Cycle 14 – Item 2
7 (Sat) January 2023
Spaghetti with Shrimp in Tomato Sauce
-Changgok, Sujeong, Seongnam, Gyeonggi, Republic of Korea-
At the end of last year, Lake Superior State University in Michigan USA published its annual list of banned words, 2023 edition, including “It is what it is.” The phrase had previously been banned in the 2008 edition (see Banished Words: It is what it is). One of my favorite comments: “Of course it is what it is! What else would it be? It would be weird if it wasn’t what it wasn’t.” (Even weirder if it was what it wasn’t.)
Though regarded by critics as a useless tautology, or a shrug of inevitability, or an evasion of responsibility, I believe that the phrase can be used to convey a precise and effective meaning: a thing is exactly as it appears to be, no more, no less, a simple/true/honest/straightforward representation of itself.
Like a plate of spaghetti with shrimp in tomato sauce. Neither fancy nor lazy. Nothing to rave about yet nothing to scoff at. Just a nice tasty quick easy meal for one on a Saturday night. It is what it is.
(See also FOOD GLOSSARY)