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Devil’s Food Dictionary FAQ


How long is The Devil’s Food Dictionary?

1 page.


How many entries does it contain?

23, in 22 languages.


How long is Appendix A of The Devil’s Food Dictionary?

244 pages.


How many entries does it contain?

Nearly 1,100, in 1 language (unless you consider “backwards” a language, in which case it’s 2).


How many footnotes does this book have?



What is the square root of that number?



How many titles are in the Bibliography?



What is the shortest complete entry in the book?

“Shad: Past tense of shid.”


What is the most intriguing cross-reference?

“Trichinosis: see Snickerdoodle.”


In which entry will I find the largest number of citrus fruit names?

“Citrus fruit.”


How many entries contain poetry?

3: 3 limericks, 1 haiku, 1 ode.


Are any races, nationalities, ethnicities, or other groups cited in ways that readers may find harsh and/or unfair?

Yes: Americans, Celts, the British, the French, Genetic Engineers, the Gestapo, Investment Bankers, the Irish, the       Japanese, Jews, Koreans, Men, Mexicans, Molecular Gastronomists, Northerners, People at the Fringes of the Known World, Protestants, Southerners, White People, and various others. Citizens of the African nation of Botswana, on the other hand, get no mention at all.


I don’t suppose this book contains recipes...

You couldn’t be more wrong. There are 6.


Which is the most useful one?

How to turn coconut oil into lard.


How many pasta shapes are mentioned in this book?



How many of those shapes have names that are largely metaphorical?



Are there any useful tables, graphs, etc.?

Perhaps “useful” is putting too fine a point on it. However, there is a table for naming Chinese restaurants, an equation for precisely calculating flavor, and a table of equivalents between healthy foods and tasty foods.


Does this book contain any references to Scrabble®?

Yes: 15.



We are not at liberty to say.


Surely there are no references to poisons and toxicity?

In fact, there are 27.


I counted only 26.

If I wanted your opinion, I’d ask for it.


What about types of surgery?

2: squidectomy and squidoplasty.


References to Canada?



The equator?



How many entries are printed backwards?



Which one is it?

Don’t worry, you won’t have any trouble spotting it.


What useful knowledge might I gain from reading The Devil’s Food Dictionary?

(1) Cheese originated in a feud between Icelandic gods, and (2) the equator does not actually exist. Armed with those two pieces of information, you should be able to carve out a pretty nice life for yourself.


Do any entries feature particularly lyrical descriptions?

Of what?


Of anything at all.

Yes: “Puttanesca sauce,” “Soba,” “Sweet,” “Udon.”


How many illustrations are there?



How many of those could be considered scary?

8, possibly 9.


Do I need to know a lot about food to buy The Devil’s Food Dictionary?

Absolutely not—you might well purchase it by mistake, thinking it’s The Da Vinci Code.


That’s fascinating.

I agree. Any more questions?


Yes. Could you please tell me where the ladies room is?

Between pages 96 and 97. On the left.

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