Eat Your Words: Sibilance and Poach

Sibilance (noun): in writing, the effect created when sibilant sounds—the hissing noises created by “s,” “z,” “sh,” and even a soft “c”—are repeated.

Example: 50 Shades of Grey characters Anastasia Steele and Christian Grey have decently sibilant names themselves, but to give you a better idea of what we’re talking about, here’s a safe for work excerpt from the bestselling novel.

“I couldn’t agree more, Miss Steele,” he replies, his voice soft, and for some inexplicable reason I find myself blushing.

Apart from the paintings, the rest of the office is cold, clean, and clinical. I wonder if it reflects the personality of the Adonis who sinks gracefully into one of the white leather chairs opposite me. I shake my head, disturbed at the direction of my thoughts, and retrieve Kate’s questions from my backpack. Next, I set up the digital recorder and am all fingers and thumbs, dropping it twice on the coffee table in front of me. Mr. Grey says nothing, waiting patiently—I hope—as I become increasingly embarrassed and flustered. When I pluck up the courage to look at him, he’s watching me, one hand relaxed in his lap and the other cupping his chin and trailing his long index finger across his lips. I think he’s trying to suppress a smile.

Poach (verb): to cook a food item—frequently eggs or fruit—in a liquid such as water, milk, or broth kept just below the boiling point.

Example: In her sensuous sundae inspired by 50 Shades of Grey, Katie Halpern poaches pears in a sweet and sumptuous concoction comprised of raspberries, orange juice and cranberry juice (above). Slow-cooking the fruit in this thick sauce results in soft flesh, completely infused with flavor, which melts in your mouth.