The language used (as in advertising or political propaganda) to achieve a desired effect on an audience especially through the use of words with novel or dual meanings.
I freely employ the above definition of semantics in my kitchen with a clear conscience. I learned the subtleties of kitchen semantics as a kid from its master - my mom (two words, Mom - Pizza Eggs). I have no qualms about cloaking a food item in a novel definition if it gets my kids to try something they otherwise would not try. This has served me pretty well so far. And if an attractive presentation, an alluring smell, and a nifty description can't entice my kids to eat on of my concoctions well, at least I tried.
I should have left well enough alone on Sunday when I presented Pinwheels to Anna. She likes chicken salad and usually eats it with a spoon or with chips, so I thought I'd try something different by spreading some on a wrap, rolling it up, and cutting it into slices for her dinner. Anna has always preferred crunchy textures, so to offset a soft wrap with a soft filling I gave her carrot sticks as a side. "Look, Anna", I said as I set her plate down, "You have Pinwheels for dinner!" Anna took one look at the wrap slices and said "No". I said "Try it, Anna! Pinwheels are yummy!". She looked at me. I took a bite. "Mmmm, try it. Take one bite, please." She took a bite. The textures did not agree with her and she got this how-could-you-do-this-to-me sort of look on her face before saying "I don't want Pinwheels for dinner!"
Rats. The semantics failed me. Megan was eating chicken and rice soup with me and DH so I told Anna dinner was Pinwheels or soup, which one would she like? I thought she'd take the Pinwheels over the soup because the soup is all soft and the texture is all wrong...but she disliked the Pinwheels so much that she chose the soup. Boy was I excited. I've been trying to get Anna to eat soup for years! She took a bite and looked like she was holding back a gag, but she kept taking spoonfuls and swallowing them. She said she didn't like the vegetables (because they were not crunchy) but I kept encouraging her. She kept eating the soup. She was down to the last few bites and trying hard, I could tell this was a major feat for her. I thought if she could finish the soup, it'd be a major accomplishment and may perhaps overcome a sensory hurdle, and we could add soup to her repertoire of foods.
Two bites left. Anna started to gag. And then, she threw up. All that soup came right back up and ended up all over the floor. She started to cry "Mommy, I threw up! My tummy feels sick!". But I knew she was not sick, she just couldn't handle the soft texture of the soup. Poor girl. We were so close, and yet so far. There is no amount of semantics that can trick a sensory-sensitive palate. I've learned my lesson. Next time she gags over the texture of a food item, I'll call it quits and give her celery and corn chips for dinner.