PLUOT.

I’m tearing through last week’s New Yorker (trying to get as much of it read as I can before this week’s descends upon me), and I just finished Lauren Collins’s “Burger Queen: April Bloomfield’s gastropub revolution.” Well, I say “finished,” but in fact I skimmed the last couple of pages impatiently; there’s some interesting stuff in there (I had no idea carrots were purple until the Dutch discovered how to make them orange in the seventeenth century—until then, people didn’t like to cook with them because they turned everything they were cooked with purple), but it’s basically an overlong puff piece full of chummy references to celebrities and annoying statements like “What Friedman really wants is a tongue-in-cheek red-sauce Italian place.” But I did learn a new word, pluot, which is new not only to me but to the language, having been invented in 1988 by Floyd Zaiger. The online OED defines it as “A proprietary name for: (the fruit of) a complex hybrid between the plum, Prunus domestica (which provides a greater proportion of the parentage), and the apricot, Prunus armeniaca” (which shows us that unlike most publications, the OED does not abbreviate genus names after first mention); it’s pronounced PLOO-ot, and the first cite is:

1988 N.Y. Times 7 Aug. VI. 62/1 ‘Primarily we work with peaches, nectarines, plums and apricots.’ Lately the focus has been on the last two; Zaiger is cross-pollinating them, and what he has dubbed ‘pluots’ are on the way.

However, the magazine piece managed to annoy me even in teaching me the word, because it occurs in the sentence “In California, Bloomfield acquainted herself with American ingredients; she ate a pluot, and, she said, ‘my eyes rolled back into my head.’” Not only do they not bother to define a word that only their most dedicated foodie readers will be familiar with, they refer to it as an “American ingredient” as though it were a sweet potato rather than a newly created hybrid.
I should point out that despite my kvetching, the Food issue of the New Yorker is always worth reading, and this is no exception, with writers like Calvin Trillin, Jane Kramer, and Alexander Hemon (a hymn to borscht). I just have a low and ever decreasing tolerance for hype.

Comments

  1. When I wrote about pluots in Transblawg, I got the impression they are, as you quote, complex. I think the aprium is half and half.

  2. Charles Perry says:

    Ahem. Most carrots were yellow, not purple, before the Dutch developed the orange version. In medieval Arab poetry sliced carrots are regularly compared the gold coin dinar.
    You can still find yellow carrots in in Central Asia (they’re rather squat, and visitors to Uzbekistan often assume they are turnips). And you can still find purple, red and even white carrots in Afghanistan. The existence of so many cultivars there shows that the carrot was domesticated in Afghanistan (Vavilov’s Principle).

  3. Tsk. I should know better than to trust the New Yorker by now.

  4. rootlesscosmo says:

    Jane Kramer’s article about root vegetables gets the yam/sweet potato distinction all wrong, too. When did the New Yorker’s legendary fact-checking sink to this low level? Was it gradual, or did some post-William Shawn editor fire the veterans and replace them with incompetents, or with no one at all?

  5. It’s not hype at all. Maybe you’re just sore over being late on the word-acquisition curve. ‘Pluot’ and ‘plumcot’ have been in my vocabulary (i.e. common west-coast produce-shopper’s-speak) for easily over a decade, and I don’t have any problem as identifying them as uniquely American. Because thy are.
    cf., btw.

  6. That sentence about American ingredients is infuriating, but pluots are huge in California (or at least the Bay Area). You couldn’t miss them if you’ve been to any higher-end grocery or farmer’s market.

  7. marie-lucie says:

    “Plumcot” sounds nice and reminds us that it is a hybrid, “pluot” does not do either, it comes from chopping up the written words, without regard to normal English word structure or phonology.

  8. It’s not hype at all.
    I was not talking about the word pluot but about the article as a whole. I thought that was clear from my calling it a “puff piece.”

  9. Pluot reminds me of “plutocrat”, but otherwise it’s OK. But aprium, another hybrid, is completely unacceptable. It sounds like a psychiatric drug.

  10. “I just have a low and ever decreasing tolerance for hype.” It’s bad luck that you live in the US then, eh?

  11. Uh, yeah, I guess the US is the only country with an advertising industry. If only I lived in your happy land, where no one ever promotes, markets, or advertises anything!

  12. Hat, I’m not sure if your last comment is quite behind the ball. Advertising doesn’t have to be hype. Arguably US-style advertising is hype (although I don’t know how defensible this statement is). But what was interesting about Japan in the 80s-90s was the emergence of an advertising style that didn’t rely on hype. The emphasis was, I think, more on “image”, “association”, and “entertainment”. This kind of advertising was (if my impressions of the time are correct) slightly puzzling to American viewers at the time. I’m not an expert on advertising so I could be wrong. Still, the notion that ‘advertising = hype’ doesn’t seem quite right to me.

  13. A couple of articles on the difference between Japanese advertising and Western advertising:
    http://blog.boondoggle.eu/2006/11/how_advertising.html
    http://www.allbusiness.com/marketing-advertising/advertising-television-advertising/443830-1.html
    They are interesting, although I am always suspicious of glib explanations of why “Japan is different”.

  14. marie-lucie says:

    Yoram: aprium, another hybrid, is completely unacceptable. It sounds like a psychiatric drug.
    I have never heard of this word, and I agree with you that it is unacceptable. It is even worse than pluot, which does not have particular connotations. Aprium sounds like a Latin word, and I don’t think that any common fruits are called by Latin names except among botanists. It sounds like it could be a new addition to the table of chemical elements.

  15. The Prius is a hybrid.

  16. Floyd Zaiger
    Could not improve on the rutabaga,
    But he made a new fruit,
    And called it the pluot.

  17. marie-lucie says:

    The Prius is a hybrid.
    But not a fruit or any kind of food.

  18. Aprium is like one of these fake latin names they give to cars, drugs and computer chips. The fashion seems to be to make hybrid names, from a root with a mismatched suffix, like “Pentium” and “Prius”. Yuck.

  19. In medieval Arab poetry sliced carrots are regularly compared (to) the gold coin dinar.
    Sliced carrots regularly appear in medieval Arab poetry? Why?
    The yellow or purple carrot question might be a product of the continuing confusion about colour names discussed in Guy Deutscher’s book Through The Language Glass. Language posted about that recently. There was no mention of carrots in the book, though.

  20. The Prius is a hybrid deserves a round of applause.
    Maybe it’s weighted towards the plum, but plumcot isn’t as fair as plucot.

  21. Sliced carrots regularly appear in medieval Arab poetry? Why?
    Melons, too. Travelling wives had to have something to eat while on the road, right ?

  22. one of these fake latin names
    There is a string of doctor’s offices around here that has named itself Atrius Health. Every time I see a billboard advertising it, I think “are they trying to make use of pleasant associations of the word ‘atrium’?” and “too bad I can’t help thinking of the house of Atreus”.

  23. I suppose someone thought of two rude words – PRIck and anUS – and, bingo, Prius.

  24. I’ve eaten pluots. I was not favorably impressed. A tree-ripened apricot beats them every time.

  25. IIRC God gave names to all the flora and fauna on the sixth day — Dutch names, I believe. Those are big footsteps to follow in. It’s no coincidence that hybrid and hubris are related.

  26. It’s also no coincidence that putrefaction and petrifaction are not related.

  27. empty, my last comment was supposed to indicate that I thought something was strange about your sentence “it’s no coincidence that hybrid and hubris are related”, but I didn’t know exactly what.
    Now I know: it would have made more sense to write “it’s no coincidence that hybrid and hubris look/sound similar: they’re related”. Similarly, my sentence would have made more sense as “it’s a coincidence that putrefaction and petrifaction look/sound similar: they are not related”.

  28. marie-lucie says:

    Grumbly, petrifaction ?? isn’t it petrification?

  29. My sentence really meant something like: most people (present company excepted) don’t know that “hubris” and “hybrid” are etymologically related, but I do; and although the two words are not semantically close, I like the idea that they accidentally become semantically close through the notion that by creating new species humans encroach on the realm of the gods.

  30. m-l: “petrifaction” is correct, but I see that “petrification” is, too.
    I blame the words putrefy/putrefaction/putrescence for the fact that “pulchritude” always suggests rottenness to me.

  31. marie-lucie says:

    Ø : “pulchritude” always suggests rottenness to me.
    How awful! “pulchra” was one of the first words taught in my Latin textbook, along with “puella” (which is unrelated) and “femina”. To me, “pulchritude” suggests opulent, mature beauty (not the current standard of female beauty according to the media).

  32. mollymooly says:

    marie-lucie, “pulchritude” is on every anglophone List of Words that Sound like the Opposite of what they Mean. I forget the Greek name for such words: perhaps nonomatopoeic?

  33. marie-lucie says:

    mollymooly: “pulchritude” is on every anglophone List of Words that Sound like the Opposite of what they Mean
    I didn’t know that! but I think I have only seen it in writing, not heard it. Is’t the first syllable “pul-” pronounced as in “pulse”?
    perhaps “nonomatopoeic”?
    I don’t know if there is a word, but nononomatopoeic is probably not right: onomatopoeic means ‘imitating a natural sound’, for instance “chickadee” for the bird which appears to “say” chickadee, dee, dee. Most words do not fit into this category, so there is no need for a word which specifically denies imitating a natural sound. Words starting with “pu- [pju] ” like “puke, putrid, etc” are sound-symbolic rather than onomatopoeic. I am not sure what the opposite would be, since here too the majority of words would probably not be sound-symbolic (even if they had started that way centuries or millennia ago).

  34. God gave names to all the flora and fauna on the sixth day
    No. Adam.
    וכל אשר יקרא־לו האדם נפש חיה הוא שמו

  35. Charles Perry says:

    Carrots are not a frequent subject of medieval Arab poetry, but they appear in a short-lived 9th-10th century genre of food poetry. It was basically courtly verse-making that compared anything it could to gems and precious metals — typically fresh favas to emeralds, Swiss chard stalks to silver and carrot slices to dinars. There was also a 13th-century lamb stew with sliced carrots which was named dinariyya.
    To see some colorful Afghan carrots, check out http://www.carrotmuseum.co.uk/history.html

  36. I have been finding and eating pluots/plumcots from my local groceries in several variations of coloring and flavor for the past few years. Their season is short so watch for them. They are delicious, IMO.

  37. No. Adam.
    Of course! What was I thinking? So in fact if a fellow like Zaiger wants to play God he should let the consumers name his new fruit.

  38. m-l: What do you mean by sound-symbolic?

  39. on every anglophone List
    … and I thought it was just me. On second thought, I think I blame “sepulchre” more than “putrefy”.

  40. marie-lucie says:

    Sound symbolism refers to the association of certain sounds with specific concepts, not with actual sounds such as “meow” or “buzz” which are examples of onomatopeia.
    A well-known example of sound symbolism is the common association of low vowels (such as the [a] in large) with large size and of high front vowels (such as the [i] in “itsy bitsy”) with small size. This principle is found throughout the world, but it is not universal: the English words “big” and “small” are a counter-example, because the consonants in the words also have their own sound-symbolic associations which may contradict those of the vowels, and sound change over the centuries (such as the Great Vowel Shift) can also transform the original sounds while the meaning of a word remains the same (and the oppopsite also occurs). This means that claims that some resemblances between words are due to sound symbolism should only be made (or believed) with extreme caution.
    Wikipedia has an extensive discussion under Sound Symbolism. The first part of the discussion is taken from the work of Margaret Magnus, which is not very reliable, but the rest of the article quotes a number of other people, going far back in history.
    I have not read MM’s book, but several years ago she had a number of posts on the Linguist List, which was a kind of general linguists’ blog before people started individual blogs. She was collecting examples of colour words, claiming to find that certain sounds were associated with colours, not just for the names of basic colours like blue or red but with very particular subtle shades such as “chartreuse”. In fact, blue is related to other bl words such as black, blank, blur, blind etc which seem to refer generally to indistinctness, while the original chartreuse has nothing to do with a colour or even with vision but refers to a monastery for a certain order of monks, who manufacture(d) a drink of that colour. It is ridiculous to think that the sounds of the name of the monastery are particularly suited to the distinctive colour of the drink.

  41. Pluots go well with pork belly.

  42. Anatoly Liberman on instance of sound symbolism:

    Sleazy (cheap) dresses, and sleazy (poor) excuses were known as far back as the seventeenth century… However, the most interesting thing about “sleazy” is that its current senses “disreputable” and “sordid filth” do not antedate the twentieth century; the [OED] could find no citations for them before 1941. The adjective “sleazy” must have acquired its present-day meaning to conform to its sound and shape. A word cannot exist in slums, surrounded by slatterns and sluts, and preserve its purity amid all that slime.

  43. Words that Sound like the Opposite of what they Mean. I forget the Greek name for such words: perhaps nonomatopoeic?
    Nice one, mollymooly ! That can be pronounced in different ways that all retain the negation : non-omatopoeic, no-no-matopoeic (as in “No, no, Nanette !”).

  44. Marie-Lucie: In Australian English, bell peppers are called capsicums. Also, the initial syllable of pulchritude is not [pʌl] but [pʌlk] (in some dialects, including mine, [pʊlk]), as a consequence of the English tendency to put as many consonants in the syllable coda as possible. This probably accounts for its negative sound symbolism, as it is associated with bulk, hulk, skulk, sulk.

  45. marie-lucie says:

    JC: In Australian English, bell peppers are called capsicums
    I am puzzled: how is this relevant to the discussion?
    pulchritude: Is that word really negative for most English speakers? bulk, hulk, skulk, sulk don’t seem so negative that pulch-ritude would evoke “rottenness” (I had written “pul- like pulse” because I thought that perhaps some people pronounced it with [pjul]). Your own pronunciation with [pʊlk] does not evoke those words either (or does it for you?).

  46. Doesn’t pluot sound a bit awkward on the tongue? Two or even three vowels together without a breaking consonant? If I were the Michurin who selectioned it, I’d call it apri-plum or even apré-plum.
    I could never explain to myself where the -t at the end of the borscht variant spelling came from. All the original borsch languages have it without the -t.

  47. pluot looks like a French word with silent t.
    It joins the select club of English words containing -uo-. Other sad awkward little members of that club are fluorine and fluoride, which tend to get misspelled with -ou- and/or pronounced to rhyme with chlorine/ide. But I’m not bothered by the physicists’ muon or the words with prefix duo-, except for an uncertainty as to where to put the stress in duodenum and a longtime tendency to think of the number 12 when I hear of the Dewey decimal system.
    it is associated with bulk, hulk, skulk, sulk
    I thought of that, but I’m still going with sepulcher and sepulchrous.

  48. pulchritude: Is that word really negative for most English speakers?
    Not for me, and I don’t recall seeing such a thing mentioned in writing. I just asked my wife, and she said she’d always found the discrepancy between sound and meaning amusing, in that pulchritude was not a beautiful-sounding word, but she did not find it actively ugly or have any negative associations with it.
    I may, like marie-lucie, be influenced by having learned Latin at an early age.

  49. fluorine and fluoride
    It’s VERY common for architects & others in the building trade to misspell the strip light bulb as “flourescent”. More common than the correct spelling, I’d say. ‘Course no one uses them any more, so they’ll go their Darwinian way into the dustbin of history.

  50. There was also a 13th-century lamb stew with sliced carrots which was named dinariyya.
    A recipe for which appears in the كتاب الطبيخ. Charles Perry translated it in a special number of PPC. He also wrote chapters of Medieval Arab Cookery, which has A. J. Arberry’s translation (which can also be found in very inexpensive Indian reprints). Both deserve a plug here that he wouldn’t give himself, obviously.

  51. Charles Perry,
    I forgot to thank you for answering my question about carrots. I read it & then I had to go away & do something real and then I just… forgot. It’s rare to meet someone who has such obscure but very interesting knowledge. Except here, of course, where nearly everyone does.

  52. Marie-Lucie:
    You said “I don’t think that any common fruits are called by Latin names except among botanists”. Capsicum is a fruit, though not a sweet one, so it’s relevant.
    As to the phonology, Wikipedia describes the FOOT-STRUT split as follows:

    The origin of the split is the unrounding of /ʊ/ in Early Modern English, resulting in the phoneme /ʌ/. In general (though with some exceptions), this unrounding did not occur if /ʊ/ was preceded by a labial consonant (e.g., /p/, /f/, /b/) and followed by /l/, /ʃ/, or /tʃ/, leaving the modern /ʊ/. Because of the inconsistency of the split, the words put and putt [a borrowing from Scots] became a minimal pair, distinguished as /pʊt/ and /pʌt/.

    For many Americans, however, the exception does not fully apply, and they have /ʌ/ in many words where I have /ʊ/, so that all of pulch-, hulk, bulk, skulk, sulk rhyme for them. For me pulch- and bulk rhyme with each other, but not with hulk skulk sulk.

  53. marie-lucie says:

    JC, I was puzzled, because I did not realize that you meant that “bell pepper” or “capsicum” qualified as a fruit – it is not considered a fruit in everyday parlance, outside of botany (any more than “tomato” is).
    Thank you for the clarification about the variant pronunciations of -ul-.

  54. I often eat small tomatoes as fruit, for the record, if they’re good. Dulce de Tomate

  55. marie-lucie says:

    AJP, “cherry” tomatoes are indeed sweeter than the larger varieties. Dulce de Tomate sounds good, and looks beautiful! It is not a real jam though, real jam takes equal weights of fruit and sugar.
    In France some people make green tomato jam, when there is an excess of tomatoes at the end of the season and there are no longer enough sunny hours for them to ripen properly. I have always found this jam kind of rubbery, but that could be due to the cooking method (not enough simmering perhaps). Perhaps chutney would be a better use for green tomatoes, but I have never tried making chutney.

  56. My favourites at the moment are called Piccolo, but they’re marketed in Europe as “Dulcita”. That’s why I landed on the Argentine jam when I was googling it.
    French jam is lovely. Norwegian is very different: jam is syltetøy in Norwegian, and å sylte is to preserve (foods), but their jam uses very little sugar, it’s mainly the fruit or berry, and we freeze it.

  57. Dulce de Tomate
    In France some people make green tomato jam, when there is an excess of tomatoes at the end of the season and there are no longer enough sunny hours for them to ripen properly.
    Not to confuse with the Mexican tomatillo, which is naturally green, and doesn’t taste anything like a red tomato:

    Tomatillos are the key ingredient in fresh and cooked Latin American green sauces. The freshness and greenness of the husk are quality criteria. Fruit should be firm and bright green, as the green colour and tart flavour are the main culinary contributions of the fruit.

    This mexican husk tomato is used in all kinds of ways, some of which I know from Texas:

    This species, in contrast with the cape gooseberry, is used more largely as a vegetable than as a dessert fruit, though it is often consumed ripe, raw, out-of-hand. In Mexico, it is generally made into a sauce, salsa verde, for meats, alone or together with green chili peppers. Suggestions for use distributed by Iowa State College include recipes for stewing, frying, baking, cooking with chopped meat, making into soup, marmalade and dessert sauce. The fruit is an excellent addition to salads and curries. It has been utilized commercially for jam in Australia but the product is there considered inferior to that made from the cape gooseberry. The fruits, canned whole in Mexico, are sold domestically and in the western United States.

    By the way, I sometimes pop into a Portuguese grocery shop near the Deutsche Bahn building in Frankfurt where I work. Recently a customer there was just in the process of buying a sheep-milk cheese and a can (not a glass) labeled Marmelada. He was enthusing (in Portuguese, so I barely understood him) about how well marmelada went with that cheese. Since I was assuming that this was something like strawberry marmalade, my first thought was: “how disgusting”. But the picture on the can showed small yellowish fruits that reminded me of quinces, which are very sour. After much hand-waving communication, with bits of German, Portuguese and Spanish flying about, I finally understood that a quince is marmelo in Portuguese. The shop owner told me that equal amounts of quince and sugar are used to make marmelada – but still that would go better with cheese than creepy-crawly-sweet strawberry jam.

  58. “Astringent” is the quality of quinces that would make marmelada match a sheep-milk cheese.

  59. I never liked Thanksgiving cranberries until I had my wife’s, which are tart (and this year with some orange, which adds to the deliciousness). I think I had only had oversweetened glop.

  60. marie-lucie says:

    Grumbly, I have never heard of strawberry marmelade, unless you use “marmelade” when you mean “jam”? Marmelade (indeed from Portuguese marmelo ‘quince’) is made from sour or bitter fruits: quinces originally, later oranges with the peel (bitter oranges must have been the original ones). Quince jam is not at all sour, although the raw fruit is. It may be that the original Portuguese marmelade recipe and cooking method preserve some of the sourness of quince.
    LH, you must have had a cheap kind of cranberry sauce, thickened with God-knows-what, unworthy of the Hat holiday table. Canberry + orange + not too much sugar makes a delicious sauce.

  61. marie-lucie, ignernt as I am, I don’t distinguish between marmelade, jam, compote and the rest of them. I rarely touch such stuff, and eat it only when there’s not much else to eat on the table.

  62. m-l, they use “marmelade” to mean what I would call jam sometimes in Norwegian.
    Thanks, Language & Mrs Hat. It’s easy to oversweeten things. I have some cranberries in the fridge and I’m going to try making it with orange…

  63. The Spanish word for quince is different: membrillo. The RAE says: Del latín melimelum, manzana dulce, y este del gr. μελίμηλον.

  64. Which raises the suspicion that different kinds of fruit were being referred to originally, or different types of “quince”.

  65. marie-lucie says:

    As most fruits currently grown in Europe and North America originally came from Asia, and were therefore rarities for many centuries (before refrigeration as well as rapidity and ease of transport), it is not surprising that there should have been confusion about what exactly the exotic terms meant. As well, different varieties developed in different regions, depending on soil, climate, etc, and acquired different local names.

  66. Charles Perry says:

    A hundred years ago, Americans made preserves they called marmelades from all sorts of fruits — apples, pears, grapes, peaches, plums, pineapples and even that botanical-but-rarely-culinary fruit the tomato — by boiling them down with sugar. They were basically jams.
    BTW, “capsicum” was for a while applied to cardamom, showing that it derives from Latin capsa “case” and not, according to an irritating pop etymology, from Greek kapto “to bite” (which actually means “to gulp down,” anyway).

  67. Having skimmed the culinary tech-talk on the net, I think I now understand what marmelade is “supposed to be” – or rather, what the word is often (and usefully) employed to refer to, in distinction from other things. If I’ve got it wrong, please tell me.
    “Jam” is what Charles Perry says it is. “Marmelade” is a jelled semi-transparent preparation, made by boiling the peels of citrus fruit (whose pectin causes the jelling). The peels can be left in the result when set, or not. “Compote” is made by cooking fruit (whole or in pieces) over low heat, but not for so long that it turns into jam.

  68. That’s what I think of as marmalade, Stu. Except, I don’t know if it gels or jells or sets any more than jam does. Don’t jams & marmalades both simply become thick and sticky? Isn’t it jelly that jells: grape jelly or redcurrant jelly, for example?

  69. marie-lucie says:

    Grumbly, compote in your sense is what I would call it in French, but in North America compote is another fruit-based preparation, but I am not sure what. In France there is for instance compote de pommes, which is “apple sauce”.
    AJP: fruit jelly is made with the juice of the cooked fruit, not with the flesh of the whole fruit as when making jam. First you cook the fruit, then you separate the juice from the pulp (through a cloth, or with a kind of food mill or juicer) and cook the juice again with sugar, so the jelly contains no solid fruit parts.
    This is done with very juicy fruits such as grape or currant (red or black) or gooseberry: they have a sturdy skin which does not disintegrate with cooking, as well as unpalatable seeds which also remain intact, so the pulpy residue does not have a very pleasant “mouth feel”, while the juice is very tasty. That’s why those fruits are more commonly made into jelly than into jam.

  70. First you cook the fruit, then you separate the juice from the pulp (through a cloth, or with a kind of food mill or juicer) and cook the juice again with sugar, so the jelly contains no solid fruit parts.
    So, since jelly is not liquid, it must have had gelatine added to it, or enough sugar to make it viscous (shudder). Or there must have been something in the fruit, like pectin, to jell the final product when cooled. But there’s no such thing as lemon or orange jelly, right ?

  71. irritating pop etymology
    As the OED says,

    [mod.L. (Tournefort) of uncertain composition. Linnæus explained it from Gr. κάπτειν ‘to bite’ (rather ‘to gulp down’); but it is generally referred to L. capsa case, as if named from the pods. In either case the formation is etymologically irregular.]

    Which isn’t entirely fair, since Tournefort, whom Linnaeus cited, while favoring κάπτω, already mentioned capsa himself.
    They give a not-quite-naturalized 1664 usage. If you’re willing to be even more lenient, it was mentioned in English (still in italics) at least 76 years before by Walter Ba[y]ley, who, following continental sources still reluctant to believe the New World had new plants, credited Actuarius with using it.

  72. marie-lucie says:

    Grumbly, I am not an expert on jellies, but there is at least lemon jelly. I don’t like jelly as much as I do jam (I like a more complex texture), so I have never tried to make jelly, but when I was a child my mother used to make red currant jelly, for which she borrowed a kind of food mill from the local butcher in order to crush the cooked fruit and extract the juice. The most impressive part was seeing the thick pinkish sort of square-cut skinless sausage emerging from one end of this machine – the inedible pulp.

  73. While we’re on the topic, sort of, does anyone know what the name of lemon curd is in Italian? There’s a very good Crostata di Limone in the River Café Cookbook that is filled with an excellent lemon curd, but they don’t call it lemon curd, so I was wondering whether the name exists in Italian. It uses 7 lemons, 6 eggs and 9 more egg yolks, and I’m not kidding.

  74. Oh, well.

  75. what the name of lemon curd is in Italian?
    Lemon curd (or perhaps curd di limone; cagliata di limone looks an explanation — it doesn’t seem to be natively Italian — or Romanian — to those authors).

  76. Crema di limone is also offered, but again explaining una crema esotica anglosassone.

  77. By the simple expedient of consulting the English-Italian part of wordreference under curd, I found cagliata. There’s a separate entry for lemon cheese, but that says “BE = crema al limone“, which doesn’t sound like what you’re describing – assuming it means cream with lemon juice.
    I searched for cagliata al limone, and found pictures (but no recipe) for Crema cagliata al limone con liquirizia ed olio extravergine d’oliva, or lemon curd with licorice and extravagant olive oil.
    Returning to BE, I found an italian recipe for lemon curd, una delicata crema al limone. At the bottom of the intro there is a link to a ricetta. These Italians are strange people: the recipe says you use the curd to stuff a fat tart in your home (farcire torte fatte in casa).

  78. I never liked Thanksgiving cranberries until I had my wife’s, which are tart (and this year with some orange, which adds to the deliciousness). I think I had only had oversweetened glop.
    An ice cream shop in central-western NJ was selling cranberry vanilla bean sorbet as a Thanksgiving palate cleanser. I think you’d have liked it. If you ever come south, I’ll put in a word with the chef to make it again. We’re pretty close, but she doesn’t always listen.

  79. Ha ha. Thanks, both of you. If you should ever happen to make an Italian lemon dish, we’ve found that you can cut the quantity of lemon by half unless you’re using Italian lemons. They’re a good deal sweeter and more orangelike than others.

  80. David Marjanović says:

    In fact, blue is related to other bl words such as black, blank, blur, blind etc which seem to refer generally to indistinctness

    I thought shininess?
    German Blei “lead”.

    I could never explain to myself where the -t at the end of the borscht variant spelling came from. All the original borsch languages have it without the -t.

    It looks like the Americans took the German spelling and cut it off because they just couldn’t believe it. The German spelling is Borschtsch, and the last seven letters are a pitiful attempt to represent the original щ.

    For many Americans, however, the exception does not fully apply, and they have /ʌ/ in many words where I have /ʊ/, so that all of pulch-, hulk, bulk, skulk, sulk rhyme for them.

    I was taught the same for my strange cross-section through RP and everything close to it. /ʌ/ also occurs in dull, skull and so on; I was surprised to find out there are Americans for whom that isn’t the case.

    m-l, they use “marmelade” to mean what I would call jam sometimes in Norwegian.

    Germany: Marmelade “marmelade”, Konfitüre “jam”.
    Austria: Marmelade “jam”. Processed lemons or oranges are unknown, unthinkable in fact.
    Apricot jam: Aprikosenkonfitüre in Germany (if that stuff is in fact known over there; I don’t know), Marillenmarmelade over here.
    Jelly and curd are unknown.

  81. David Marjanović says:

    What. <i> tags aren’t automatically closed after a paragraph? They are in ScienceBlogs.
    Hattic magic, please!

  82. Hattic magic, please!
    ScienceBlogs, huh? And yet you depend on faith to move mountains.

  83. Jelly and curd are unknown.
    Have the Viennese gone off Quarkspeisen ?

  84. Charles Perry says:

    On top of marmelade, from the Portuguese word for quince, there were also 17th-century preparations called quidonies, from cydonia. They were tablets of stiff fruit jellies you packed in little boxes as gifts: a pretty custom. In “The Ladies Cabinet Enlarged and Opened” (1646), there’s a quidony of raspices (raspberries) described as having a particularly “orient” (brilliant) color. I bet it did.

  85. Jelly beans !

  86. David Marjanović, does your presence mean you’ve finished your Ph.D. thesis? Can we please start calling you Doc?

  87. “Jelly and curd are unknown.”
    That can’t be quite right, a cursory search led me to this picture of Austrian-made jelly:
    http://www.thewednesdaychef.com/.a/6a00d8341c660253ef0120a93a5b6e970b-pi

  88. What. <i> tags aren’t automatically closed after a paragraph? They are in ScienceBlogs.
    Hattic magic, please!
    Magic is being applied as we speak, but I must point out that it helps if you spell “blockquote” correctly and use </i> rather than <i> when you attempt to close the respective tags. Verbum sap.
    OK, I’ve hit Save on my attempt to fix your monstrously elaborated comment. Now to hit Post on this and Rebuild on the menu tab and see what happens!

  89. Success!

  90. Now to hit Post on this and Rebuild on the menu tab and see what happens!
    What happened to your “preview” function ?

  91. “Jelly and curd are unknown.”
    To David, who once told us he hates fruit.

  92. I can’t see the point of that Austrian blackcurrant jelly. Blackcurrant jam is enjoyable because of the blackcurrants in it.
    cranberry vanilla bean sorbet as a Thanksgiving palate cleanser
    I like the idea of these sorbets as a vehicle for exotic combinations of ingredients.
    This spelling checker I keep moaning about doesn’t like the concept “combinations”. Too bad, it’s also an old English word for long woolen underwear. By old English, I don’t mean Anglo-Saxon, just 50-150 years old.

  93. marie-lucie says:

    AJP: Blackcurrant jam is enjoyable because of the blackcurrants in it.
    My sentiments exactly. But this does not apply to all fruits which could be used for jelly.
    By old English, I don’t mean Anglo-Saxon, just 50-150 years old.
    You mean “older English” (relative to the present), not “Old English” (a stage in the history of the language).

  94. Actually, I think he means an “old, English word”.

  95. Exactly. Thank you.

  96. David: The OED’s evidence is skimpy, but it looks like the Slavic word for beet soup has been repeatedly borrowed through several channels, resulting in borsch, borscht, borshch, bortsch. Wikipedia adds barczsz, borstch, borsh, some of which are surely misspellings, and adds borș, boršč, borš, boršs, barščiai, borş as Latin-script spellings in various languages other than English. I personally think of it as borsht, the Latin-script Yiddish spelling, since I think of it primarily as a Jewish dish.
    In any case, though, the letter щ at the end of the word борщ was historically /ʃt/, as its form shows: the descender was originally in the center of the letter, and it represented a ligature of ш and т. It still has that value in Bulgarian, though that does not necessarily mean that Yiddish borrowed the word from Bulgarian. The German form reflects either Polish szcz /ʃt͡ʃ/, Ukrainian щ id., or older Russian щ /ɕt͡ɕ/; in modern Russian щ is pronounced /ɕɕ/, with no intervening stop.

  97. marie-lucie says:

    an old(,) English word
    According to what I learned, many years ago, an old English word is an English word that is old. But by old English I don’t mean Anglo-Saxon looks like it is about “Old English” (I knew that that was not what AJP meant).
    Nowadays the press is full of things with the structure of “an old, English word”, in which the comma seems to indicate “a word that is both old and English”, as if those two adjectives were of the same type and relevance. (Noetica, where are you?)

  98. as if those two adjectives were of the same type and relevance
    That’s not what I would be doing with the comma in the example. Neither type nor relevance would be at issue, and so not “sameness” of these either. I would simply be preventing a mis-parsing as “old-English word”.
    Writing in German for so many years has definitely had an effect on my use of commas when writing in English. I use them liberally – along with every other punctuation device available – whenever I want to guard against mis-parsing, or improve readability.
    I don’t give a damn for rules about how these things “should” be used in English. As for German, I religiously observe the rules for commas because their use is prescribed at syntactic joints, in the most natural way imaginable.

  99. Borsch is spelt борщ in Mongolian but pronounced ‘borsh’.

  100. marie-lucie says:

    an old, English word
    I know that in this particular instance the aim was to clarify the role of the adjectives within the phrase, but my point was that the structure “adj 1 comma adj 2″ seems to me to be overused in what I read in the press: for instance, “a little old lady” is first of all “an old lady”, she is not “a lady both little and old” as conveyed by “a little, old lady”. It seems to me that more and more writers (or editors) in the press are not aware of the significance of the comma here.

  101. For me the real lexicographical discoveries were elsewhere in this issue: “high meat” and “fecal transplant” are two showstoppers. I was also struck by “stunk” used as a simple past tense. Shows that this development is further along than I thought.
    As for the decline in fact checking, I don’t think it’s a matter of firing veterans and replacing them with hacks. I think New Yorker fact checkers have always been no different from other fact checkers; they are young and inexperienced. What changed is that there used to be armies of them, and they would check every last detail. I think budget cuts resulted in a smaller staff, whose members were forced to widen the teeth on their proverbial combs.
    I wouldn’t be surprise if we went back to New Yorkers from the good old days (When was that? Before Tina Brown but after Harold Ross?) and found just as much to gripe about.

  102. In those days I used to gripe about the cartoons and the poetry.

  103. The good old days were those of Harold Ross.

  104. David Marjanović says:

    And yet you depend on faith to move mountains.

    That’s engineering, not faith.

    Have the Viennese gone off Quarkspeisen ?

    They were never on them, because the word Quark is restricted to Germany or part thereof… over here it’s Topfen. Anyway, that stuff isn’t mixed with fruit.
    Jelly is known, however. It’s just not widely available.

    David Marjanović, does your presence mean you’ve finished your Ph.D. thesis?

    Yes. I defended on Nov. 19th and officially got the title 2 days ago.

    In any case, though, the letter щ at the end of the word борщ was historically /ʃt/, as its form shows: the descender was originally in the center of the letter, and it represented a ligature of ш and т. It still has that value in Bulgarian

    Oh yes. The missing link is /ʃtʲ/ (what would be щь in Bulgarian).
    The BCSM cognate is шћ šć.

  105. That’s engineering, not faith.
    So now I can’t even picture Hat casting spells toward his computer? Science sucks.

  106. marie-lucie says:

    I defended on Nov. 19th and officially got the title 2 days ago.
    Congratulations, Herr Doktor!
    I am amazed at the swiftness of the proceedings.

  107. Congratulations, Herr Doktor!
    The same from me!

  108. marie-lucie says:

    I should have said Félicitations!

  109. David: Indeed, except that Bulgarian does not have palatalized /ʃ/ or /ʒ/. Furthermore, there are no syllable-final palatalized consonants, which means there is no phonemic opposition between [ʲ] and [j] — which one you call the phoneme is a matter of taste. In writing, ь is used only in the digraph ьо = Russian ё, but it is mandatory. “Bulgarian is essentially Russian spoken with an Italian accent.”

  110. What sort of philosophy is David a doctor of? I mean, it’s probably one subject or another, but he seems to know everything.

  111. “over here it’s Topfen. Anyway, that stuff isn’t mixed with fruit.”
    I beg to differ. Just google “Topfencreme”, and you’ll find recipes with strawberries, lemons, oranges, bananas, what have you. Also, in my experience, Topfenknödel are usually filled with apricots or plums or Powidl made from plums.

  112. Well done, Herr Doktor Marjanović.

  113. Yes, congrats, David! Science does not suck.

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