Jelly is from French geler meaning to congeal.
You might see queso Chihuahua in the grocery store. This soft, yellow cheese is named so because it comes to us from the Mexican state of Chihuahua. But in Mexico this same cheese is called queso Menonita, meaning Menonite cheese.
In Chihuahua are 90,000 of the 100,000 Mennonites living in Mexico. These communities settled there in the twenties. They left Manitoba when the attendance of public schools for children became mandatory. Since the Mennonites at the time preferred their own private teaching they needed to find a place to call home. They settled on northern Mexico. Other Mennonites joined them from other parts of Canada and the United States.
They are an agricultural community and are famous for many of their delicious foods, including the queso Menonita.
In Polish, if you are having a ‘shot of vodka’ you would order po pięćdziesiątce meaning to take ‘by fifties‘. This refers to the common size of a shot being 50 mL in Poland. An American shot is about 44 mL or 1.5 ounces. In Russia they say соtка for a double shot meaning 100 (mL).
Why do we call it a shot here in the States? Contrary to some folk etymologies, there were no guns involved in the naming. Rather, it uses shot to mean a small dose of something.
What is with this name?! If you have a hard time pronouncing it, think about the sentence “Girls are meaner.” This helps you role this tongue twister out of your mouth a little more readily. Gewurztraminer literally means “spice traminer”. Traminer is a family of grape from Tramin, Italy (a German speaking providence). This Gewurztraminer is a more spicy and aromatic grape of this family.
Horchata is a delicious sweetened drink made from rice, or at least that is the version that I know. Apparently, it can also be made from sesame seeds, almonds or barley. In fact, the original horchata was made of barley, and that is where its name derives from. Hordeum is latin for barley and means ‘hairy’. If you’ve ever seen a picture of barley you will notice its long awns. So hordeum turned into horch – ata meaning made of barley. Now, the ingredients have changed depending on where it is being made.
The French idiom mi figue, mi raisin means half fig, half grape and refers to something that is neither entirely good nor entirely bad. But wait! Shouldn’t mi figue, mi raisin mean half fig and half raisin? Actually, raisin in French means grape and raisin sec means raisin. If that’s not confusing enough the English once called the grape winberige “wine berry”, but then adopted grape which has German origins meaning hook (having to do with the process of harvesting the grapes). Grappa and grapa are Italian and Spanish words for grape and also have German origins. Our word grapple is related to grape. Archaically, grapple meant seize or hold with a grapnel. A grapnel once was meant to pluck grapes, but in modern times is shot from Batman’s grapnel gun which allows him to fling himself from building to building.
If you know why we say raisin in English instead of dry raisin like the French let me know!
On this day when we commemorate arguably the finest civil rights leaders the United States has ever produced, we at Language and Table contemplate just how to pronounce one of his favorite foods.
God defend me from that Welsh fairy,
Lest he transform me to a piece of cheese!
French toast doesn’t originate in France, nor do French fries for that matter. But Buffalo wings actually has it right! (What? You thought they were from buffalos?) Yes, Buffalo, New York is the proud home of ‘wings’ as they are apt to call it. They would never say ‘Buffalo wing’. This is one story that ends the way it is supposed to.