Before being swept away by the idea of giving your child a “best-smelling name” let’s divide The Stir’s favorite spice names into names that are sometimes used for people and names that are rarely used for people.
Spice Names Sometimes Used for People: Poppy, Saffron, Sage, Rosemary, Pepper, Ginger, Basil
Spice Names Rarely (if Ever) Used for People: Bay, Juniper, Cassia, Cinnamon, Amandine, Clove, Fennel, Anise, Cayenne, Yarrrow, Lavender, Ajowan, Marjoram, Caraway,
Now let’s focus on the names that are sometimes used for people and divide them by gender, to the extent possible.
Spice Names for Boys: Pepper, Basil, Sage
Spice Names for Girls Pepper, Ginger, Cinnamon, Rosemarie, Saffron, Poppy, Sage (I’d add Anise to the list of usable spice names )
Looking at the short lists of spice names for boys and girls, above, do you love any of them? I mean, are you jumping up and down like a WNBA basketball team that just won the national championship? I mean the most usable spice are nice. Very nice. But it’s hard to imagine any of them soaring onto a top-ten list.
Which reminds me: I had a next-door neighbor when I was in high school. She used to drive me to school on rainy or snowy days, so I didn’t have to wait for the bus. She had bright red hair; so bright that everyone called her “Carrot Top.” So her name, Ginger, fit her feisty personality better than her hair color. But just as Raven or Ebony are appropriate names for girls with dark complexions–and Blanche (which means “white”) or Ivory or Latte are appropriate names for girls with light complexions, Cinnamon is an appropriate name for girls with reddish-brown complexions and Ginger is an appropriate name for Asian girls with yellow/tan complexions. But as you can see, the focus has just changed from spice names to color names.
When I first read Nameberry’s post about “12 trends for 2014,” spice names was one of the few trends in the whole article that I liked and hoped might take off. I was thinking: “Yes! Bring on those aromatic spice names.” But now that I’m looking at The Stir’s list of 21 spice names, I’m thinking: Spice names would be a great idea if there were some, like, totally killer spice names.” But I haven’t found any yet, so I’m changing my odds for the “spice name” trend from 51/49 to 40/60. Suddenly, I don’t think that trend is going to take off quite so fast (if at all).
BTW, I noticed that The Stir didn’t include some of my favorite spices in their list of spice names: Curry, Cilantro, Cumin and Dill–probably because none of them sound much like a name for people. And that’s the fundamental problem with the majority of the 21 spice names they listed.