Finnish meatballs

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Sun Dec 14 15:06:50 UTC 2008

At 3:18 AM -0500 12/14/08, Victor wrote:
>So, I actually have two distinct long-term
>queries. First, a general one, concerning food
>items (in any language, but English is a good
>start) that are named geographically without any
>regard to the actual geographic origin (so Greek
>coffee would not qualify simply because it is
>also known as Turkish coffee; nor would Panama
>hat because it's not food). Second, I would like
>to compile a list of items that are known as
>"American" in other parts of the world (although
>not always in other languages). I suppose, in
>this case, American cheese does not qualify (and
>not simply because it is not really cheese).

On the second query:  one of the enduring puzzles
is the origin of preparations "à l'américaine",
in particular homard (lobster) à l'américaine.
Recipes differ, but usually include olive oil,
onions, wine, sometimes tomatoes, and typically
cognac, none of which strikes one as particularly
American (as has often been noted).  Some claim
the label is a "corruption" of the also existing
style "à l'armoricaine", which in turn has been
associated (dubiously, I think) with the Breton
"ar mor" ('the sea').  To be sure, the
preparation does seem more evocative of Brittany
than, say, New Jersey, but this still seems
pretty etymythological to me.  That still leaves
open the question of where "à l'américaine" comes
from.  (10,400 raw g-hits for "homard à
l'américaine" alone.)  No ketchup or mayo in
sight, anyway!


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