done a fine job since taking over as dining critic at the Dallas Morning News in February 2007. Sure, his revamped and slightly confusing star system ruffled a few chef’s whites. But he hasn’t been afraid to take an unpopular stand on occasion, and for that, we applaud his efforts. That said, if you were looking for a chink in Addison’s armor, one of the commenters on our SideDish food blog (sidedish.dmagazine.com) has found it. During a discussion of Screen Door on August 22, Billusa99 pointed out that the reason Addison had given the restaurant three stars is “because of the ‘… swarthy smoked apple butter … .’ Bill adores swarthy.”

Billusa99 provided plenty of evidence from Addison’s archives to back up his claim that “swarthy is what [Addison] does best.”

› “the swarthy grilled baby goat and intriguing sweetbread fajitas” (El Ranchito, December 6, 2007)
› “spicy moat of crawfish chowder and swarthy chunks of applewood-smoked bacon”
   (Lonesome Dove, August 10, 2007)
› “while another beckons with a swarthy sense of romance” (Pappas Bros. Steakhouse, June 1, 2007)
› “learned how to craft a swarthy lamb gyro” (Kavala, May 11, 2007)
› “a swarthy bowl of molten eggplant” (Shandiz Mediterranean Grill, September 28, 2007)
› “buoyant spaghetti in a swarthy Bolognese” (Villa-O, April 25, 2008)
› “stuffed with swarthy oxtail” (The Mansion, February 15, 2008)
› “sweet-but-swarthy lobster-corn chowder” (Dallas Fish Market, October 19, 2007)

He also included an excerpt from Addison’s review of Afghan Grill (“assorted salads, swarthy stews”), but it’s been taken off the GuideLive site since Afghan closed.

Intrigued by Billusa99’s research (read: simple Google search), we investigated further. Sure enough, Addison’s favorite word popped up frequently at his previous stops at Creative Loafing in Atlanta (“mashed green plantains and swarthy goat stew”) and the San Francisco Chronicle (“hamburger with a swarthy kick”). We’re not sure where Addison’s swarthy fascination comes from. We’re not sure we want to. But here’s a tip for him: anytime you’re tempted to call something swarthy, substitute the word “Smurfy” and see how that sounds.


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