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Bill Spohn

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Asparagus and other Interesting things

by Bill Spohn » Sun Jan 16, 2022 4:55 pm

Some will be aware that we have a vocabulary/word thread going in Friends and Fun, but I thought this one was better posted here given the topic.

It came from Latin into English as 'sparagus' in mediaeval times, but by the mid 1600s had become 'sparrow-grass'. This process is called 'folk etymology' where people take an unfamiliar word and modify it so that it seems more comfortable for them. This persisted through the 18th century (except among botanists where 'asparagus' was used) but some time in the 19th century took an about turn and went back to asparagus and left the 'sparrow-grass' form in use only in English dialect.

I'll throw in another food one for free. Avocado came into English from Aztec (one of the few imports from that language) and meant 'testicle' as there was a resemblance in shape. It came via Spanish where it started as aguacarte , whence it was transformed into 'avocado' which is also the Spanish word for lawyer. I disavow any relationship between lawyers and the original object of the Aztec word however....

There are a bunch more culinary words with interesting origins like marzipan which came into English via Italian as 'marchpane' until the 19th C. when it was reborrowed from Italian as marzipan.
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Jeff Grossman

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Re: Asparagus

by Jeff Grossman » Sun Jan 16, 2022 7:05 pm

For some history of avocados, I refer you to one of my very favorite YouTube channels, "Tasting History" with Max Miller:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FNg71yR7b-E
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Bill Spohn

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Re: Asparagus and other Interesting things

by Bill Spohn » Tue Jan 18, 2022 12:28 pm

I like that guy as well.

Another food term: Canape - an appetizer consisting usually of a thin slice of bread or toast spread with caviar or cheese or other savory food

The French word that was borrowed (spelled the same) meant 'sofa, which is apt because the food/garnish sits on the bread like a person does on a sofa.

Similarly, 'hors d'oeuvre' which means 'outside the work' as they weren't part of the meal but an added pre-meal appetizer, or amuse-bouche.
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Jenise

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Re: Asparagus and other Interesting things

by Jenise » Tue Jan 18, 2022 6:28 pm

Bill, you just gave me a perfect segue (referencing the F&F thread) to another word we all need:

sofa king: No, not a giant sofa, but the term you can use to effuse about something delicious in plain view of the censors. Typical use: THOSE oysters with THAT champagne were sofa king good!!!!!

You're welcome.
My wine shopping and I have never had a problem. Just a perpetual race between the bankruptcy court and Hell.--Rogov
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Paul Winalski

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Re: Asparagus and other Interesting things

by Paul Winalski » Wed Jan 19, 2022 1:20 pm

Plants produce fruit as an enticement for animals and birds to eat the fruit and thus provide free transport for the seed(s) contained therein. One of the mysteries of the avocado is the target animal its fruit is designed to attract. What creature needs such a large caloric bribe? One of the hypotheses is that the avocado is targeted at the (now extinct) giant ground sloth.

-Paul W.
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Jeff Grossman

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Re: Asparagus and other Interesting things

by Jeff Grossman » Wed Jan 19, 2022 3:18 pm

Paul Winalski wrote:What creature needs such a large caloric bribe?

Or has the width of plumbing needed to pass such a large pit?
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Bill Spohn

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Re: Asparagus and other Interesting things

by Bill Spohn » Sun Jan 23, 2022 2:16 pm

Jenise wrote:Bill, you just gave me a perfect segue (referencing the F&F thread) to another word we all need:

sofa king: No, not a giant sofa, but the term you can use to effuse about something delicious in plain view of the censors. Typical use: THOSE oysters with THAT champagne were sofa king good!!!!!

You're welcome.


Image
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Jenise

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Re: Asparagus and other Interesting things

by Jenise » Tue Jan 25, 2022 5:25 am

Yes, just like that.
My wine shopping and I have never had a problem. Just a perpetual race between the bankruptcy court and Hell.--Rogov
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Matilda L

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Re: Asparagus and other Interesting things

by Matilda L » Wed Jan 26, 2022 7:09 am

sofa-king.jpeg
sofa-king.jpeg (43.4 KiB) Viewed 1095 times



Is it real? I dunno.
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Paul Winalski

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Re: Asparagus and other Interesting things

by Paul Winalski » Wed Jan 26, 2022 11:47 am

The website exists, but Firefox gave me a security warning when I tried to visit it.

-Paul W.

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