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When my husband and I were expecting our son, people had baby name opinions everywhere we went. “Have you considered a family name?” our grannies asked. “Don’t choose Brandon. I’ve had way too many naughty Brandons in my class,” a teacher friend pleaded. “I’ve always liked Sebastian,” said a barista whose name tag read “Sebastian.”
But one name came up again and again, thanks to my husband, who suggested Hamish practically every day. It’s a big, strong Scottish name, and we are big, strong Scottish people. And there’s the rub. I worried that Hamish would quickly be shortened to Ham, and if our son looked like we did as kiddos, he’d kind of resemble one, too. So to the cutting room floor it went.*
Food-related names can be dangerous, though they’re trending around the country as millennial parents seek out unique monikers for their tykes. In the interest of creative but sane parents everywhere, I’ve rounded up some of our favorite foodie baby names, and some we’d probably pass on.
(*If you’re curious, we went with Rowan, after the tree-his dad and I are big nature people. And Rowan is tall and slender. Hmph.)
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Top 10 Awesome Food-Inspired Baby Names
- Angus: Here’s the beef. Like Hamish (mentioned above), it’s a big, strong name that traces its roots back to the Scottish highlands.
- Bartlett: If pears are your favorite fruit, consider this juicy name for your baby-to-be. It means “ploughman” in Hebrew, but we think it would suit any child, regardless of gender.
- Brie: Cheeseheads, this one’s for you. Named for the region in France, Brie is a soft, squidgy cheese that’s tremendous on a baguette-and it also makes a chic name for a girl.
- Harissa: If you’re looking for an uncommon little girl’s name that’s as lovely as can be, put this on the list. Pronounced like Marissa, Harissa is a rich chili pepper paste that hails from North Africa.
- Kale: Believe it or not, this name isn’t derived from the leafy green-it actually has Celtic roots. But if you’re hooked on said green, Kale could be a good name for your new baby boy or girl.
- Mac: Love Big Macs, mac and cheese or macadamia nuts? Serve up this one. When Mac’s a boy, his name often stands alone, but if Mac is a girl, she’s probably a Mackenzie.
- Nori: Sushi, anyone? Nori is cool on its own, or as a nickname for more traditional girls’ names like Eleanor, Nora and Norene.
- Pepper: If we didn’t know this spicy name has been around for centuries, we’d be convinced it was coined by a superhero-obsessed foodie. (If you’re not one of those, Pepper Potts is the leading lady in Iron Man.)
- Quince: Cousin to apples and pears, this fruit would be a sweet name for any kid. If you want to go with something more traditional, there’s always Quincy.
- Sage: This herbal name hails straight from the spice rack. Your child may even take its meaning to heart and be filled with wisdom. Everybody loves an old soul.
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Top 10 Food-Inspired Baby Names We’ll Skip
- Alfalfa: Naming your new sprout Alfalfa may guarantee he’s a little rascal.
- Banana: Yes, Banana is actually on a birth certificate somewhere in the United States. We think every country should follow Malaysia’s lead and put the kibosh on this too-unique baby name.
- Filbert: It’s the same as naming your child Hazelnut. (Not your kid, right?!) Now, naming your daughter Hazel, on the other hand…we approve!
- Hash: Sure, everybody craves a good breakfast skillet. But when it comes to this name and its numerous possible interpretations, just say no.
- Huckleberry: Huck Finn will always be one of our favorite childhood books. But if you’re considering this name for your future offspring, sing that old playground name rhyme. “Huck, Huck, bo-buck, banana-fana fo-…” Yeah, didn’t think so.
- Mango: The name should have been retired after Chris Kattan left Saturday Night Live. You can’t have the Mango.
- Peaches: Let’s reserve this one as a term of endearment, shall we? (Oh, and summer’s best fruit.) Can you imagine having a co-worker named Peaches? Or stranger yet, a boss?
- Quinoa: Choosing the name Quinoa sets your kid up to be hated by substitute teachers for life. “Kwin-oh-ahh…?” If you want a ‘Q’ name, see No. 9 above.
- Taffy: Nobody wants to be named after something sticky. We’ll leave it at that.
- Tiramisu: Just in case names are a self-fulfilling prophecy, as I worried when I was pregnant, do you really want to tempt fate with a liquor-soaked dessert?