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The History

Food Name Origins

Take the origins of the lowly

strudel, for example. "Centuries ago, a German sailor would leap out of bed with his heart in his throat if someone on deck shouted these dreadful words: 'Mein Gott! Der Strudel! Der Strudel!' -- the fear evoked not by sticky pastry but by the spotting of a whirlpool, or in German,strudel."


pablum "is the trademark name of a gruel fed to infants and other individuals too weak to defend themselves.

Grog "Why was the British sailor's rum ration called "grog?"

Since childhood I was also intrigued by the fact that
British sailors actually had a rum ration.
But chug-a-lugging rum while trying to keep a ship on a
steady course must have gotten to be a bit

In 1740 a certain Admiral Vernon ordered that the rum
ration be diluted with water. The Admiral
often wore a coat made of grogram, a rough material,
frequently a mixture of mohair and wool. For
that reason he was known as Old Grog, hence the nickname
of the new watered-rum ration.

The grog ration itself ended in 1970. Maybe sailors were
still getting too groggy at the helm.

cantaloupe and musk melon are apparently related to the Sanskrit word muska, meaning scrotum.

Succotash is a Narraganset (Algonkian) word for squash.

Vittles aren't hillbilly, but Latin.

Vindaloo, shockingly, is Portuguese.

Sarsaparilla derives from two Spanish words: zarza, meaning bramble, and parilla, meaning vine.




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Last updated March 2001