Writing Tip: Ravioli Are Not Dumplings

Jessie Uncategorized Leave a Comment

My husband is convinced that, categorically, ravioli are a type of dumpling.

This makes me upset for several reasons:

  1. Obviously, these are two dishes from different cultures. One cannot be a sub-type of the other if they arose independently.
  2. More specifically, ravioli is a form of pasta. Dumplings, according to Merriam-Webster, include dough—but are not described as pasta. DUMPLINGS ARE NOT PASTA.
  3. What is wrong with you.

However, this argument did not seem to faze him. Nor does it faze much of the internet, which in 2018 came to the conclusion that not only are ravioli a form of dumplings, but so are many foods defined as food wrapped in cooked dough—including but not limited to Pop-Tarts and Peanut Butter & Jelly Uncrustables??

Besides being offended for the dumplings’ sake, this situation has provided me an opportunity to teach you a key persuasive technique. Use it to convince your boss to give you a raise, a client to buy your stuff, your kid to clean their room, or your significant other that, no, ravioli are NOT dumplings. (I’ll be using this one as our example.)

The 3 rhetorical appeals (AKA argument-winning machines)

“Rhetoric” is often used today when you want to say that someone’s argument is full of fluff. But historically, it meant quite the opposite! Rhetoric is the study of persuasion. And it’s largely based on three types of appeals, which I shall now illustrate:

Emotional appeal: “It hurts me that you think ravioli are dumplings.”

The goal here is tug on their heart strings. Bring their attention to something they care about. Which had better be you. (You can remind them of this.)

Authority appeal: “All of these super-smart food experts agree that ravioli aren’t dumplings.”

With this approach, you’re pulling on the strength of the group and/or your own expertise in a topic. The trick here is not letting them know that your “food experts” are actually amateur food bloggers. Shh, it’s fine.

Logical appeal: “The dictionary says ravioli are pasta. And that dumplings are not.”

Hit them with the cold, hard facts. And if they come back claiming that pasta is just noodles, counter with the Collins Dictionary pasta definition of “a type of food made from a mixture of flour, eggs, and water” and remind them that the rice noodles used for dumplings don’t have eggs. CHECKMATE.

BONUS—Kairos appeal: Time your argument for maximum impact.

Kairos is Greek for “right time.” I suggest having this conversation after declaring “I’m going to make your favorite ravioli tonight!” And then proceeding to make Chinese dumplings. Top with tomato sauce if you’re feeling particularly spicy.

Combine all of these appeals into one argument to hit ’em on all sides and basically never lose.

You’re welcome.

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