Words to Eat By

Friday, August 12, 2011

Ina Lipkowitz explains how English food words tell a remarkable story about the evolution of our language and culinary history. Words to Eat By: Five Foods and the Culinary History of the English Language explores the stories behind five of our most basic food words, and shows the role of French and Italian names in the English culinary vocabulary as well as the Old English origins of many common food words like meat, bread, apple, and milk.


Ina Lipkowitz
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Comments [9]

Amy from Manhattan

Oh, yeah--it was about "turkey," which in Modern Hebrew is "tarnegol hodu," meaning "chicken of India" (not Turkey; I wonder if it's connected to Columbus's misconception). What's interesting about this is that "hodu" also means "Give ye thanks," as in Psalms.

Aug. 12 2011 01:29 PM
Amy from Manhattan

There's also the pomegranate, or "grained apple."

The other thing about French fries is that the word "potatoes" was required to be dropped in some restaurants because they contained more filler than potato!

I had another one, but this segment went so fast I can't keep up!

Aug. 12 2011 01:01 PM

a bit off the food topic, but in the days of freedom fries, and freedom toast, was there also a freedom kiss?

Aug. 12 2011 01:00 PM

In Mel Brooks' 20012 year old man, there's a sketch about the origin of words. It's onamotapoetic-- an egg is called that because if you watch a chicken as she's laying an egg, you can hear her go 'eeegggg'

Aug. 12 2011 12:59 PM
Sophie from Poughkeepsie, NY

By the way, I look forward to reading the book!

Aug. 12 2011 12:59 PM
Sophie from Poughkeepsie, NY

I agree, milk is disgusting. I never think of drinking it.

Aug. 12 2011 12:58 PM
Terry from Fort Tryon Park Manhattan

Check this link out for the history of Pepperidge Farm. Actually named for the Pepperidge Farm owned by the Rudkin family - in Fairfield CT

Aug. 12 2011 12:57 PM
Amy from Manhattan

And Spanish for steak is "bistec," from English "beefsteak."

Aug. 12 2011 12:53 PM
Amy from Manhattan

There was also a fair amount of Norse that got mixed into early English.

Aug. 12 2011 12:49 PM

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