"garcon" again (was "pet names for oysters")

George Thompson george.thompson at NYU.EDU
Thu Jan 30 21:55:45 UTC 2003

I see that I have an earlier appearance of :garcon" in my notes, having posted 1842 last week.  I still claim the earliest U. S. use, and apparently only the second use not in a narrative of travel on the continent.  The OED has it from 1829, in Horace Foote,  A Companion to the Theatres; and Manual of the British Drama.  Its previous citation, from 1789, and its third citation, from 1839 are both from traveller's writings.

1835:   What will become of all our chefs de cuisine and their retinue of garcons and scullions?  Cooking by gas, introduced first here, and recently at New Orleans, will put them hors de combat.  ***  Delmonico's, and Palmo's, and Milford's, and a thousand others, will present a scene of high life below stairs frightful to think upon.  ***  Evening Star, June 26, 1835, p. 2, col. 3

This also gives us "chef de cuisine"  OED has 1842 for "chef" and its earliest citation containing "chef de cuisine"  is from 1900 (under "jipper").


George A. Thompson
Author of A Documentary History of "The African
Theatre", Northwestern Univ. Pr., 1998.

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