Names hiding in the kitchen

Little cookOne of my guilty pleasure is to watch culinary programs or reality TV like Master Chef, Top Chef, Cake Boss (with Buddy Valastro) or Bizarre Foods with Andrew Zimmern and No Reservations with Anthony Bourdain or chefs cooking like Gordon Ramsay and Jamie Oliver.

Although the cooks themselves (plus their children) and the contestants can provide a fair share of name possibilities, the ingredients are the ones that piqued my interest! I found out that a handful of baby names are hiding in the pantry, the fridge and the fruit bowl! Here are the names that inspired me in the kitchen:

Spices and herbs:

  • Saffron: Saffron is a beautiful “new” name, it fits the criteria of a baby born today perfectly: it’s fit for a girl without ending in -a and being frilly and it’s unexpected. No Doubt’s Tony Kanal was bold enough to use it for his daughter Saffron Rose Kiran (b.2013), he has another daughter named Coco Reese Lakshmi (b.2011). Both names are awesomely daring, Indian-honoring, and (probably unintentionnally) food-related: Saffron, Coco(nut) and even Reese’s chocolates!
  • Rosemary/Rosemarie: Rosemarie can be considered as a variation of Rosemary and vice-versa but the Rosemary’s meaning is “dew of the sea” and the actual plant’s only spelling. It’s a combination of two timeless names, Rose and Mary and it’s really sweet.
  • Basil: Like Basil(e) for a boy, Rihanna and Tulsi (Hindi) mean basil, a holy plant in the Hindu religion.
  • Laurel: Daphne, Stephanie and Kayla are meaning-related to Laurel which means, you guessed it, laurel.
  • Ginger: Jinger Duggar (with a “J” of course) is Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar’s sixth child (out of 19). It was usually borne by red-headed girls but it’s not a necessity!
Baby dressed in a Paisley dress

Baby dressed in a Paisley dress

  • Parsley: Parsley is maybe a bit much but sister-in-sound Paisley is really catching up with parents. Paisley is also a pattern (popular in the ’70s but making a comeback in fashion) that originated in the Scottish town of Paisley.
  • Sage: Sage is a versatile name, simultaneously a herb and a virtue that can be used for boys as well as for girls. Blogger Rebecca Woolf (at girlsgonechild) has a son named Archer Sage and Pink’s daughter is named the peaceful combo Willow Sage.
  • Cinnamon or Cassia/Cassiane: The names smell like Fall and Christmas and are super sweet. Cassia is Emily Browning character’s name in the movie Pompeii.
  • Pepper // Piper: Drew Barrymore actually considered this to follow her “kitchen theme” after naming her first daughter Olive. Her second daughter ended up as Frankie. Piper Chapman is a character on Netflix’s hit-show Orange is the New Black.
  • Pepper brings me to Cayenne, similar in sound to Cheyenne. I really like the letter combination (really feminine) and sound.
  • Anise (// star anise): It’s an unexpected twist on more classic Annie and, for instance, Denise (a nice way to honor both grandmas).
  • Minta and Araminta could be nods to mint. Nameberry defines Araminta as part Arabella, part Aminta.
  • Meg (nutmeg): Meg can be a nickname for Megan(e) (or even mythological Megara, seen in Hercules) a popular name but three-letters Meg could also stand on its own.
  • Bay/Bailey/Bayleigh: The names remind me of bay leaves but the meaning is actually “bailiff”, an occupational name describing a legal officer. The nickname Bay is adorable and Bailey could play with friends named Hailey and Brianna anytime!
  • Clove: Clove and Clover are perfectly wearable. Clove reminds me of Clyde and Grover and Clover is botanical perfection (and a bit of Totally Spies!, a French and Canadian animated series in which one of the main 3 characters is Clover).
  • Cane (sugar cane): I think Kane is more heard of but Cane is a pretty alternative. Kim Zolciak has twins Kane and Kaia.

Fruit and Veggies :

  • Berry: Berry is short and different. It’s Rachel Berry’s (from the tv-show Glee) last name.
  • Clementine: It’s one of my favorite food/word names because of its romantic -ine ending and the fact that it can be related to Clémence, a virtue name meaning “merciful”.
  • Cerise: Cerise is a French version of Cherry, it’s not on the top of the charts in France but it’s definitely not unheard of either.
  • Coco: Coco can stand on its own (No Doubt’s Tony Kanal and Courteney Cox & David Arquette have chosen it for their daughters) or can be a shortcut to a range of names like Colette, Cora/Coralie/Coraline, Nicole (and many more).
  • Plum/Prune: Plum and French Prune are a shade of purple and come across as sultry as well as elegant and exotic as a given name.
  • Lemon: Lemon is the name of a character in the CW’s tv-show Hart of Dixie. She’s often nickamed Lemonade (cute!) and her sister is Magnolia.
  • Quince: Quince is an applelike fruit (you can make marmalade out of it). Quinn and Quincy are pretty popular nowadays so Quince isn’t that much of a stretch.
  • Olive: An alternative to Olivia (a top 5 name in the U.S.), Olive feels neat and retro. Drew Barrymore’s daughter is Olive Barrymore and Sacha Baron Cohen & Isla Fisher’s oldest daughter is Olive, too.
  • Kale: Kale is a sort of cabbage that is currently praised by healthy eating aficionados. It’s “badass”, begins with a -K (without having been transformed from an “original” -C) and goes along the lines of names like Kai and Gale(n).
  • Lettice/Laetitia/Leticia : Lettice (and variants) has a undeniable sound similarity with lettuce. Lettice Rowbotham (violonist) was a finalist on Britain’s Got Talent in 2014.
  • Nori: Nori is a super cute Japanese word meaning “seaweed”. Kim Kardashian-West’s daughter North is nicknamed Northy or Nori.
  • Hazel: Hazel and Hazelle are too cute! Hazel is not a word that screams “girl” from the get-go but I really get the appeal of the -H beginning (like Harper) and the sass from the -Z. John Krasinski and Emily Blunt welcomed daughter Hazel in 2014 while Julia Roberts’ very own Hazel Patricia was already born 10 years before (and her name wasn’t as warmly welcomed back then…). I encountered the “Hazelle” spelling in Suzanne Collins’ Hunger Games series, she’s Gale’s mom.
  • Amandine: Amandine has ties with the word “almond”. It’s French and romantic.

Miscellaneous (brands, desserts, etc.):

  • Madeleine: The madeleine is a cookie. A metaphor is the “madeleine de Proust”, a minor event (or a smell, a sensation) that brings back memories. The phrase is a reference to French author Marcel Proust, he wrote in A la recherche du temps perdu about the time his mom made him some tea and madeleines. The moment he ate a cookie, it made him reminisce of his childhood at his aunt where he, too, ate madeleines with tea. Madeline, Magdalena and Madalena are other possible spellings.
  • Maple (syrup): Maple is a sister to southern Mabel. I love the name and its nature connection. It could be a sweet nod to someone with Canadian roots!
  • Honey: Often a pet name (or nickname), it can definitely stand as a first name. Jessica Alba portrayed Honey Daniels in the dance movie, Honey.
  • Graham (crackers): Graham or Graeme (the Irish spelling) are nice names that are fit for a baby boy and a grown man. Graham, Kieran and Kyle are established Irish names used by U.S. parents.
  • Reese (chocolates): Thanks to Reese Witherspoon, this “brand” name has gained a lot of visibility. It suits girls and boys equally!
  • Alfredo (pasta) and Margherita/Margarita (pizza): Why not? In fact, they were names before they were associated with a meal! The names are, of course, Italian: the pizza was named Margarita after Queen Margherita of Savoy who went to Naples with her husband, King Umberto I, a pizza man created a pizza with the colors of the Italian flag (red, white and green – tomato, mozzarella and basil) in her honor. The Fettucine Alfredo (made with butter and Parmesan) orginated from a man named Alfredo di Lelio who cooked this dish to help his pregnant wife with her nausea. Owner of a restaurant in Rome, he then added his recipe to the menu. Americans loved it and exported his creation to the U.S. making Fettucine Alfredo a global phenomenon. 

There are plenty of other great options like Chai (tea), Caesar and Cobb (salad), Wellington (beef), Ambrosia, Dulce, Charlotte and Suzette (desserts), Julienne, Lilikoi (passion fruit from South America), Vanille/Vanilla, and Melba.

Inspiration is everywhere, even in the kitchen, so if you like it, go for it!

I hope you enjoyed my article.