Human Shield (1893); Broccoli Rabe (1928); Snail Salad

Bapopik at AOL.COM Bapopik at AOL.COM
Mon Jan 27 20:49:32 UTC 2003


   Russell Sage has a college named after him in Troy, NY.  I went to college in that town, to RPI.  I was once planning to dramatize a biography of Russell Sage, and I was familiar with the assassination attempt on Sage's life and his use of a "human shield" to save himself.
   "Human shield" shows 301 NEW YORK TIMES hits, most in the past 15 years involving Iraq.  However, the first hit is that Russell Sage incident.

   18 November 1893, NEW YORK TIMES, pg. 1:
(Cheap-skate Sage didn't compensate the hapless guy much for saving Sage's life--ed.)


   As expected, Merriam-Webster's 1976 is way off.  I searched for "rabe" with the keyword "broccoli," to avoid playwright "David Rabe" hits.  There were 380 hits in the NEW YORK TIMES alone.  Does OED need more evidence?

   25 March 1928, NEW YORK TIMES, pg. 49:
Broccoli rabe:
   Cal., crt...
   Tex., crt...
   Tex, bak...

   10 April 1938, NEW YORK TIMES, pg. 128:
   Broccoli, okra and broccoli rabe (a loose, leafy type sold by the pound like spinach) are inexpensive and good.


   "New York System" is in DARE--from 1982.  That's over 50 years off!
   "Snail salad" should certainly be in the next volume of DARE.  It is an American regionalism.  Whether it makes DARE and whether it receives good citational evidence are separate questions.
   For what it's worth, this (which says near the bottom that "snail salad" is a "local thing" from RI) is from Google Groups:

From: Bob Wells (bwells at
Subject: Re: Philadelphia Cheese Steaks
View: Complete Thread (16 articles)
Original Format
Date: 1997/11/03

Friend wrote:
> David Hoffman (hoffman at Xenon.Stanford.EDU) wrote:
> : In article <63amkd$g7t at>,
> : Avoid Jim's Steaks on South Street.  It's an extremely popular
> : destination, but I think it's only because of the location and the
> : hype.  For goodness sake, instead of real provolone they spread some
> : crap on with a knife!  Undoubtedly some devotees will be happy to
> : contradict.
> The "crap" that you refer to is called Cheese Whiz. I like Jim's much more
> than Pat's mostly because Jim's has an indoor eating area. I also hate
> Cheese Whiz, but I don't see what your point is because Cheese Whiz is used
> at the Pat's and just about every other place that sells cheese steaks in
> Philadelphia. You get a choice of American Cheese, Cheese Whiz, or Provalone
> at almost all cheese steak places. In fact, not only do people in Philly
> debate where the best cheese steak can be bought, but "we" also debate whether
> or not a real authentic Philly Cheese Steak has Cheese Whiz or another kind
> of cheese. I prefer Provalone. I am not even sure if Cheese Whiz is a real
> food product! It tastes mostly of chemicals.

Provolone is what you'd get on a cheesesteak in Mass. or R.I. Much better
in my book. I've been to Pat's and it was fun, but I'd say it's more of a
local thing than anything else, like loose meat hamburger in Iowa,
barbecued snoots in St. Louis, snail salad in RI, etc. I always try to go
native, but given my choice of junk food a cheese whiz cheesesteak isn't

Bob Wells

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