For Mac users who have trouble with our regular homepage:
Our newsletter host, Topica, has been down for quite some time,
preventing us from sending this newsletter. We have switched to Google
Groups as our mailinglist host. Please let us know what you think.
They don't seem to require all of the personal information from you
that Topica did.
So, finally, we present the book review we promised in the Issue 197
e-mail newsletter. But first -
**REMINDER of what is in the current issue of the TOWFI webzine**
NOTE: The links in this newsletter are good until the next issue is
In Spotlight we delve into the origins of some Native American peoples'
In Words to the Wise we bring you the following words:
swag (also spelled shwag or schwag)
pronunciation of the letter "z"
In Curmudgeons' Corner Guestmudgeon Jim Ross is enormously tired of
In Sez You... we hear about trump; relatives of "happen";
bookcrossing.com; the tsetse fly; Bill, Ted and Ned; merkin;
practise/practice; pronunciation of "Richard"; "by and large"; "k"; and
In Laughing Stock we have a surprise at the door
"Cupboard Love - A Dictionary of Culinary Curiosities", by Mark
Morton (2nd, revised edition) 336 pages. Insomniac Press, $16.99
($11.53 in our bookstore through Amazon.com!)
Attention all word-gluttons and phrase-gourmands! Mark Morton's
dictionary provides a multi-course feast for all lovers of
word-histories. Although its main focus is food and cooking terms,
"Cupboard Love" digresses into related topics whenever a tasty morsel
is to be found there. Thus, while units of volume may not be
immediately relevant to food, the entry for "liter" reveals that its
ultimate source is the name of a coin in ancient Sicily!
That is far from the only surprise in this book. Under "sushi" we find
that the second Japanese word to enter English (in 1616) was "mochi",
an exceedingly chewy dessert made from pounded rice. The next word to
be imported from Japan was "sake" (1687) followed by "soy" (1696) and
"miso" (1727). So why, 389 years later, do supermarkets still have
trouble explaining what mochi is?
Dr. Morton is a thorough researcher, providing some derivations that we
have not seen elsewhere. He is also an engaging writer. The book is
indeed a dictionary, with entries in alphabetical order, but you could
read the book cover to cover and have a great time doing it. We have
sung the praises of the first edition of this book and now we sing
Cupboard Love spreads before us a sumptuous feast in which rare and
epicurean delicacies ("cate", "drisheen" and "doed-koek") are set
beside more prosaic staples ("pasta", "potato" and "cheese") and a few
truly preposterous concoctions ("dove's dung", "pigeon's milk" and
"pope's nose"). And it's fat-free!
This book is available in our book store:
We still need Laughing Stock material. We have sent Amazon.com gift
certificates to all who have won them up to the present issue, so there
will be no delay in awarding them to future winners! We prefer to
receive amusing, language-related photos or images, but
language-related anecdotes and jokes are welcome, also.
Send us your complaints and you may be the next Guestmudgeon.
We have a NOE (Newsletter-Only Etymology) that was ready to send on
Sunday, but Topica was down and we were researching alternatives. We
will send that NOE shortly. Next weekend we plan to publish another
issue of TOWFI.
Don't forget to check the book store:
Until next time,
Take Our Word For It!
Melanie and Mike