A challenge a friend and I came up with to entertain ourselves, but found a little too taxing:

Find 5 single word foods (i.e. comestibles or dishes) whose letters can be reshuffled to give another single word food.

We managed to find two:


It seems somewhat nontrivial to find any more! Another that was thought of was MASH <--> HAMS, but we didn't really count it due to the unnatural pluralisation of ham (whereas tapas is naturally a plural in the English vernacular). One more example of a disallowed solution is SCONE <--> CONES, due to the vagueness of cones (and again, a pluralisation - but chiefly the former).

Any ideas? Thanks

Edit: A few people are including beverages - my intention was to exclude these from the 'food' world.


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    $\begingroup$ You should consider a no computer Tag. There are Anagram Solvers on the Net which only require putting any word in and instantly gives the anagrams $\endgroup$ – DEEM Jul 24 '18 at 10:47
  • $\begingroup$ I suppose if there was a ready database of all edibles/dishes, a quick script could be written. $\endgroup$ – S Valera Jul 24 '18 at 11:35
  • $\begingroup$ @DEEM I agree, that would be cheating. $\endgroup$ – hat Jul 24 '18 at 12:52
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    $\begingroup$ @DEEM Personally I think it would be very interesting to see a full list of solutions that a computer script can generate. $\endgroup$ – Sanchises Jul 26 '18 at 12:58
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    $\begingroup$ Hams! Terrific! $\endgroup$ – Pedro A Jul 26 '18 at 22:54

13 Answers 13


Here are three pretty decent ones to take you up to five:

SKATE (a kind of fish) and STEAK.
COLLOPS (= slices of meat, usually found in plural) and SCOLLOP (a less common but acceptable spelling of SCALLOP).
RAPE (the root of the turnip; also another related plant from which cooking oil is made) and PEAR.

These are pushing it a bit:

CHILI (hot pepper or a dish made therefrom, though CHILLI is a better spelling) and LICHI (an unusual spelling of LYCHEE or LITCHI, an aromatic Chinese fruit).
MARG (short for MARGARINE) and GRAM (as in gram flour, used for making papadums and the like).

And I think these are clearly impermissible:

EDAM (a Dutch cheese) and MEAD (an alcoholic drink rather than a food).
GRAIN (wheat, barley, oats, etc.) and GARNI (as in BOUQUET GARNI, but I don't think anyone uses that abbreviation).
DOSA (a kind of Indian bread) and SODA (a drink, or a kind of bread -- but that's definitely called SODA BREAD, not just SODA).

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    $\begingroup$ Dosa and Soda is a valid pair. Being an India, I testify :) $\endgroup$ – Tejasva Dhyani Jul 24 '18 at 3:56
  • $\begingroup$ Love it, scollop especially. Also I'd count dosa seeing as soda can also mean sodium bicarbonate, a commonplace baking ingredient! $\endgroup$ – S Valera Jul 24 '18 at 11:37
  • $\begingroup$ I'm inclined to rule SODA as valid because 'a soda' is 'a softdrink' in some English-speaking countries and similarly MEAD as Google's dictionary example for the adjective comestible is 'coffee, tea'... but indeed it is 'comestible' (comer= to eat) not 'beverage' or 'potable'. $\endgroup$ – user3445853 Jul 25 '18 at 9:47
  • $\begingroup$ The puzzle specifically asked for food rather than drink which is why I think SODA is impermissible. $\endgroup$ – Gareth McCaughan Jul 25 '18 at 9:48
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    $\begingroup$ "What did you have for dinner?" "Just some skate and rape..." $\endgroup$ – ESR Jul 26 '18 at 2:24

This is a surprisingly hard task. I managed to find just three so far.


Sloe (wild plum) --> Sole (fish)


Samp (South African corn dish) --> Spam (processed meat)


Gota (Indian dish) --> Goat (you know, the maa-ing type :D )

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    $\begingroup$ Impressive solutions! $\endgroup$ – S Valera Jul 24 '18 at 11:38
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    $\begingroup$ New pair added. $\endgroup$ – hat Jul 26 '18 at 12:58

I think this may count:

CASSEROLE ( a large, deep dish used both in the oven and as a serving vessel. The word is also used for the food cooked and served in such a vessel)
ESCAROLES (escarole is also called broad-leaved endive)

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    $\begingroup$ Hmm...it depends. The OP excluded Mash <--> Hams because of the pluralisation, and the same thing is happening here. Congratulations on making such a long one, though! $\endgroup$ – hat Jul 24 '18 at 15:15
  • $\begingroup$ @Jǝssǝ ah snap, I was so excited about thinking of that one I forgot about the pluralisation. And thinking about it, I wouldn't have a plate of escaroles, I'd have a plate of escarole. I'll delete if necessary (my first answer here, so if that's the accepted etiquette I'll remove it). $\endgroup$ – Matt Jones Jul 24 '18 at 15:20
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    $\begingroup$ Terribly sorry to disappoint you, I know the feeling. I think you can leave your answer here, though. You certainly made a stab at it! $\endgroup$ – hat Jul 24 '18 at 15:29
  • $\begingroup$ Ah sorry to be a stickler! The 's' appendage is almost entirely dwarfed by its impressive length though, thanks for sharing $\endgroup$ – S Valera Jul 25 '18 at 0:07

Not sure if this is serious or not, or lateral thinking, but

in the context of the book 'Alive: The Story of the Andes Survivors' rugby TEAM becomes MEAT for the team.

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    $\begingroup$ Hmm. If we aren't ruling out cannibalism, tutor/trout and rosti/tiros would be on the list as well as others. $\endgroup$ – Hugh Meyers Jul 25 '18 at 14:01

Here is one:

Polish cake babka turns into kabab (another way of saying kebab).

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    $\begingroup$ From the Middle East to the Eastern bloc, nice! $\endgroup$ – S Valera Jul 25 '18 at 0:04

One more to add (it's a tricky challenge!):

RAGU (from italian cusine, a meat-based sauce) > GUAR (legume used to produce guar gum/ guar beans and leaves used in cooking)

And this one tenuous at best:

LIVER > ERVIL (ancient grain legume, variety of Vetch plant which is member of the of pea family - edible but not commonly used in modern cooking from what I can see. )

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    $\begingroup$ Welcome to Puzzling.SE! you should take the tour for an easy badge. $\endgroup$ – Chowzen Jul 25 '18 at 15:45
  • $\begingroup$ Oh my guar, yes $\endgroup$ – S Valera Jul 25 '18 at 22:38

A bit late, but here is one more:

LAMB and BALM (a herb, also known as lemon balm)


I could only think of one:

Smelt (The Fish) -> Melts (The Sandwiches)

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    $\begingroup$ Nice! Gotta disallow it on the basis of the pluralisation constraint here though (see OP). $\endgroup$ – S Valera Jul 27 '18 at 10:03

How about a food to a food to a food?:

SWINE <-> SINEW (part of meat) <-> WINES

  • $\begingroup$ Swine: bit sketchy? Wines: pluralised (see OP) + wine's a beverage (didn't intend for beverages to be counted as 'foods'). $\endgroup$ – S Valera Jul 27 '18 at 10:01
  • $\begingroup$ @SValera swine is not a bit sketchy in places like North America. $\endgroup$ – Feeds Aug 8 '18 at 3:26

I could only think of one honest one:

TREACLE(a type of syrup like molasses)/CLARETE (a type of rose wine)

And one wasn't quite there, but it was close so I still wanted to include it:

SUNCHOKE(also called a Jerusalem artichoke)/HONEySUCKle (a delicious edible plant that tastes like honey, but I'm missing the y, l, and e)

  • $\begingroup$ Unfortunately it is spelled CLARET, without a second E. $\endgroup$ – Jaap Scherphuis Jul 27 '18 at 8:31
  • $\begingroup$ Hi Jaap, the Spanish variety of rose Rioja is in fact spelled Clarete! thecultureist.com/2013/07/11/clarete-la-rioja-spanish-wine $\endgroup$ – Karen Lowe Jul 27 '18 at 9:14
  • $\begingroup$ Nice anagram! I hadn't intended for beverages to be included in the 'food' world though $\endgroup$ – S Valera Jul 27 '18 at 9:59

This one's too terrible to leave out

DOG (What? Some people eat dog) -> GOD (Communion)

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    $\begingroup$ Humour points awarded $\endgroup$ – S Valera Jul 27 '18 at 9:55

Here are some types of cheese that can transform into types of food, which I found while answering a similar challenge:

Legato -> Gelato [Italian ice cream]

Ragstone -> Estragon [Another name for tarragon]

Esrom -> S'more [If you can even call it 'food' ;)]

And this one doesn't quite follow the rules, but I have to mention...

Friesago cheese, which perfectly transforms into Foie-gras.


If drinks were allowed I'd add:

Pea-tomato (tomatoes grown tiny like peas) <-> Potato-tea (a drink sadly)

I like the challenge

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    $\begingroup$ Unfortunately, even if drinks were included, there remain two objections: (1) Hyphenating two-word items is not a legitimate tactic to render them one word items as required, (2) There is clearly an extra 't' used in the the tea reshuffle, in place of what should be an 'm'. This obviously isn't an anagram... Sorry! Good luck. $\endgroup$ – S Valera Aug 3 '18 at 14:48
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    $\begingroup$ Oh boy, I knew writing on the train would bite me in the butt, I even read the post twice. Thanks for the clear and concise criticism, you're absolutely on point. I'll try and think of something within the restrictions laid out by your post. $\endgroup$ – Yous0147 Aug 3 '18 at 15:48
  • $\begingroup$ Looking forward to seeing what you come up with : -) $\endgroup$ – S Valera Aug 3 '18 at 16:33

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