When I was a child I had a discussion with my father about the difference between the words Eatable and Edible. I only knew the word Edible, and I must have made a negative comment along the lines of ‘this is not edible’, about my mothers cooking I imagine. What an awful child I was! However I remember only the discussion with my father, he speaking to me in a serious tone, but not shouting or angry. It was his way – a teaching instead of a punishment for bad behavior. He said something like this to me:
‘That is not quite correct Colette! This food is perfectly edible – there is no chance it will poison you. Absolutely no harm will come to you from eating it, so it is certainly edible. Perhaps though, you think that it is not eatable. That’s the correct word you are looking for.’
I know a debate followed, my side fueled by a stubborn childish reaction, and his response – leaving me with something to think about – or chew on.
So I must have not enjoyed the taste or texture of my mothers meal of that particular evening (sorry Mom!) and I called it ‘inedible’ but my dad decided to quell my rudeness by giving me an English lesson. I should have said: I find this uneatable (or unpalatable), because I do not like the texture or flavor! Or I should have just been a grateful child and eaten what was on my plate in appreciative silence… ha ha. But that did not happen, and I felt the quiet sting of my fathers teaching all the same. His words were clearly as effective as a smack on the bottom.
Here is a nice description of the difference between these two words by Merriam Webster.
“Edible and eatable both refer to something that is “able to be eaten,” but edible is usually used to describe something that is safe to eat, without regard to taste, while eatable often describes something that has some level of acceptable flavor. Likewise, inedible often refers to something toxic or unsafe, while uneatable refers to food that tastes bad.”
Why am I bringing this up? This is a chocolate blog. Ah yes, it is to explain that all my ‘chocolate art’ work is both entirely edible and eatable. I promise that I will always strive to use the finest and purest quality ingredients and I will always make sure that every part of my creation (barring the base on which some of the pieces stand – some of these being wood or cardboard – completely inedible) is in no way toxic to a human, therefore each chocolate art work is completely edible. Furthermore, I will strive to make the experience of eating it pleasurable in texture and flavor, so that it may be labelled as ‘Eatable’ too. There you have it Dad – perhaps you are reading these words from above. I eventually understood the lesson – perhaps I was not such a rotten child after all. Dad was a gracious teacher – with an unconventional parenting style – and I appreciate now that my mother always gave me good healthy food – even if I did not always like its texture at the time with my fussy childish tongue. Their lessons are put into practice everyday of my adult life, understanding the difference between healthy and unhealthy and the difference between words like edible and eatable. Both subtle differences can change the shape of existence. Using such delicate teachings helps one make choices that are positive and advancing. Always choose healthy and always choose your words carefully.