Nage (Buttocks?); Smithfield Ham (1892); Buttered Parsnips (1822)

Bapopik at AOL.COM Bapopik at AOL.COM
Wed Nov 27 06:40:32 UTC 2002

"NUTTY AS A FRUITCAKE" (continued)

   Last Tuesday, in a fit of "nutty" masochism, I wrote an e-mail to the editor of the VILLAGE VOICE.  No, "nutty as a fruitcake" was not coined in 1935.  Check the RANDOM HOUSE HISTORICAL DICTIONARY OF AMERICAN SLANG H-O.  My name is also in that volume.
   There was no response.
   This week's VILLAGE VOICE is out.
   There is no correction.


   From the VILLAGE VOICE, November 27-December 3, 2002, pg. 74, col. 3:

   ...and an entree of wild-mushroom ravioli in a fish-free black-truffle "nage" (a term usually reserved for seafood broth).

   OED's revision is fast approaching "nage."  A look at "nage" shows a disaster.  It's an obscure word meaning "buttocks."
   There were 469 hits for "nage" and "restaurant" on the Dow Jones database.  The earliest hit is strickly in French.  The first hit on the online NEW YORK TIMES appears to be 1972.

   21 June 1972, NEW YORK TIMES, pg. 54:
   A simpler taste might have preferred the same crayfish, from a lively tank beside the terrace, poached a la nage, but it was an elegant preparation in the Escoffier tradition.

   27 March 1977, NEW YORK TIMES, pg. 363:
   But how can you come home and whip up a _petit homard a la nage_, a _caneton au cidre_, a _feuilette aux pommes chaudres_?

   8 May 1985, NEW YORK TIMES, pg. C1:
   A few of Mr. Gerin's best dishes are a nage of shrimp (in a shrimp broth), briefly cooked and masked with a white butter sauce;...

   24 May 1987, DALLAS MORNING NEWS, pg. 6J:
   Instead, le Bernardin serves fish a la nage, or lightly simmered in broth with fresh vegetables, or poached with a light dressing of warm herb vinaigrette, or in an emulsion of fish stock wine, olive oil, or butter.

   30 August 2002, WASHINGTON POST, pg. T22:
   Another very nice appetizer of seared scallops, English peas and favas was given unusual complexity, but not gravity, by a tarragon-laced nage (an emulsified broth) with a tantalizing hint of sweetness, almsot like vanilla, that came from carmelized onions.

   4 October 2002, SEATTLE TIMES, pg. H11:
   Where Staples would balance the delicate flavors of grilled prawns, creamy polenta and lobster nage ($13) with a garnish 0f crisp pancetta, Campbell uses apple-wood-smoked bacon, which dominates more than complements.

   6 November 2002, NEW YORK TIMES, section F, pg. 11, col. 1:
   Walleyed pike (brought in from Switzerland, not Wisconsin, a waiter confided) is wrapped in potato slices so thin they appear to be fish scales and then served in a mellow truffle nage.

(At least no one serves the "buttocks" in "whore sauce"--ed.)


   OED has 1908 for "Smithfield ham."  The latest DARE ends at "Sk."
   From the NEW YORK TIMES, 10 April 1892, pg. 12:

   WASHINGTON, April 9.--A notable feature at three of the large dinner parties given at the White House this season has been to serve as one course Smithfield ham smoking hot and surrounded with spinach.  Immediately after this was served Roman punch as the next course.  The President is particularly fond of ham, so that it has become a staple dish at the White House, and whatever else is served at luncheon there is always sure to be a beautifully-browned ham. (...)

SENATE BEAN SOUP (continued)

   From the NEW YORK TIMES database this time.

   24 February 1937, NEW YORK TIMES, pg. 20:
   Meetings are Wednesday luncheons in the Senate restaurant, where the girls order bean soup or an 85-cent fried chicken meal.

   4 January 1943, NEW YORK TIMES, pg. 12:
_Upper House Restaurant Pre-_
_pares Its Forty-Year Feature_
(Recipe and details are the same as in the WASHINGTON POST--ed.)

   11 January 1943, NEW YORK TIMES, "Topics of the Times," pg. 14:
_Double Standard in Soup._
   Most people have assumed that only the best was served up to our Congressmen in the way of food, but it now appears that there are two grades of bean soup.  An Associated Press story from Washington informs us that as far back as the turn of the century the Senate Rules Committee decided that the chamber's restaurant should never be out of bean soup, and that it has been a daily fixture on the menu now for about forty years.
   The details of its preparation, including ham hocks, a braised onion chopped in a little butter and, of course, beans, suffice to turn the thoughts far from the process of lawmaking.  But this is the "plain" bean soup.  There is a "super-soup," we are told, for state occasions.  This calls for special ingredients, such as a "nice slice of smoked ham," which is sauted and diced, and it has, of course, its special uses.  "It opens up your vocal cords, stimulates your appetite and clears out your head."
   We have here perhaps the explanation of hitherto unexplained flights of oratory and displays of unaccustomed wisdom.  It may also be permitted to ask why the super-soup is not served more frequently.


   David Shulman and I gave a medal to the health services worker who helped to save his life.  Still, Shulman felt she deserves a monetary gift.  (We'll do that for Christmas.)  "Fair words butter no parsnips," he said.  He told me to look it up.
   OED has it under "butter," from 1870.  However, for 1645, it has "Fair words butter no fish."

   9 November 1822, THE GOSPEL HERALD (American Periodical Series online), pg. 203, col. 2:
(The paragraph-long story uses this as a theme, but doesn't involve parsnips--ed.)

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