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Friday, January 4, 2008

Grains of Salt

Today is trivia day. Trivia: "a grain of salt". I have notes, I have little notes, big notes, scribbled notes, printed notes, scripted notes, notebook notes, pad notes, cryptic notes, computer notes, notes in cookbooks, notes in recipes, notes in margins, notes on covers, you get my drift. Trivial: "Of little significance or value."

Trivial and trifling
so insignificant as to be utterly commonplace or unremarkable, "our worries are lilliputian"
Trifle
act frivolously
Paltry
so far short of what is required or desired that it arouses contempt
Petty
what is of minor or secondary significance or size
Picayune
negligible value or importance; Of little value or importance; paltry
Grain of salt
a literal translation of a Latin phrase, grano salis. A pinch of salt may also be used.
Come, my Love, and let me
Cover thee with confections
Bananas, sponge cake, sherry
and trifle with thy affections.

"taking it with a grain of salt"

What is it that men seldom eat without, but seldom eat alone?

In common parlance, if something is to be taken with a grain of salt, it means that a measure of healthy skepticism should be applied regarding a claim; that it should not be blindly accepted and believed without any doubt or reservation. According to the Oxford English Dictionary "to take 'it' with a grain of salt" means "to accept a thing less than fully". It dates this usage back to 1647.
The phrase comes from the Romans. In Latin it's " Con granus salis". It means to be skeptical.
This is said to be one of the most familiar Latin expressions. When one does not fully believe something or someone, cum grano salis, suggests a certain caution or reserve.

Salt was a valuable commodity in the ancient world, so a grain of salt is not to be taken as a trivial matter. The English word “salary” is derived from the Latin, salarium, which was the money allotted to Roman soldiers for purchases of salt; hence, it was their pay.

Another meaning is 'with moderation', and it is related to the way someone uses something. It probably refers to the activity of cooking, where only a pinch of salt is sufficient to enhance the flavour of a dish. In this sense, using something grano salis' means to use it with moderation.

The phrase comes from Pliny the Elder's Naturalis Historia, regarding the discovery of a recipe for an antidote to a poison. In the antidote, one of the ingredients was a grain of salt. Threats involving the poison were thus to be taken "with a grain of salt" and therefore less seriously.

If you've ever had a french fry with no salt at all on it, you know that it's all but tasteless; it takes adding salt to give it some flavor. That's a modern example, nowhere near as old as the expression, but it holds true with many older foods, and not necessarily when dealing with flavor. Meat had to be salted for preservation. Thus, information that should be taken with a grain of salt is information that could be inaccurate and should not be used in any important way unless backed up by another source-the 'salt.'

Ages ago salt was the most valuable commodity and was used in place of money ergo taking with a grain of salt was putting a value on something or someone.

Pouring it On

Months of Edible Celebrations has been a gathering of many years of notes. Way before computers. Through the years, I have written down any tidbit I came across related to food. Food, such a small word, within an extraterrestrial scope.

The salt of patience seasons everything

Bitter Batter bought some butter
But, said she, "this butter's bitter"
So, she bought some better butter,
And she put the better butter in the bitter butter,
And made the bitter butter better.

Why do I have that tongue twister written on an old torn piece of brown paper bag? Or this riddle.

Once I was water, full of scaly fish,
But, by a new decision, Fate has changed
My nature having suffered fiery pangs,
I now glean white, like ashes or bright snow

Keeping the Burners Lit

On page 31 of Secrets of Palm Beach Cookery there's a recipe for Mystery Starter Soup and a Hangover Recipe. This note and many many like it are in my many many note books and note pads. Will they ever be shared? The Basque Kitchen has a definition for macaroons and macaroni-both get their meaning from the Italian root word Maccare; to bruise crush to a paste.

Then there are all the household hints. To remove excessive taste of salt from food while cooking, add 1 tsp. each of vinegar and sugar. In soup, add a few slices of raw potato.

And the jotted newspaper clippings; In 1898 William Entenmann, a teen-aged German immigrant opened a bakery in Brooklyn (research)

Magazine notes pile high. Epicurean Monthly, May 1957. Page 68; Butter cartoon photo Oleo butter dispute in Congress. Issue June 1957. Page 60; Stuffed Mushrooms Queen Mary Style.

And this on an unidentified page...

Ballotine:
Fr. word meaning a wrapped parcel. Strictly speaking, this may apply to a whole stuffed chicken, or to the boned stuffed chicken leg
And finally, for now...
Anti Constipation Bread
1 C. Wheat Flour
1 C. Rye Flour
! C. Corn Meal
1/4 C. White Flour
5 Tbs. Molasses
1 Tsp. baking soda
2 Tsp. cream of tartar
1 egg
1 Tbs. melted butter
Add milk or water to make a batter like Johnny Cake. Bake in shallow pan 1/2 hour. Emma F. Cogswell undated, unidentified
Hadavist
Had I but known
Galaxy
the root of galaxy is Greek for milk
What the Anchovy!
Bouquetiere:
an assortment of cooked fresh vegetables often arranged in the shape of a bouquet, which serves as a garnish for meat dishes.
Quivering Custard
A wine glass holds 2 oz.
A teacupful of sugar weighs 1/2 lb.
Pinch Me Cake
Snappy salad
Curtain Up at Sardis':
like visiting a restaurant in your mind's belly.
This book has lots of info
Apple of Ones Eyes
King James Bible
Pineapples are the symbol of hospitality
There is salt between us
friendship
A was an apple pie
B bit it
C cut it
D dealt it
E ett it

The World in a tea cup
The tete-a-tete
Milk
as meek as milk
chili today, hot tamale
How big is a grain of salt?

Resources
1. With a Grain of Salt..?
2. Word Info
3. Cuisine Trivia
8. Beer Trivia
9. Popcorn Trivia
10. Invention Trivia

1 comment:

  1. I tried that tongue twister riddle and it was fun.

    ReplyDelete

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none returned too late.

Thanks for dropping in...Louise