Leeks and Synonyms

I bought my first thesaurus in high school, when I realized that actually a dictionary isn’t all you need to write well. They’ll probably help you read better and learn new words, but they won’t give you the synonym side options that make writing flavourful.

In grade ten, I wrote on my thesaurus: “i am greedy with words. they make me hungry. language is a delicacy. articulation is a spork and knife” Not only does this show my brilliant peak of geekdom, but to top it off, I thought I was pretty cool and innovative by using the word “spork”. (I was thinking about KFC when I chose that word – you know, the round utensil that functions as both a fork and a spoon to eat the chemistry-green coleslaw only found at KFC?)

I loved and love synonyms. And in searching for recipes using leeks, I came across a lot of onion recipes. Turns out the leeks are like onions – they’re like the flavour synonym for that eye-watering, nose-stinging vegetable. Though I’ve never eaten a raw leek to tell you whether the smell will haunt your pores like a traditional onion, leeks do become mellow and sweet when you stew them.

So that’s what I did. Stewed the leeks, more or less. A lot of the recipes I found for leeks were either creamy pies or casseroles – none of which appeal in the mid-end of July.

Pretending that leeks did in fact come from my herb + single zucchini garden, I flipped through the Gardening issue of Canadian Living to find a recipe for ginger green onion sauce – which, like my well-used thesaurus, I swapped for another ingredient.

Ginger Leek Sauce Adopted from Canadian Living

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 cup chopped leeks
  • 2 tbsp minced gingerroot
  • 1 tsp finely grated lemon rind
  • 1/4 tsp sugar
  • pinch of salt
  1. In a small skillet, heat oil over medium-low heat.
  2. Add leeks, ginger, lemon rind, sugar and salt and reduce heat to low and cook, stirring until leeks are softened, about 10 minutes.
  3. Serve as a side or refrigerate for up to 2 days.

The sauce works well with an omelette and your favourite kind of bagel. Lunch – done!

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5 Responses to “Leeks and Synonyms”

  1. This sauce sounds DELICIOUS! I must try it. I’ve not used leeks too often in cooking, and I always pass them at my local farmer’s market, but I never pick them up because I’m always thinking “what in the world am I going to do with those?” Thanks for this recipe.

    I actually found your blog while browsing around about synonyms. They’re a fascinating topic for me, and sounds like for you too! Have you heard of the The Thinker’s Thesaurus by Peter E. Meltzer? This link will actually take you to his daily blog where they give a word and then a very uncommon synonym and an excerpt from a recent periodical or other writing using it in context. It’s wonderful, especially for people who soak up words like us! I recommend the book too. It’s entertaining, has over 15,000 entries and and certainly stretches the brain. =)

    Ok, I’m gonna make this sauce soon. Thanks, and happy wording!

    • Hello Molly,

      Thanks for coming by! I’ve never heard of The Thinker’s Thesaurus, but admit to visiting the Oxford English dictionary website for words fo the day and other neat articles about new words and such. Come to think of it, I may have subscribed to their newsletter a few years ago.

      If you like books about words, have you read Eats, Shoots and Leaves by Lynne Truss? My linguistics prof introduced it to us a while back, and it’s a fun read.

      Hey, if you do get around to trying this sauce out, let me know how it goes! And for that matter, anything of late that’s interesting at your visits to the farmer’s market.

  2. Hello Saiyiu! I looked over the link you provided. Thank you for that. “Sometimes punctuation is only a matter of life and death.” =D I want to dig into it more when I’ve got some extra time to enjoy the read. I will definitely let you know how the sauce goes. We have a shopping trip planned in the next couple of days. The best find lately at the farmer’s market was the gigantic artichokes with stems that were 8″ long. They were so delicious. =)

  3. Hi Molly,

    I’ve only tried artichokes on pizza. On its stem, they look like such a curious vegetable!

    I think brussel sprouts are the most odd-looking vegetable with a stem I’ve yet encountered. They remind me of a garland of garlic .. and sometimes I imagine what it’d be like to fill each bulb with small things so that when the stem is shaken, it becomes a sort of percussion :-P

  4. LOL! I like the way you think! =)

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