Smorgas (1858); Mole (1901); Batik (1857)

Leif Knutsen vyer at EARTHLINK.NET
Tue Jul 24 17:28:27 UTC 2001

Although "smör" and "smear" probably have the same origin, I have only known
it to mean "butter" in Scandinavian languages.  If the purpose of the word
is to connote "spread from goose" it would be written "gås-smør."  I was
always under the impression that the word smörgås was meant to mean "butter
goose," in which the open-faced sandwich looks like a goose because the
toppings are piled so high.  So I'm speculating that it has less to do with
goose fat than with a goose shape.

BTW, the Norwegian and Danish words for the same dish are "smørbrød" and
"smørrebrød," respectively.


----- Original Message -----
From: "Beverly Flanigan" <flanigan at OAK.CATS.OHIOU.EDU>
Sent: Tuesday, July 24, 2001 11:28
Subject: Re: Smorgas (1858); Mole (1901); Batik (1857)

> On "smorgas":  The origin of 'gas' (with superscript 'o') is indeed goose,
> but 'smorgas' is to be interpreted as goose fat used as a spread ("smear")
> for bread.  Today, of course, the spread is likely not to be goose fat but
> dairy-based, but in 1858 it may have been from that fatty bird we only ate
> at Christmas in Scandinavian Minnesota.  Add "bord" and you have a truly
> sumptuous table full of all sorts of "spreads," breads, potato dishes,
> meats, fish, puddings, etc. etc.--a "board" of food, as in "room and
> (Jan Ivarsson can perhaps correct my 3rd-generation Swedish!)
> At 05:14 PM 7/23/01 -0400, you wrote:
> >
> >    OED and M-W have "smorgasbord" from 1893.
> >
> >by Bayard Taylor
> >G. P. Putnam, NY
> >1858 (although copyright is 1857)
> >
> >Pg. 46:
> >    They gave us a supper consisting of _smorgas_ ("buttergoose"--the
> > Swedish prelude to a meal, consisting usually of bread, butter, pickled
> > anchovies, and caviar flavored with garlic), sausages, potatoes with
> > milk, and made for us sumptuous beds of the snowiest and sweetest linen.
> _____________________________________________
> Beverly Olson Flanigan         Department of Linguistics
> Ohio University                     Athens, OH  45701
> Ph.: (740) 593-4568              Fax: (740) 593-2967

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