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OK, I was recently asked a question by a foreign friend on an English sentence that they created.

Mixing and matching all kinds of vegetables, seafood, and meat, some of my newly added dishes are this and that.

To me, this sounded awkward.

With a parallel list structure, I should be able to do the following with the above...

  1. Mixing and matching all kinds of vegetables
  2. Mixing and matching all kinds of seafood
  3. Mixing and matching all kinds of meat

So, this part seems wrong; therefore, I concluded that, while seafood and meat don't technically have plural forms, this case requires that seafood and meat be seafoods and meats. That is because of the preceding words, all kinds of. This means that you have more than one kind of meat (ie. pork, beef, chicken, etc...).

Other than that, it feels like the flow isn't correct.

  • Should I add While to the beginning of the sentence?
  • Should there be a better flow into some of my newly...
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Your sentence is correct as originally stated. You can also use "seafoods" and "meats," which are acceptable plurals of seafood and meat -- although less common. Some might argue that this produces a slight change in nuance, such that "meats" implies "types of meat" and "seafoods" implies "types of seafood." However, even if the case, this distinction doesn't seem substantive in your particular context. I would use what you think sounds better.

The "while" is not necessary and tends to imply you'll say something contradictory in the latter part of your sentence.

In terms of challenges to the sentence, most of it I think has to do with word choice.

"Mixing and matching" isn't something that we often apply to ingredients. It's a bit odd to think about what matching different meats means. In culinary writing, there's often a statement about "pairing" food items, e.g., pairing a steak with a cabernet sauvignon. However, this is usually reserved for pairing completed dishes and not ingredients. A simpler phrase, such as "Mixing different kinds of vegetables, ..." or perhaps, better for a cooking context "Combining different kinds..." Since mixing has a particular meaning when we're talking about recipes and we'd actually prefer a more general meaning.

"Newly added dishes" is a bit odd sounding, but it may depend upon the context. By itself, I ask the question "added to what?" But if this is part of a discussion on, say, creating a recipe book, this might be understood.

"This and that" is also unclear. This and that is often used to describe a collection of unrelated items and while certainly there are vegetables, meats, and seafoods -- they still seem pretty coherent as a set of items. I recognize that this and that refers to dishes, but, once again, it's not apparent to me that they're that dissimilar. I'm not exactly sure what the original author was trying to convey. However, if you can make it more precise, that would be greatly beneficial (e.g., "... are very distinct.").

  • Mixing and matching all kinds of vegetables, seafood, and meat, some of my newly added jeon dishes are x, y, and z. NOTE Jeon is a Korean dish - pancake-like with a mixture of vegetables and sometimes meat. X, Y, and Z are just placeholder for different kinds of Jeon. Do you still hold by the use of the word "pairing"? I should also note that this was originally from a translated Korean paper – Christopher Rucinski Oct 14 '14 at 17:42
  • let me expand based on your "added" comment...They started off by saying how versatile Jeon is, then stated: "This added variety to the simple choices of jeon I served: A, B, and C. Mixing and matching all kinds of vegetables, seafood, and meat, some of my newly added jeon dishes are X, Y, and Z. " – Christopher Rucinski Oct 14 '14 at 17:58
  • @ChristopherRucinski I think the context helps a lot and makes the sentence flow work a lot better. I think the sentences work as they are presented. As a stylistic preference, I think "Combining all kinds..." flows a bit better, as I still feel that the "matching" phrasing is a bit off. I would also tweak the end to "dishes were X, Y, and Z" to match the tense of "served" (assuming that X, Y, and Z were presented at the same time as A, B, and C; again the present tense may be appropriate based on the broader context). – Power Smurf Oct 14 '14 at 18:26
  • ADDENDUM: "Pairing" I would only use for completed dishes, not ingredients. I only proposed the idea, since the "mixing and matching" phrase choice seemed a bit off, and I wasn't sure if "matching" was an important concept to the author. "Mixing and matching" implies taking components from different sets and recombining them (e.g., mixing and matching pieces of an outfit, Ikea furniture pieces from different lines). If the author is taking ingredients or steps from one recipe and combining it with ingredients and steps from another, this phrasing could work. – Power Smurf Oct 14 '14 at 18:33

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