Thursday, 4 June 2015

Origins of some Food Names

Image result for pretzelJonathan (@jhazan) tweeted a picture of a jar of marmite last weekend which reminded me that a ‘marmite’ is a cooking container that features on the label of the divisive spread. ‘Marmeet’ is French for a casserole container. Marmite was discovered by accident by a German scientist in the late nineteenth century. Laura Barton, in an article she wrote for The Guardian in 2002, said ‘this is the spread that can make grown men weep’ so it must be spread as thinly as possible.

The ‘pretzel’ is a German word (with Latin roots) which means ‘little arm’ because the twisted biscuits were said to look like people praying. They were apparently made by European monks so it’s quite easy to see where this theory comes from.

‘Lollipop’ comes from a northern dialect word – ‘lolly’ meaning ‘tongue’ and ‘pop’ onomatopoeic for the sound of the tongue licking the lolly.

‘Cabbage’ comes from a Latin word meaning ‘head’ due to its shape.

‘Avocado’ is named after an Aztec word meaning ‘testicle’ due to its shape. Moreover, ‘orchid’ also means ‘testicle’, as the Greek word for ‘testicle’ is ‘orkhis’.

Finally, ‘coconut’ comes from a Portuguese word meaning ‘grinning face’ because of the way the holes are aligned. 

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