This blog is for everyone who uses words.

The ordinary-sized words are for everyone, but the big ones are especially for children.



Wednesday, 15 March 2017

Nuts and Bolts: just desserts.

It's the sheer hypocrisy that gets me: this pretence that the last course of a meal - the sweet bit - is of no particular weight or importance.

Why do we call a gorgeous dish of fruit whipped up with sugar and cream a fool. What's foolish about it?

If you just mix the fruit and cream together with meringue then it's worse, for then it becomes merely a mess. It's only a mess if you drop it on the floor!

And, that meringue...why do we use meringue as a synonym for bad-taste froth, as in wedding dresses? Meringues aren't frilly...you'd be more accurate calling that sort of dress a sea-slug:

File:Elysia crispata (Lettuce Sea Slug pair).jpg
photo of a pair of lettuce sea slugs by Nhobgood (talk) Nick Hobgood

Then there's the lovely pudding called flummery, which started off as a sort of sweet set porridge but now means unnecessary nonsense; and trifle, a large glass dish stacked with fruit, jelly, sponge, alcohol, cream and custard. A trifle is the last thing it is, particularly if one lands on your foot.

And so it goes on: a crumble is much more than the bit that crumbles; and a pie is probably named after the various bits of nonsense collected by a magpie.

But still...

...it does soothe away some the guilt about eating the stuff, doesn't it?

Word To Use Today: dessert. This word comes from the French desservoir. to clear away the table. 

Which just goes to show that this hypocrisy isn't purely English.




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