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‘I didn’t use the term,’ Barbara Lynch says of NYT calling her ‘a Southie’

Barbara Lynch, the acclaimed chef, is from South Boston and is proud of it.
Barbara Lynch, the acclaimed chef, is from South Boston and is proud of it.(John Blanding/Globe staff/file)

Barbara Lynch is not a “Southie,” and apparently, she never claimed to be.

The renowned Boston chef on Tuesday denied ever using the word to describe people who live, or are from, the South Boston neighborhood.

“I didn’t use the term,” Lynch said in a statement sent by a spokeswoman to the Globe. “But if we did start calling ourselves ‘Southies,’ I’d be proud to be one.”

Lynch made the clarification after the New York Times this week published a lengthy article about the South Boston native, and described her as being a “fierce Southie.”

The Times said it was “a local term for this neighborhood and the people who built it.”

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They used the term a second time in the article when they said Lynch still curses “like an old-school Southie, but without the accent.”

On Monday night, a Globe reporter tweeted to Julia Moskin, who wrote the article, and politely let her know that there’s “no such thing” as a Southie.

The word is often used to describe the neighborhood itself, but not the people who live there.

Moskin defended her choice to use the slang, saying she got it directly from Lynch.

“The controversy rages on,” Moskin wrote. “I asked B Lynch herself — she said ‘f* yes I’m a Southie,’ and that was good enough for us.”

By Tuesday afternoon, however, the Times had changed the language in its article about Lynch, backtracking on its original verbiage.

Instead of calling her “a fierce Southie,” the Times wrote that the chef is a “fierce daughter of Southie, a nickname for this neighborhood (and, she said, an old local term for the people who built it that’s rarely, if ever, used today).”

And where Moskin wrote that Lynch “still curses like an old-school Southie,” the publication changed the story to say, “She still curses like a longshoreman, but without the Southie accent.”

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“If you’re from Southie, are you a Southie? [Lynch] says yes (it’s an old-school term),” according to a tweet from the Times’s food account. “But we’ve seen your tweets and comments and edited this profile of [Lynch] to clarify.”

A spokeswoman for Lynch did not return a followup e-mail asking about Moskin’s claims.

This isn’t the first time the newspaper has tried to characterize the neighborhood in a way that was unfamiliar to locals. Four years ago, residents roasted the Times after it declared that South Boston is known as “SoBo.”


Steve Annear can be reached at steve.annear@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @steveannear.