Nutmeg

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I was in the kitchen of the restaurant where I work, baking some bread pudding which calls for nutmeg.   I noticed the Spanish translation on the container read ‘nuez moscada.’  I know that ‘nuez’ is ‘nut’ but didn’t know ‘moscada’.  This got me thinking that if ‘nuez’ was ‘nut’ and ‘moscada’ was ‘meg’ did ‘meg’ have a meaning in English aside from being a girl’s name?

It turns out that “moscada” translates to “musk”.  Spanish speakers must have a much different image of nutmeg than English speakers!  Once I knew the translation, images of over-sized rats and armpits came to mind.  Suddenly it wasn’t the taste of Christmas anymore.  So is “meg” an old word for “musk”?  When referring to a girl – no – different origin.  But the ‘meg’ on ‘nutmeg’, yes, is the remnants of its old ‘musk’ origins.

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