plica (PLY-kuh) noun, plural plicae (PLI-see, -kee)
1. A fold, especially of skin.
2. Hair in dirty, matted form.
[From Medieval Latin, fold, from Latin plicare, to fold.]
bloviate \BLOH-vee-ayt\, intransitive verb:
To speak or write at length in a pompous or boastful manner.
Bloviate is from blow + a mock-Latinate suffix -viate. Compare blowhard, "a boaster or braggart." Bloviation is the noun form; a bloviator is one who bloviates.
Trivia: Bloviate is most closely associated with U.S.President Warren G. Harding, who used it frequently and who was known for long, windy speeches. H.L. Mencken said of him, "He writes the worst English that I have ever encountered. It reminds me of a string of wet sponges; it reminds me of tattered washing on the line; it reminds me of stale bean soup, of college yells, of dogs barking idiotically through endless nights. It is so bad that a sort of grandeur creeps into it. It drags itself out of the dark abysm of pish, and crawls insanely up the topmost pinnacle of posh. It is rumble and bumble. It is flap and doodle. It is balder and dash."
Why is cheddar cheese orange? Do they color it that way, or is it part of the cheese-ifying process? I know that cheese is made from milk, but I don't think that I could make the milk in my fridge turn orange, no matter how long I left it in there. What's up?
It's orange because they dye it orange. You knew this, of course. The question is, Why orange as opposed to, say, a nice taupe? As near as cheese historians can make out, the practice originated many years ago in England. Milk contains varying amounts of beta-carotene, the yellow-orange stuff found in carrots and other vegetables. Milk from pasture-fed cows has higher beta-carotene levels in the spring and summer, when the cows are munching on fresh grass, and lower levels during the fall and winter, when they're eating hay. Thus the natural color of the cheese varies over the course of a year. So cheese makers began adding coloring agents. Nowadays the most common of these is annatto, a yellow-red dye made from the seeds of a tree of the same name. Dyeing the cheese eliminated seasonal color fluctuations and also played to the fact (or anyway the belief) that spring/summer milk had a higher butterfat content than the fall/winter kind and thus produced more flavorful cheese. Figuring if yellow = good, orange = better, some cheese makers began ladling in the annatto in double handfuls, producing cheese that looked like something you'd want to carve into a jack-o'-lantern. In recent years some smaller operations have rebelled and stopped using colorants. Be forewarned--according to one cheese making text, uncolored cheese is a "sordid, unappetizing melange of dirty yellow." But at least it's real.
A related question: What's the deal with so-called process cheese and cheese spreads such as the infamous Velveeta? They're not completely synthetic, as some believe; rather, they're made by mixing and heating natural cheeses and emulsifiers, producing a "homogenous plastic mass." (I am quoting from my cheese book, you understand.) While we gourmands may sniff at such stuff, it does have the advantages of uniformity, long shelf life, and comparatively low production cost, no small achievement in a world where many are glad to have any cheese at all.