Edible baby names are all over the news.
France recently told two sets of parents that their edible names were no-gos. Baby Nutella was renamed Ella, while baby Fraise became Fraisine.
And seldom does a list of crazy Hollywood baby names fail to exclude the equally edible Apple.
But while we’re laughing about how silly it is to name our kids things like Oreo or Fondue, we’re also quietly embracing plenty of names that would be right at home in the kitchen.
I’m not counting Reese and Ruth, or lots of other names found on candy bars. Likewise, I’ve excluded Campbell and other names associated with popular brands. Even though I’m quite confident that I could find two of the three in my own kitchen at this very moment.
Nope, these are names that are found on menus all over the US – and increasingly, on our playgrounds, too.
Edible Baby Names: The Fast-Rising Favorite
No question – Olive takes the crown when it comes to edible baby names.
In 2007, actors Isla Fisher and Sacha Baron Cohen chose this name for their daughter. After decades of obscurity, Olive re-entered the US Top 1000 that same year. Then came Drew Barrymore’s firstborn, also Olive, born in 2012.
As of 2013, Olive had leapt to #291 on the popularity charts.
It wasn’t such a stretch, since sister name Olivia was long a favorite, and Olive remains familiar thanks to cartoon characters like Popeye’s Olive Oyl, and more recently, Olive the Other Reindeer, voiced by Ms. Barrymore herself back in 2000.
Nonetheless, it would tough to argue that Olive is anything less than perfectly edible.
Edible Baby Names: The Spice Girls
Next come two baby names from your spice rack: Sage and Rosemary.
Sure, Sage also refers to wisdom, making this one a modern virtue name – and a unisex one, too, often heard on boys. But Sage has been the name of an herb since the 1300s, and it’s hard to hear this one and not think of the English folksong so memorably covered by Simon and Garfunkel.
As of 2013, Sage ranked #457, with alternate spelling Saige not far behind, at #646.
Speaking of Scarborough Fair, Rosemary is also on the rise. You might see Rosemary as a botanical name, or a smoosh of the enduring Mary and Rose. But it originally comes from the Latin phrase dew of the sea – ros marinus. The goddess Aphrodite emerged from the sea with rosemary draped over her shoulders. In more recent centuries, Rosemary is associated with the Virgin Mary, as well as remembrance.
All of this aside, you’ll find one on nearly any spice rack. At #533 in the US, Rosemary is also fast-rising retro name for girls.
Edible Names for Girls: How Sweet!
Dulce is the only name on this list poised to be less popular in 2015. Dulce literally means sweet in Spanish – as in the caramel-esque Central and South American favorite, dulce de leche – sweetened milk.
The name peaked at #264 in 2007, and ranked #555 in 2013. That’s still a lot of sweetly named girls.
Edible Names for Girls: Beyond the Top 1000
Two more edible baby names belong on this list, both poised to be more popular in the coming years.
First is Clementine. Every bit as edible as Apple or Olive, with just as much star power. Actor Ethan Hawke has a Clementine. So does supermodel Claudia Schiffer.
The citrus fruit takes its name from Father Clement Rodier, who discovered the hybrid fruit growing in the garden of the orphanage he ran in Algeria. Clementine is also the French feminine form of Clement, and has history as a given name that predates the fruit by at least a century.
As of 2013, 221 girls were given the name, putting Clementine just outside of the US Top 1000 – for now.
Next, let’s look at another spice rack baby name: Pepper. Boosted by Iron Man’s faithful assistant and love interest, Pepper Potts – played by Apple’s mom, Gwyneth Paltrow, in recent film adaptations, as well as one of Annie’s fellow orphans, Pepper isn’t completely unknown as a given name.
But with 152 girls given the name in 2013, Pepper might be poised to go mainstream – following Harper, Piper, and other ends-in-r names, as well as Penelope and other starts-with-P names – into wider use.
Edible Baby Names: Honorable Mention
Remember Fraise – the baby girl renamed Fraisine? Fraise is the French word for strawberry, but Fraisine is considered an elegant nineteenth century name. I’m not sure how popular it was, but I found references to women named Fraisine, as well as Marie-Fraisine, from the right era, so it must have been in use. Still, it’s no less associated with the berry. I found this ad in the British Library collection.
Another name along these lines is Pomeline, related to the French word for apple. And speaking of apples, there are dozens of potential names borrowed from the orchard.
Plus, 27 girls were given the name Apple in 2013, so let’s not completely discount the possibility of meeting an Apple, either.
Then there’s Plum, a name seldom heard in real life, but with interesting potential for a middle name.
On the boys’ side, leafy green Kale hogs the spotlight, charting at #825 in the US – though there are other origins for Kale besides the produce aisle.
Then there’s Lemon, first the surname of Liz Lemon on 30 Rock, and now the name of Hart of Dixie’s Southern belle Lemon Breeland. In Miss Breeland’s case, she’s sometimes called Lemonade.
Are there any edible baby names that you might consider?
I knew a Cinnamon as a child – not a name I wanted to use but I’m glad its around.
Dulcie was popular at one time here in Australia, now only found on great-grandmothers, but I kinda really like it.
Rosemary is my favourite herbal name but I can’t look completely past Saffron and Cicely.
Pepper and Minty are adorable but TOO adorable – only NNs for Penelope and Araminta for me. Bewitching Names had Peppermint listed but I’m just not brave enough.
I ran into twins Oliver and Apple recently. That was a bit too food-centric for my taste. I didn’t know the couple well enough to ask if Apple was short for something, but I was really curious! Oliver and Appoline would have been to die for.
That’s VERY surprising – and great name-spotting!
I met a Plum recently; her surname is Garland!
When it comes to edible medieval names, I love it that I’ve found variants of Dulcia (Latin, found in France, England, Spain); Soave (Italian); and Zoete (Dutch). But the one that takes the cake (pun intended) for me is Savory, a rare 16th C English feminine name.
Apheline/Aphelinia is Apple and far less common than Pomeline/Pomelinia but is right up there with Fraisine. I read about it on Nameberry: http://nameberry.com/nametalk/threads/148886-Apheline-Aphelinia?highlight=Apheline
I like the older English spelling of Dulce which is Dowse. I ran into a Dowsabel, she was foreigner.
Every time I mention the name Rosemary, people always say Rosemary’s baby. I think of the British television detective series: Rosemary and Thyme. Great Post!