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

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Tue Jan 28 00:35:52 UTC 2003

At 3:49 PM -0500 1/27/03, Bapopik at AOL.COM wrote:
>    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?

Agreed; "broccoli rabe" and or "raab" should be in the OED and indeed
in every  dictionary and produce store.

>    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.

Agreed, although the first of those gets boring more quickly.
Unfortunately, the price of okra and broccoli rabe have risen (even
relative to other veggies, as well as absolutely) over the last 65
years.  But they're still worth it.

>    "New York System" is in DARE--from 1982.  That's over 50 years off!

I don't have my DARE on me at home, but my memory is that the dates
in their entries aren't intended to give first cites the way the
OED's are, but just as indices of when a given form was collected.
Is that wrong?

>    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
>  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

Agreed, although my Philly hosts always turn up their nose at my
choice of provolone, resulting in what is to them a faux-cheese steak
sandwich.  I guess cheez whiz is an acquired taste (and texture), but
then that's what people tell me about broc. rabe and okra.


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