AP Style Food

AP Style sets the following guidelines when dealing with food in your text.

Most food names are lowercase, “apples,” oranges,” “cheese,” “peanut butter.”

Capitalize brand names and trademarks, “Roquefort cheese,” “Tabasco sauce.”

Most proper nouns or adjectives are capitalized when they occur in a food name. For example,

  • Boston brown bread
  • Italian dressing
  • Swiss cheese
  • Waldorf salad

Lowercase is used, however, when the food does not depend on the proper noun or adjective for its meaning. For example,

  • french fries

If a question arises, check our page on AP Style Food Guidelines. If there is no entry, follow Webster’s New World College Dictionary. Use lowercase if the dictionary lists it as an acceptable form for the sense in which the word is used.

These same principles apply to foreign names for foods. For example,

  • mousse de saumon (salmon mousse)
  • pomme de terre (literally, “apple of the earth”—for potato)
  • salade Russe (Russian salad)

See also AP Style Food Guidelines.

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