"Artisanal gefilte fish." ...

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Thu May 29 20:28:14 UTC 2014

On May 29, 2014, at 4:10 PM, Joel S. Berson wrote:

> Oops, what was I thinking?  A quadruped??!

Actually, Joel, I had figured out a way for this derivation to make sense.  The marten- or fox-like critter, as well as providing fur to keep one warm, must have had some tasty subpart that could be smoked and eaten (with cream cheese), and soon the diasporized Ashkenazic Jews, exiled in North America and desperately missing their familiar fox-and-bagels, as it were, discovered that the smoked sable-fish (Anaplopoma fimbria) was surprisingly reminiscent of the Mustela zibellina of yore.  But it was so confusing to be eating their New World smoked fish and remembering their Old World smoked mammal that they split the difference and began referring to it as chicken carp.

Or not.

> At 5/28/2014 08:09 PM, Joel S. Berson wrote:
>> Lary, try sable, n.1.:
>> 1. a. A small carnivorous quadruped, Mustela
>> zibellina, nearly allied to the martens, and
>> native of the arctic and sub-arctic regions of
>> Europe and Asia. Also Russian sable, Siberian
>> sable. In Middle English the animal and its fur
>> are called also martrix sable, martryn sable, after Old French martre sable.
>>     The American sable, Mustela Americana,
>> native of the arctic and sub-arctic regions of
>> North America, is now regarded as a geographical
>> variety of the Old World species. The red or
>> Tatar sable is the Siberian mink, Putorius sibiricus.
>> 1423   Kingis Quair clvii,   The bugill, draware
>> by his hornis grete; The martrik sable, the foyn?ee, and mony mo.
>> [etc.]
>> Perhaps smoked Russian sable is what the Jews of
>> Eastern Europe ate -- transportable from the
>> Arctic after smoking, and inexpensive, like the
>> cheap (in two senses) smoked cod sent from New
>> England to the Portuguese fishermen -- a taste
>> brought to America in the great migrations of the turn of the 20th century.
>> Joel
>> At 5/28/2014 07:55 PM, Laurence Horn wrote:
>>> On May 28, 2014, at 6:18 PM, Joel S. Berson wrote:
>>> > ... an oxymoron?
>>> >
>>> > The Subject line (without the ellipsis) is the first sentence of the
>>> > article "Everything New is Old Again / Jewish-American deli food is
>>> > suddenly the rage, as younger cooks mix tradition and reinvention",
>>> > by Julia Moskin, NYTimes, May 28, D1/1.
>>> >
>>> > On the other hand, I am gratified to see the illustration with its
>>> > revival of sable and whitefish, plus two preparations of salmon --
>>> > all favorites of my aunt in 1950s Manhattan.
>>> >
>>> Sable was always my favorite, but we used to
>>> call it "chicken carp" in my family.  Not in the
>>> OED, and I'm not sure if the sable(fish) listed
>>> there is what Joel and I remember.  (At least I
>>> never thought of it as being an Indian fish, but
>>> the entry doesn't mention smoked
>>> versions.)  Anyone else know from chicken carp, artisanal or otherwise?
>>> LH
>>> ===========
>>> SABLE, n.4
>>> An Indian fish; = hilsa n.   Usually sable-fish.
>>> 1810   T. Williamson E. India Vade-mecum II.
>>> 154   The hilsah, (or sable fish,) which seems
>>> to be mid-way between a mackarel and a
>>> salmon,..is, perhaps, the richest fish with which any cook is acquainted.
>>> 1846   J. T. Thompson Dict. Hindee & Eng.,   Iléesh..the Hilsa or Sable.
>>> 1883   F. Day Indian Fish 34   An anadromous
>>> shad termed ‘Pulla’ in the Indus,..‘Sable-fish’
>>> by the Madrassees,..[and] ‘Hilsa’ or ‘ilisha’ in Bengal.
>>> ------------------------------------------------------------
>>> The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org
>> ------------------------------------------------------------
>> The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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

More information about the Ads-l mailing list