Tag: food and drink

It’s not known precisely where the words coffee, café, or caffé ultimately got their meaning, though coffee entered English from the Turkish kahveh, from the Arabic qahwa, probably via the Dutch koffie.

An aromatic journey into the language of coffee

The coffee plant itself might well have been discovered in Ethiopia (as far back as the 11th century, no less) but chugging back the drink – or marching purposefully towards the office, one of those ‘almost-a-bit-pretentious-really’ cardboard containers in hand – has long been regarded as an ‘American thing’. And while, only a few short […]

Read more »
Did you know that ‘potato’ can be a verb? Discover the language of this versatile veggie in Courtney Shove’s guest blog post.

One potato, two potatoes: the linguistic and nutritional value of spuds

Plump, dirty, and riddled with dimples, the humble potato rarely gets the attention it deserves — unless, of course, Peru and Chile are arguing over who produced them first. I think potatoes should fill us with a sense of awe. Hear me out. Not only can they be scalloped, mashed, and French fried, but potatoes […]

Read more »
What do they call French toast in France?

What do they call French toast in France? (And other similar questions)

In English, many things are named after a particular country – but have you ever wondered what those things are called in those countries? Some things remain the same (Russians say Russian roulette, or rather русская рулетка, for instance) but plenty don’t. From French toast and Turkish delight to Brazil nuts and English breakfast – […]

Read more »
russian easter

Pancakes, eggs, and effigies: springtime in Russia

Russia is a notoriously chilly place. And while snow may have its appeal, there comes a time when even the hardiest Muscovite starts willing for the first signs of spring and the chance to pack away their fur coat (shuby/шубы) for a few months. As the saying goes: vesna ne prosto vremya goda, a sostoyanie […]

Read more »
The Shirley Temple drink is one notable example of a drink named after a person.

9 drinks named after people

Not unlike certain kinds of food, sometimes people end up being strongly associated with certain drinks, especially cocktails. Usually, the famous are those who end up with their name attached, even if the drink was not their own invention. This is the case with several of the drinks below. However, it seems as though other […]

Read more »

Video: is a tomato a fruit or a vegetable?

Read more »
christmas tree_large

The origins of Christmas words

Mistletoe encounters can be very hit-or-miss. My own experiences usually involve kissing a definite non-target rather than the person I’d been lingering beneath the foliage for. It was therefore with some satisfaction that I discovered that the literal meaning of mistletoe is ‘dung-on-a-twig’, the inspiration of the Anglo-Saxons who realized that the plant is fertilized […]

Read more »

Give thanks… for Native American loanwords!

Since I’ve only been in the US a year and a half, so far I’ve only experienced one Thanksgiving – but I must say that given it’s a holiday seemingly mainly devoted to eating delicious food and enjoying spending time with family and friends, it’s one I especially enjoy. The atmosphere in the days before the […]

Read more »