Seafood (1835)

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Tue Feb 4 15:06:55 UTC 2003

>Bapopik at AOL.COM wrote:
>  >
>  > ....He pined for a little pork---he cared
>  > not who knew it; it might not be very sentimental,
>>  he knew, but it was capital sea-food; his natur'  (THIS LINE--ed.)
>>  was pretty much pork; he believed most men had,
>>  in some way or other, more or less pork in their
>>  [Page 188]
>>  human natur's; nuts might do for monikin natur',
>>  but human natur' loved meat;
>Doesn't this use imply that pork is the capital food for someone
>at sea? I always think of "seafood" as being food from the sea:
>fish, crab, lobster and the ilk. Not pork.
This does indeed appear to be a non-lexicalized compound, meaning
simply "food to have at sea", as in "capicolla makes good picnic
food" or "I dislike airplane food".  As for the lexicalized version,
I always took "seafood" (always hyphenless) to exclude ordinary fish
(salmon, tuna, bass, snapper, etc.) and pick out just things like
lobster, shrimp, scallops, crab, squid--pretty much along the
kosher/non-kosher isomunch.  But I'd probably now say that it's just
that the latter group isn't normally included in "fish", so we end up
with "fish" and "seafood" the way we end up with "thumbs" and
"fingers" (or "squares" and "rectangles") for pragmatic reasons.
You'd expect a seafood restaurant to offer ordinary fish along with
shrimp, lobster and their pals, but at the same time you might be
upset if you ordered seafood chowder and it had only ordinary fish
with nary a crustacean. But in some contexts crustaceans do count as
fish--I think "soupe a poisson" can contain just fish or seafood too.
Which makes me recall our tasty threads about cioppino...


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