Tag Archives: food
buccaneer

buccaneer

  Insulae Americanae Nempe: Cuba, Hispaniola, Iamaica, Pto Rico, Lucania, Antillae vulgo Caribe, Barlo-et Sotto-Vento Etc. – Reiner & Josua Ottens – Amsterdam – circa 1740 – image: Barry Lawrence Ruderman Antique Maps Inc.     A buccaneer, from French boucanier, was originally one of the French settlers in Hispaniola or Hayti [sic] and Tortugas, […]

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barbecue

barbecue

  woodcuts from Warhaftige Historia und beschreibung eyner Landtschafft der Wilden Nacketen, Grimmigen Menschfresser-Leuthen in der Newenwelt America gelegen (True Story and Description of a Country of Wild, Naked, Grim, Man-eating People in the New World, America – 1557) by the German soldier and explorer Hans Staden (circa 1525-79)     The noun barbecue is, […]

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restaurant

restaurant

   La Mère Catherine – Maison fondée en 1793       When Randle Cotgrave published A Dictionarie of the French and English Tongues in 1611, the French noun restaurant still had its original meaning: Cotgrave translated it as a restorative. It is a noun use of the present participle of the verb restaurer, thus […]

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once in a blue moon

once in a blue moon

      Unrelated to the phrase once in a blue moon, the astronomical term blue moon first appeared in the USA in August 1937: Maine Farmers’ Almanac used it to denote the third full moon in a season which exceptionally contains four full moons (as defined by the mean sun, each season normally contains three full […]

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to turn turtle

to turn turtle

      MEANING   (chiefly of a boat): to turn upside down     ORIGIN   Sailors originally invented this phrase when they learnt to overturn the marine tortoise, or turtle, which is suitable for food, in order to immobilise it. The earliest known use of the phrase in this literal sense is in […]

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Jerusalem artichoke

Jerusalem artichoke

  photograph: BBC goodfood       The name Jerusalem artichoke designates a North American sunflower, Helianthus tuberosus, cultivated for its underground edible tubers, and the tuber of this plant, which is cooked and eaten as a vegetable.   This name first appeared in 1620 in the form artichoke of Jerusalem. It is an alteration […]

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pumpernickel

pumpernickel

  photograph: Wikimedia Commons/Matt314       MEANING   Dark, dense German bread made from coarsely ground wholemeal rye.   The word is first recorded in English in The German Spy: or, Familiar Letters from A Gentleman on his Travels thro’ Germany to His Friend in England (1738) by the English writer and surveyor Thomas […]

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Twelfth cake

Twelfth cake

    Twelfth Day is the twelfth day after Christmas, 6th January, on which the festival of the Epiphany is celebrated. It was formerly observed as the closing day of the Christmas festivities. (The Epiphany, from Greek epiphainein meaning reveal, is the manifestation of Christ to the Gentiles as represented by the Magi.) Twelfth Night […]

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butterfly

butterfly

  photograph: Steve Ogden - Wildlife Insight     This noun, which appeared around the year 1000 as buttorfleoge, is simply a compound of butter and fly, and not – as sometimes poetically suggested – an alteration of flutter by. The reason for this name is unknown. Dutch had botervlieg and German Butterfliege, which, like the […]

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gossamer

gossamer

  photograph: Mark A. Chappell     MEANING   A fine, filmy substance consisting of cobwebs spun by small spiders, seen especially in autumn.     ORIGIN   The word gossamer, which appeared in the early 14th century in the form gosesomer, is apparently composed of goose and summer. The reason for the appellation is […]

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