The Finger (1947?)

James A. Landau JJJRLandau at AOL.COM
Tue Jan 15 00:25:06 UTC 2002

In a message dated 01/13/2002 12:49:34 PM Eastern Standard Time,
ASmith1946 at AOL.COM writes:

> I'm looking for examples of culinary words/terms associated with
>  national/cultural/religious/racial/ethnic/sex/age/class groups,

If I remember correctly, certain cavalry in the Byzantine army were known as
"biscuit eaters" .

A couple of other military/naval examples:  "Limey" originally meant a
British sailor, after the lime juice he drank to ward off scurvy.  The
"Beefeaters" (allegedly because they held the job of royal food-tasters and
ate more than their share of the entrees.)
And of course the "buccaneers", named after their practice of jerking meat
and  barbecueing it.  (From "boucan", "a wooden framework or hurlde on which
meat was roasted or smoked over a fire" - OED2).

Civilian:  the "sourdoughs" of Alaska.  "cornpone and magnolia" to describe
Southern accents etc.  "Cracker" (a poor white in the South, redneck, white
trash) "according to some, short for CORN-CRACKER, but early quots. leave
this doubtful" (OED2).

I am told that "Mohawk" means "cannibal" (it is quite possible that the
Mohawks deliberately adopted this name for psychological warfare).

Tom Paikeday wrote on Sat, 13 Jan 2001 09:59:03
[The "Eskimo" or "Inuit"] prefer to
be called the Inuit <snip>  One reason surely is that "eaters of raw flesh" is
derogatory in this day and age ("sushi" may be a status question) when
most Inuit may be ordering their steaks done medium rare.

And of course you can go way back to Homer and his "Lotus eaters".

                  - Jim Landau

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