Many food blogs are named a straight-forward version of 'Jane cooks'. This kind of name communicates clearly but is boring to me.
Then there are the flirty, narcissistic names, maybe involving the words princess or goddess. These tend to focus on style and so-called nutrition (so-called because the claims being made about healthy eating are wildly divergent and rarely involve credible reference to studies).
In any case this website is really an art website based on a modest but creative approach to food, not a technical nutritional manifesto. I wanted a name that is a metaphor, that brings to mind a strong image. I also wanted to capture a contrast between modest peasant food and elegance.
I considered 'the wealthy peasant', 'the golden parsnip', and other names that speak this concept directly. But they weren't very fun and were too straight forward.
My cooking style is heavily influenced by my Italian heritage and the years that I spent living and working there. I began to sift through Italian names of produce looking for a nice sounding word that was somehow suggestive. Any word also had to be easily pronounceable by Americans. Melanzana was one of the best words I came up with, and the eggplant is a romantic food, but I went instead with 'oca' which means 'goose'.
I live surrounded by geese on my boat near the Ballard Locks. They are brutish, filthy creatures that defecate all over the base of the marina and are aggressive if you get too close. In my mind, goose as a food is linked with peasants, maybe because of the multiple fables and stories involving a poor peasant and their magical goose.
The Brothers Grimm have a story about a simpleton and his golden goose that is a lesson on greed. Aesop has a fable about killing the goose that lays the golden eggs, also about greed. That expression, 'to kill the goose that lays the golden eggs' is beautiful to me. I love the contrast of the gold and the goose, and the moral lesson.
L'oca d'oro is the Italian for the golden goose, and dropping the article and and the punctuation it becomes ocadoro, which has a nice ring and is easy to remember and pronounce. It gives me a name with a story to it, with a connection to my life in Seattle, and to a moral lesson that I believe in. For this website, the golden goose might as well represent earth, and how we are greedily exploiting nature instead of patiently protecting it.
Let's not kill the golden goose.