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Romaine Wasn't Built in a Day: The Delightful History of Food Language

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by Judith Tschann
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Judith Tschann, a professor of medieval studies, relishes the diverse stories behind English-language food vocabulary, as well as food-related overflow into realms such as technology and politics. She celebrates not only the origins of "taco" and "tapioca," but the relation between "breakfast" and "suffrage," and the link between coffee pots and webcams.

Romaine Wasn't Built in a Day is a loosely organized riff on food language, arranged from breakfast words through dinner and nightcap vocabulary, with a practical index to direct you to Tschann's discussion of words whose place in that order might not be wholly obvious, such as "ambergris", "harissa," "table," and "zest."

She'll teach you to distinguish between eponyms and toponyms, to recognize the versatility of suffixes (real or invented, as for the appletini) in expanding the lexicon, and to consider all etymological history in the wider context of a world shaped by millennia of change.


Hardcover. Line drawings.

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