"Steak Diane" in Wednesday's NY Times" Big Apple Whore Hoax & Wikipedia

Bapopik at AOL.COM Bapopik at AOL.COM
Wed Feb 8 05:45:51 UTC 2006

"Steak Diane" is a NYC dish, but the NY Times will never know. From  
Wednesday's newspaper (available online):
Since oysters are never as good cooked as raw, there is one great solution:  
Turn to one of the most natural, creative and ancient minimalist dishes of 
all:  steak Diane, named, perhaps, after the goddess Diana, the hunter
What about this theory?
Taken from _http://salwen.com/apple.html_ (http://salwen.com/apple.html)  
"When and how did New York City come to be called "The Big Apple'?" 
This is by far the most frequently asked question submitted to our New York  
History Hotline. 
In popular folklore, the name is usually traced to early jazz musicians or  
long-ago sports figures. Often, the explanation of the so-called "origin" of  
this phrase is accompanied with plausible-sounding historical or biographical  
details, giving it an unmistakable (but alas, totally spurious) "ring of  
Because this question continues to excite curiosity, and because the real  
facts are quite well known to serious historians, we provide the following  
authoritative account, based on our unique archival sources. The story may  
disappoint some readers -- truth, after all, is often less colorful than  fiction. 
But facts are facts. 
In the early years of the nineteenth century, refugees from war-torn Europe  
began arriving in New York in great numbers. Many were remnants of the 
crumbling  French aristocracy, forced to seek refuge abroad from the dread "Monsieur  
Guillotine." Arriving here without funds or friends, many of these were 
forced  to survive, as one contemporary put it, "by their wits or worse." 
One of these, arriving in late 1803 or early 1804, was Mlle. Evelyn Claudine  
de Saint-Évremond. Daughter of a noted courtier, wit, and littérateur, and  
herself a favorite of Marie Antoinette, Evelyn was by all accounts remarkably  
attractive: beautiful, vivacious, and well-educated, and she was soon a 
society  favorite. For reasons never disclosed, however, a planned marriage the 
following  year to John Hamilton, son of the late Alexander Hamilton, was called 
off at the  last minute. Soon after, with support from several highly placed 
admirers, she  established a salon -- in fact, it appears to have been an 
elegantly furnished  bordello -- in a substantial house that still stands at 142 
Bond Street, then  one of the city's most exclusive residential districts. 
Evelyn's establishment quickly won, and for several decades maintained, a  
formidable reputation as the most entertaining and discreet of the city's many  
"temples of love," a place not only for lovemaking, but also for elegant  
dinners, high-stakes gambling, and witty conversation. The girls, many of them  
fresh arrivals from Paris or London, were noted for their beauty and bearing.  
More than a few of them, apparently, were actually able to secure wealthy  
husbands from among the establishment's clientele. 
When New Yorkers insisted on anglicizing her name to "Eve," Evelyn apparently 
 found the biblical reference highly amusing, and for her part would refer to 
the  temptresses in her employ as "my irresistable apples." The young 
men-about-town  soon got into the habit of referring to their amorous adventures as 
"having a  taste of Eve's Apples." This knowing phrase established the speaker 
as one of  the "in" crowd, and at the same time made it clear he had no need 
to visit one  of the coarser establishments that crowded nearby Mercer Street, 
for instance.  The enigmatic reference in Philip Hone's famous diary to "Ida, 
sweet as apple  cider" (October 4, 1838) has been described as an oblique 
reference to a visit  to what had by then become a notorious but cherished civic 
The rest, as they say, is etymological history. 
The sexual connotation of the word "apple" was well known in New York and  
throughout the country until around World War I. The Gentleman's Directory of  
New York City, a privately published (1870) guide to the town's "houses of  
assignation," confidently asserted that "in freshness, sweetness, beauty, and  
firmness to the touch, New York's apples are superior to any in the New World or 
 indeed the Old." Meanwhile, various "apple" catch-phrases -- "the Apple 
Tree,"  "the Real Apple," etc. -- were used as synonyms for New York City itself, 
which  boasted (if that is the term) more houses of ill repute per capita than 
any  other major U.S. municipality. 
William Jennings Bryan, though hardly the first to denounce New York as a  
sink of iniquity, appears to have been the first to use the "apple" epithet in  
public discourse, branding the city, in a widely reprinted 1892 campaign 
speech,  as "the foulest Rotten Apple on the Tree of decadent Federalism." The  
double-entendre -- i.e., as a reference to both political and sexual corruption  
-- would have been well understood by voters of the time. 
The term "Big Apple" or "The Apple" had already passed into general use as a  
sobriquet for New York City by 1907, when one guidebook included the comment, 
 "Some may think the Apple is losing some of its sap." Interestingly, the 
phrase  had also become pretty well "sanitized" in the process, thanks to a 
vigorous  campaign mounted just after the turn of the century by the Apple 
Marketing  Board, a trade group based in upstate Cortland, New York. Alarmed by 
sharply  declining sales, the Association launched what some believe to be the 
earliest  example of what would now be called a "product positioning campaign." 
By devising and energetically promoting such slogans as "An apple a day keeps 
 the Doctor away" and "as American as apple pie!" the A.M.B. was able to  
successfully "rehabilitate" the apple as a popular comestible, free of unsavory  
associations. It is believed that the group also distributed apples to the 
poor  for sale on the city's streets during the Great Depression (1930-38). No  
convincing documentary evidence has been produced to support this, however. 
-- Society for New York City History, Education Committee Copyright © 1995  
The Society for New York City History All rights reserved. 
    *   Read what the good Mr. Popik has to say on the matter: _[1]_ 
(http://www.barrypopik.com/article/57/big-apple-whore-hoax-1800s) .--_Pharos_ 
(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User:Pharos)   06:14, 6 February 2006 (UTC) 


The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

More information about the Ads-l mailing list